Being negative isn’t always a bad thing

From an early age, we’re taught to put on a happy face, no matter what happens. So when I reference something in copy that could be perceived as negative, many clients are quick to request its replacement by something with a bigger smile.

Generally, that’s not a good idea. Sometimes, what’s negative is actually far more impactful and communicative than the presumably happier version. For example, if your competition has been falsely suggesting that your product has a flaw that shortens its service life, hitting the misperception head-on will be infinitely more powerful than tiptoeing around it.

You might include a headline or subhead that asks something like: “Is it true that our veeblefetzers are unreliable?” Then, when you counter that perception confidently with facts, you’ve left no room for doubt. But if instead you say something like “We have high-quality, long-life veeblefetzers,” prospective customers who have heard your competitor’s claims may think you’re tap-dancing instead of standing up for yourself.

You should never be afraid to raise negative issues, as long as you respond with both evidence and confidence.

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