Off the shelf, completely off the money

I just walked past a Thomson travel agents in north Leeds. I got as far as the entrance of the bank next door.

Then a lightening bolt struck. Something pulled me back. Something a bit Star Trekky… an unfathomable force, a magnetic field that sucked me, frowning and bewildered back to the travel agents – and to the banner you see here.

This dark force then proceeded to swirl around my right hand. Still not quite believing my eyes, the hijacked hand took out my phone and made me capture the banner in all its glory.

Now that strange energy is making me stick a post up about the event.

What is it exactly? I’ve always said to myself don’t become one of those copywriters who bangs on ad infinitum about apostrophe abuse, split infinitives and copy cliches.

But I can’t help myself. The Shelf Monster is making me do it, completely against my will.

You see, the Shelf Monster comes from a planet called Thatull Do, is a hairy beast of immense power and, once disturbed, can cause destruction of universal proportions – especially to otherwise well-intended marketing campaigns.

And boy, has someone pissed off the Shelf Monster with this humdinger.

Someone, perhaps a young marketing director, possibly also from Thatull Do, or a young copy monkey travelling the galaxy in search of inspiration has seen fit to sneak into the Shelf Monster’s cave and nick one of the beast’s most prized possessions: the word, ‘passionate’.

Oh boy, that big fella’s pretty damned annoyed now. So pretty damned annoyed, he’s gonna rip the head off the campaign’s impact, take a huge dump on its response rates and trample all over the Thomson brand for weeks to come.


My advice to anyone naive, lazy or pressed-for-time enough to even think of foraging around in the Shelf Monster’s cave for effective copy?

Don’t. It aint pretty. Then watch this short piece of film from the erratically brilliant David Mitchell.

You’ll then hopefully never think of entering the Shelf Monster’s domain – ever.

For more cliche-riddled nonsense, take a wander over to The Drum to see what Gabriella Cilmi has to say on the subject.


Larner Caleb

Freelance Copy, Concepts,
Branding & Creative Direction



    Follow @LarnerC


    • Claire
      May 11, 2010 - 11:52 am

      Discover your passion. The worst line ever?

      Passionate about discovery. There’s another dangleberry of a line.

      Why the laziness? I can’t decide if it’s the writer or the client. Hmm.

    • Michelle
      September 20, 2010 - 2:18 pm

      My guess is it’s the client. I once worked for a company where the VP of Marketing insisted that I use “truly” heavily throughout their marketing material. He even went so far as to rewrite my copy to include it at times. He was truly passionate about that word.

    • Anonymous
      May 28, 2011 - 11:44 am

      Heads of marketing, like other marketers, do tend to talk a lot of nonsense. They seem to be experienced copywriters too.

      That’s why so much copy is peppered with nonsense like the word ‘passionate’.

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