Blog April 2015

Phrases That Make You Cringe

Posted On: April 14, 2015
Writing a script for a commercial is an art form.  Trends come and go.  An experienced copywriter knows what words/phrases work and what doesn't.  As a male voice talent I see alot of words/phrases that don't work either because they don't make sense or they're popular (even though they're grammatical trainwreck); but because the client wrote them (even if through a copywriter) you have to say them, usually verbatim.  Most often, these words/phrases are used to take up space, make the commercial sound classy; like you missed something ("...that's right...") or you are about to hear something fantastic ("...but wait, there's more..."), all so that the recording finishes on time (:30, :60...etc); nevermind that the script has way to many words in it to begin with...but that's another blog.

For me, the phrase "conveniently located" makes me cringe.  There's a local commercial that I hear all the time:  "...conveniently located on Long Island..."  There's no mention of where (on Long Island) this business is located; just that it's 'conveniently located on Long Island'.  First things first- Unless you live next door, there's nothing convenient about any location.  If you're not familiar with Long Island, it's an Island that's long...really it is.  Long Island juts out east from New York City (Manhattan) about 120 miles and about 20 miles at it's widest and if you've ever been on the road at rush hour, going around the corner can be inconvenient.

So where's the convenience of being conveniently located on Long Island?  There isn't any.

I posed this question to other voiceover talents- 'What phrase(s) make you cringe?' Here are some responses (names are witheld to protect the innocent):

- "Use only as directed."  (this was the most popular)

- "Our friendly and professional staff ..."

- "(Holiday or season) is upon us."

- "For all your__________ needs". This voice talent had to say that in an Explainer Video; and cringed.

- "The weather is heating up - and so are the savings!"

- "Just in time for _________" (like it was some big surprise).

- "You've tried the rest, now try the best."

- "How about the restaurant commercial that enumerates the various categories of food they serve ("Try our delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, meat, poultry, seafood, and desserts.") Gee, no other restaurant has THAT? "


Then there's the whole 'Pre...' thing; putting the prefix 'pre' in front of every word in the english language- totally out of control.

I'll revisit that blog another time.

by Rich Brennan