How Can You Make It Better?

I saw this sign at Jimmy John’s yesterday.* This sign could have been your standard NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE, but someone thought it would be funnier to rewrite it. And it is.

It reminded me of when I first read Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.** When I opened the book, I saw that he’d actually written all of the boilerplate legal copy that comes in the first few pages. The copy that most authors ignore because most readers ignore it too. Eggers’ legal copy was the best, funniest legal copy I’d ever read.

You will have a lot of people telling you what you need to include in your ads. Sometimes it’s legal copy, sometimes technical copy. But that doesn’t mean you have to take it as it is. See if you can make it better. It could be: “Professional driver, closed course. Do not attempt.” Or it could be: “Tony Stewart, closed course. You couldn’t do this if your life depended on it, so don’t even try.”

Not that many people read legal copy, but if someone does, why not use it as another chance to give them a good impression of the brand?

*I highly recommend Jimmy John’s. For those of you in San Francisco, they just opened one in Crocker Galleria. 
**Highly recommend AHWOSG, or really anything by Eggers.