No, not those seven words.
The seven words I’m talking about are just fine with the FCC but maybe deserve a little more scrutiny from the FDA.
We all know these words: green, organic, free-range, all-natural, low-cholesterol, biodegradable, and pure.
These are seven words we should never use to describe our brands. Although pure really shouldn’t be on the list. It’s such a noble-sounding word. King Arthur was pure. Dudley Do-Right was pure.
But our brands are not pure. They may be pure chemicals. They may be pure sugar (but probably not). More likely, they are pure nonsense.
The reason we should not use these seven words (and the list is certainly longer) isn’t just that it’s misleading, or even dishonest. It’s that nobody believes us (see Green Fatigue).
It’s as if we could just take the good old days of bolder and brighter and replace those words with greener and leaner and everything would be as it was before.
It’s as though we could just hand a few empty words to our fellow shoppers and everything will be okay again in our world.
George Carlin once said that words were just tools to conceal the truth. In fact, he used words to expose what he saw as the truth. George Carlin was a comedian and a gosh-darn funny one.
But what’s so funny about truthful words in branding?TM