Music video on social media, first impressions count!

You never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression…

Whether we like it or not, video has become a key element in promoting music. As the old saying goes

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

I’ve learned over the years about the importance of always maintaining the best quality control in releasing audio and video. Social media is full of artist videos that are well intended, but not always shot in the best possible manner. Common errors are the classic shakey video where you start to feel seasick just watching.

Another issue is releasing products with terrible sound, a big fail when the idea is to promote music! I saw today on social media a showreel from a solo singer songwriter with terrible sound as if he is playing at the bottom of a well. The video angle is also dreadful. There may be some excuse if this was an enthusiastic super fan shooting the video, but this is his attempt at a showreel/business card for his work and it looks terrible. Another acoustic solo artist is endlessley putting out phone video on Facebook. I applaud the enthusiasm, but its almost of her playing in a venue with either no public or people clearly talking over the music. Again its not creating in my view the best impression, in showcasing her art.

The public’s ever decreasing attention span…

With the advent of Tik Tock, the public have an ever decreasing attention span, so any music videos need to be well edited and impactful. The public are mostly not going to watch a lengthy video, especially if its a new artist. Also many people watch gootage on their phones, so any footage needs to look good on this medium. Music videos have in many instances become like TV ads, short and to the point. There is still a place for longer videos, but 30 sec clips can be great to get attention from people that don’t know the artist’s music.

The temptation for many artists is to do all filming and editing themselves, but in my view its far better to employ somebody who has both the professional gear and skills to create the best end result. Yes, its an investment, but in my view a worthwhile one.

In recent times I’ve hired Mal Williamson for all my music videos and he’s doing a superb job. Crucially he is a film maker rather than an enthusiast with a video camera and it shows in his work. Below is a great example of a “video poster” for an upcoming live showcase in Leeds.

Angles and flow

I am a fan of videos that are well thought out and are filmed with a variety of film angles. This does not mean endless cameras and of course the editing is crucial. A lack of smart editing means that its hard to keep a viewer’s attention. Too much cutting from one camera to another makes for an unpleasant viewing experience! Here’s another Mal Willaimson music video on social media which is in my view a great example of smart editing to keep viewer attention. This was a ton of work, using a variety of audio clips, green screen and multiple camera angles to maintain flow and viewer attention

Reaching a wider audience with your music

Over the last six years I’ve been looking at music promotion and the most effective ways to reach a wider audience. Its been a fascinating exploration and confirmed a number of my initial suspicions as well as revealing some surprises.

Investments of time and money

One thing is certain, if you want to connect to a wider audience, its going to take investments of both time and money. I’d love to think that there’s a quick fix and the music will speak for itself, but that’s really not the case. Like any form of marketing you need time and money to reach an audience beyond friends and family. I’ve seen many great bands play local small venues (often for free) and the primary audience is friends of the band and family. My own experience is that playing local gigs is invaluable in building up performance skills, but it can also burn a lot of time and money with very few tangible results. Of course many artists just love to play and that’s 100% a legitimate reason to gig, but its in my view not something to be relied upon to reach a wider audience.

BBC Introducing experiences

With my first band “The Small Change Diaries” we had an extraordinary amount of music played on BBC Introducing in Leeds, often week on week. I genuinely thought this would crank some interest in the band, but found it made absolutely no difference at all to any momentum for the band. When Alan Raw was one of those choosing the tracks, we had good plays and Alan was kind enough to comment “It’s an interesting sound, it’s good, I like what they are doing!” The second album had a play of “I know what you’re saying is fine” and then NOTHING for any other submitted tracks from following years. I sent tracks from four different projects and even though they were really diverse nothing ever got played again! This was a very different experience and I subsequently found that there were different people choosing the music and a lot of what was played were artists from Leeds college of music. That’s 100% fine of course and one artist had the same single played twice over two weeks, but this lead me to look at other radio stations and see what interest there might be.

Everyone has an opinion, but what actually works?

I attended a music forum in Leeds with a number of local gatekeepers including some from the BBC and it was a good opportunity to hear what people suggested was useful and ask questions. Some of the advise proved in my experience not to be especially helpful at all including the suggestion that radio promoters were a waste of time! My own experience is that this is far from the case and I’m pleased to have built up some really good connections with stations across the UK.

Of course different people will have different experiences and there is no “right way” to market music. My experience is that to be effective you need to useful many different mediums and not reply on sporadic social media posts where friends and colleagues proclaim you as “brilliant”. Its well meant of course, but “the music business” is like any other business, its essentially about “trades” who gives what and who gets what. My experience is that the key is collaboration with like minds and being prepared to put in the hard work.

Green Eyed Records and Music for The Head & Heart

I set up Green Eyed Records and Music for The Head & Heart as platforms to showcase a wide variety of music. This requires a fair bit of time and financial investment. That said, its proved to be a great way to share information and offer practical help to some artists. GER has sponsored some artists with marketing by paying for services the artists probably could not afford, and/or have access to. Music for the Head and Head and Original Ukulele Songs have allowed me to connect to many great artists who I would probably never have come across. Obvious examples are Towse and Emily Mercer, both who play on the forthcoming album “All is fine ’til the world goes pop” Both are smart enough to have their own sites and not just reply on social media platforms. Of course not everyone gets the value of collaboration and I even had one artist decline free assistance from the GER platform, while at the same time endlessly seeking funding from core fans for all manner of urgent financial needs just to get by from week to week. That in my view is not a great long term strategy and the whole “I know better than anyone else, following my dream” is a bit daft. Of course others may disagree and that’s fine to.

