03 April 2006

Seth Godin's Blog & My Two Cents

Seth writes:

"The worst thing you can do is be boring and vague.
"The second worst thing you can do is be boring and verbose and obvious."

The third worst thing you can do is be hyperbolic yet oblivious.

Jim Henson used excessive hyperbole over and over and over as a source of comedy - Sam the Eagle's pronouncements, every Muppets Lab invention unveiled, etc. It's even in the theme song: "The Most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppetational . . ."

My favorite bit of hyperbole in the "real world" is when at this time of year movie studios release what they call "The most highly anticipated movie of the year." Dude. It's April.

Or how about "The New #1 Hit Show in America" that hasn't even premiered yet? I heard radio ads for Heist claiming this amazing ratings feat (which must somehow involve TiVo and a time machine) in the days leading up to its premiere.

Audiences aren't stupid. This isn't the 1950s. You can't tell us something is the best, most impressive, most eagerly anticipated, groundshaking, life-changing toothpaste (or whatever) and not expect a wry grin and a raised eyebrow. And maybe a chortle, suppressed of course so you don't know that we know that you're full of crapola.

There is a place for such exaggeration . . . when it's accurate. Of course then it wouldn't be hyperbolic, it'd just be descriptive ("The Most Watch Comedy In America" "The Safest Car on the Road".)

I wonder though . . . even if some huge claim turns out to be justified, do audiences even care?

"Honey, come quick! The New #1 Hit Show in America is on!"

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