What I meant was…

In this heated political environment, the difference between what one meant to say and what was actually said is big. In fact, it could be the difference between winning and losing an election.

In the world of marketing, word choice and meaning is critical. Not only is developing the message important, but delivering it clearly to convey the emotions and intent is both an art and a science.

An example of where the art and the science came up short was evident to me on the highway earlier this week:  Sherwin Williams Paint or SWP.  Their trucks prominently promote the following message: “Cover the Earth”. The dominant image is paint dripping over the globe.

Really? This message grabbed my attention and elicited an immediate negative reaction.  I don’t want to see the globe covered in paint! In this era of going green and protecting the environment, they depict the globe being covered in paint – really?!  Who thought this was a good idea?  I doubt the marketers at SWP thought through the implications of this message when they designed any and all components of how this message would be delivered. Like some politicians, I would expect their spokesperson to start the explanation with “what we meant was…” A suggested message for SWP is to try a more positive message such as: “Let us brighten your world”.


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