You’ve heard of the power of positive thinking, and may have been taught to “put on a happy face,” no matter what the situation. That’s why when I reference something that could be perceived as negative in copy, many clients are quick to request its replacement by something wearing a bigger smile.
Happy talk isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes, what’s negative is more impactful and communicative. 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 is going to be infinitely more powerful than tiptoeing around it.
You could use a headline or subhead that asks something like: “Is it true that our veeblefetzers are unreliable?” Then, you counter that perception head-on with facts, leaving no room for doubt. Would it better if you said something like “We have high-quality, long-life veeblefetzers”? That’s more positive, right? Not exactly. Prospective customers who have heard your competitor’s claims may think you’re either refusing to respond or tap-dancing around them.
It’s perfectly okay to raise negative issues, as long as you respond with both evidence and confidence.