We got, in our mailbox, the other day, a fine example of a recurring advertising problem.
The cover of this good looking, perfect bound catalog from Boden came with the fun and engaging headline "696 new reasons to be gruntled". Now, if you're like most people, you immediately think "oh, like 'disgruntled' but the opposite!" If you're like some people, you've maybe even wondered before what "gruntled" means and/or seen lists of words like it: "ruthless", "unkempt", or "dismay" to name a few. And if you're like a few people, you think "oh my, what if readers don't get it? They'll feel stupid and will hate our brand. We'd better add an asterisk and explain that "gruntled" is "*as opposed to disgruntled"" Ahhh. There. Idiot-proofed. So happy now. NOOOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOO! Don't do it. People won't hate your brand, the majority of them will feel an almost conspiratorial kinship with your brand. With a wink and an elbow nudge, you're inviting your readers in. And they'll be happy for it. And the ones who don't get it? That tiny under 10% of the people who don't get it? We've always asserted that those people will want to get it and won't be turned off, but will be tuned in, wanting to belong to that club they know is right there in front of them and happy that they weren't be spoken to like they're idiots.