When Phil Collins Told Gloria to Wait…The Result of Misunderstood Words!
Copy needs to be clear. If you fail on that, everything fails.
Misunderstood copy will lead to one thing – a misunderstood product.
Words create images. When they are not interpreted in the way the writer intended, two outcomes are possible: no sales, or sales that end in disappointed customers.
Think of a song you once misunderstood…
Listening to the radio over the weekend got me thinking. A song was playing that I once hugely misunderstood – ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ by Phil Collins. (Yes, I listen to the best radio stations!).
‘Hello, I Must Be Going’ by Phil Collins was the soundtrack to a family road trip to France one year. As a child, I understood the line, “you can’t hurry love, you just have to wait”, to be “you can’t Gloria, you just have to wait”. There I was, singing away in the back of the car, imagining Gloria being told to back off.
This was not the only song I ever misunderstood…
Sat in art class listening to my discman, I wondered why Macie Gray was singing about wearing goggles when trying to say goodbye to a loved one. Quite an image, donning a pair of goggles when facing heartbreak! The line was “my world crumbles when you are not near”, rather than “I wear goggles when you are not near”.
Another road trip, to Wales this time, saw me gasp at the bad language used in Freddy Mercury’s ‘Living on My Own’. I voiced my shock at “got to hit some gits on the head!”, only to be corrected by my parents that the line was, in fact, “got to be some good times ahead!”. My misunderstanding saw Freddy taking his frustration out in a rather inappropriate manner, when he was actually trying his best to be positive.
Why is this relevant to copywriting?
So how does all this tie-in with copywriting?
When we hear or read something, we instantly create an image in our mind. Putting the right copy with your product or service ensures that your story is correctly conveyed and that you are doing it, and your brand, justice.
Get your copy wrong and potential customers will misunderstand and create the wrong image in their heads. Just as I did with pushy Gloria, aggressive Freddy and goggle-wearing Macie.