Nov 14, 2017

Dotard - The Power of a Single Word

A strange thing happened in June 2017, from North Korea's dictator came a message to the US people and especially the commander in chief. While filled with the usual death threats and assurance that they will continue to pursue their means to end the world, Kim called Trump a dotard.

That was all it took for the entire world to forget the atrocities and significance of this aggressive statement and focus solely on the strangeness of one word. This is the greatest example in recent history how a single well placed word can draw focus completely away from anything in the statement. It was a well decided piece of propaganda that subverted the world beautifully, causing all of us to view the North Korean regime as intellectual and almost humorous in their name calling.

This shows how important word choice is, and how when used correctly can influence the way your brand is seen, or how your message is received, regardless of whatever the content might actually be. Use the right words in harmony with your message and your content will sing.

Of course, the North Koreans have used this trick to their benefit, by masking their bad reputation, but the most common occurrence of this phenomenon is in bad copy.

Through the notion that complicated and big words equal complicated ideas, it is not uncommon to see underused words in advertisement copy just for the sake of standing out. For example, “Come by our summer buffet for a plethora of eclectic cuisines”. The words “plethora” and “eclectic” make the reader pause through their sheer bizarreness, causing them to think about the words themselves, disrupting the natural reading rhythm and forgetting all the context of the original message.

Your number one goal in advertising is to convey an idea or emotion towards your readers, the best way to do this is through clear and concise word choice as not to interrupt the mind while reading. When it comes to writing PR or legal documents the opposite is true, deliberately confusing word choice may help distract your reader from your true intentions.

In that spirit, if you did not enjoy this luculent logomachy, I can only presume you to be a stercoraceous criticaster.

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