Marketing Hyperbole Is The Absolute Worst Thing Ever

At AdPulp, we’re competing for attention and eyeballs. So I’m quote conscious of the fact that when we write something, the title gets shared on sites like Twitter. If the title isn’t provocative, it won’t get clicked on.

That kind of fear has driven marketing gurus and guru-wannabes to dial up the hype of their own posts and proclamations.

Anyone who’s studied a bit of early and mid 20th century advertising history knows that mindless puffery and hyperbole is part of the industry’s DNA. “New! Better than ever! Now with 20% more magical ingredients!”

Supposedly, through the years advertising professionals got smarter, the audience got savvier, and the work became more genuine. Fewer and fewer people believe the empty-minded claims brands make when declaring superiority over their competitors. So it’s hard for me to comprehend why we perpetuate so much business-related hype when we talk amongst ourselves. Why do we feel the need to scream so loud all the time?

It’s the subject of my new column on Talent Zoo. Which will change the ad industry forever, guaranteed.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Peter Levitan says:

    Let’s face it, hype works. Hyperbole works. In fact, you will get more clicks because of the hyperbolic nature of your very own headline: “Marketing Hyperbole Is the Absolute Worst Thing Ever.” You do want people to read your Talent Zoo column. Right?

    I don’t see anything wrong with this. Wrong comes to play when hyperbole or hype is based on untruths.

    • DanGoldgeier says:

      Of course, I’m using hyperbole by titling my column that way, Peter. The difference here is, I did it in jest. And yes, it works.

      But to me, when someone writes that some ad is “the worst ___ ever” or makes some sort of superlative claim that sounds gratuitous, and they’re deadpan serious about it, it cheapens every point they try to make to support it. And I tend to trust them less and take them less seriously.

      I see it way too much from otherwise intelligent people who ought to know better.

  2. Rafael Cosentino says:

    Its tough not to have hyperbole when the only way to stay relevant is to continue changing and evolving. Since these changes and evolutions create news, the news becomes the ads fodder. I hear ads for clorox bleach and I’m like, yeah ok its bleach but it would be boring to say, “Clorox Bleach, its the same stuff your grandma was using back in the day”. This topic reminds me a little of Men’s warehouse and how they fired their CEO because they wanted a new look, target a younger audience…but again, its the same stuff.

  3. This is either the best or worst thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.