SD #01: Give Your Clichés a Makeover

advertising businessstorytelling businesswriting cliche contentcreation datastorytelling marketing marketresearch newsletter Jun 21, 2022

We've been told since 7th grade English class to "avoid them like the plague"—which in itself is a cliché. But why were we told to avoid them? Our English teachers probably found them disdainful due to the fact that clichés lack original thought. And lack of original thought is just not attention grabbing.

But could there be a place for these overused, mundane phrases when it comes to storytelling? We think so, when used smartly and unexpectedly.

Meet Joe Zeff, president of Joe Zeff Design. Joe had a super successful creative agency in New York but was contemplating a move back to his hometown of Pittsburgh. But before making the move, he decided to test the Pittsburgh market by creating a campaign he called, "The Pittsburgh Test". You can read the details here

Now here's where the cliché angle comes in. Joe captured his campaign with the following billboard in Pittsburgh which paraphrased a saying we all know, Go Big AND Go Home. Nice, Joe!

The next time you're working on something, and a cliché comes to mind, don't dismiss it immediately. Instead, think about how you can inject the unexpected into the phrase and turn a stale cliché into a refreshed, powerful figure of speech.


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