Top Ten Cruddiest Headlines

The Denver Egotist recently posted a timely article titled “The Rant: The Top 10 Cruddiest Headlines That Prove You’re a No-Talent Hack“. This piece tickled me so much, I’ll paraphrase their main points (the sincerest form of flattery, heh?) here.  

The top ten worst headlines and headline techniques (and they are truly awful) are:

  1. No headline at all. Self-explanatory, really. This is pure laziness sold to an unsuspecting client.
  2. Size matters. Aren’t we over this yet?
  3. There’s [attribute]. And there’s [product attribute]. It worked back in the day, and personally I think it can still be clever, but it no doubt has been overused and has lost its edge.
  4. Start your engines. Just a snazzier way of saying “Get ready”- which doesn’t say anything, really.
  5. Or buy a [product]. Used with a blatantly silly visual, this approach is simply exhausting in its blandness.
  6. There’s only one way to spell [word/phrase] – [brand]. Apparently, there’s many ways to spell it, because many people have used this line.
  7. Think you know [word/product/brand]. Think again. Okay, I will. I’ll think of your competitor, who (hopefully) has a more creative ad campaign.
  8. Got [brand/product]? It works for “Got Milk?” because that was the original. Everything else is just a clone.
  9. The good and bad news. Again, pure laziness.
  10. Puns. Or, as the author describes them, “painfully obviously wordplay.” They usually read as very silly wordsmithing.

What other cruddy headlines and headline tricks can you think of?

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