Enter Frank Wilkes and Kycker

I’d almost given up on getting sensible advice on music promotion until I spoke to Frank Wilkes from Kycker. Frank offered some great practical advice and the edited one minute clips here are invaluable for anyone wanting to expand their audience reach. Frank is very straight talking and offers some really sensible tips worth listening to. Of course everyone needs to decide for themselves what path they want to take, but it doesn’t matter how great the music is (in your opinion) connecting to a wider audience requires some good strategic thinking. Anyone who imagines otherwise is with respect, totally delusional!

There’s no substitute for experience

I’ve realised that there really is no substitute for experience and its worth looking at the artist interviews on Music for the Head and Heart as well as Green Eyed Records. I’m grateful to Jim Glennie from James, Jon Gomm and Martin Simpson for their insights as well as world famous journalist Sylvie Simmons.

One thing is certain, “the music industry” is changing and hoping that your track will stand out from the other 62,000 tracks uploaded each and every day to Spotify is somewhat optimistic. Ultimately any success will in my view come from working with like minds and appreciating that the old model of “getting signed” “to make it” is now seriously outdated. I have massive respect for any artists seeing to create and bring music to a wider audience. Its often far more work than anyone might imagine and great music alone is not going to be enough. Every artist I have interviewed or spoken to has had a great work ethic, good strategic planning as well as excellent creative skills.

“Caveat Emptor” – A cautionary tale about music promoters

In recent times I’ve become increasingly aware of individuals setting themselves up as “festival and music promoters” who in my opnion (I’m being polite here) lack skills in making such events viable. Of course this is I suspect a minority, as there are many great, experienced professional promoters, but as the old saying goes “You couldn’t make it up”

What follows is a cautionary tale…

Pesky details…

A friend of mine was asked to find acts for a festival and started to leverage his contacts to ensure that the event had the best available artists. Anyone in the music business will appreciate that professional artists will usually be booked up during most weekends, so its important to book well in advance. In this instance he only had two months to help out this promoter, who had left it to the last monment to secure musical entertainment. Organising musicians is a bit like herding cats at the best of times, but those of us who love music mostly enter into such activities out of love for music promotion rather than financial interest.

My friend’s alarm bells began to ring when the promoter started ducking answering basic questions that any booker and/or artist would ask in such a venture. Lets be clear, we are not talking about forensic detail here, but rather common sense considerations for appearing at a festival. I know from running Music for the Head and Heart showcases how important it is to define expectations which of course is standard business practice in any industry including the music business.

The main website for the festival looked great on the surface but had no actual detail about what was being offered at the event. The homepage suggested “75 classes and activities” as well as “music” would be available, but I still can’t find any actual details of who or what will be appearing on the weekend! There are also no previous festivals of this name, so no momentum from days gone by to ensure good audience attendance. Of course its possible that people will flock to this first time event simply through word of mouth, but in my opinion that would be highly unusual…

Checking online for promoter’s credibility and experience

In this internet era its easy to check the credibility of any business online and for musicians its essential to check how and what you will be paid for your own peace of mind. The first alarm bell rang when the promoter was shifty about confirming in writing to artists rates of pay. He’d confirmed verbally to my friend, but ducked putting anything in writing to artists who were interested in playing. This does not inspire confidence and now the real danger is that my friend the booker could be left having to deal with the financial aspect of paying the artists, especially as artists were asked to invoice after the event had completed!

The second alarm bell was when I looked into the financials for the company which claimed to have been trading for 7 years and had run a series of events. The reality is that the company had only been incorporated in March this year and had zero trading history. The head of the company also was misrepresnting himself on business social media in this respect stating he’d been owner of this company for 7 years.

The third alarm bell rang when I looked at social media for this guts promotion business and found very little activity and/or engagement.

If it looks like a duck…

As the old saying goes “If it looks like a duck, has a beak and quacks like a duck, its probably a duck”

The lesson here is to scan for what I term “the elusive obvious” Its possible that a weekend festival could be really successful and attract a lot of exhibitors and artists without any contracts, marketing and promotion, but in my experience that would be a first. The reality is that any event, even if its an evening, never mind a full weekend, needs a great deal of work and attention to make it happen. In this instance neither is in place. As the saying goes “fail to plan, plan to fail”

These days many people are still apprehensive about attending any events even outdoors, so its crucial to make such opportunities attractive and that means giving detailed content on what you can expect

Good manners make for good outcomes

I come from a background in business and appreciate that we can all have different opinions, but good manners are always useful for good outcomes. When a promoter asks for help and then adopts a “don’t bother me I’m too busy to talk to the likes of you” approach, then that;s not good manners or good business.

In this instance the promoter has lost the goodwill of my friend the booker as well as all the artists who were willing to support the event. Its a perfect example of self sabotage and I note that one of his previous business concerns was dissolved in days gone by. Its a shame and a missed opportunity as this character managed to wonderfully snatch failure from the jaws of success. He would have had (note past tense) a host of different well connected artists promoting his event for FREE, but is too unaware to grasp the opportunity.

The lesson in all this is to define expectations and although we may agree to disagree, its always those pesky details that are important to ensure the success of any venture…

STOP PRESS – The terms and conditions for this festival have this clause

“If X festival is cancelled in its entirety due to any unforeseen circumstances for example covid related lockdown, Ink Events Ltd has the sole right to reschedule the event or issue partial total refund or NOT ISSUE ANY REFUNDS

Note “any unforeseen circumstances” is pretty vague and most people will not dig into the detail here. To not issue any refund is highly unusual. Two words spring to mind-

Stop Press!

The Terms and conditions have now been amended. The event has now been flagged as “sold out” but still there is zero mention of any actual workshops or musical artists. The promoter when questioned becomes extremely defensive. Make of that what you will…


Unsurprisingly the event is now cancelled, according to a post on FB, BUT the event is still live on the promoters site and shows as “sold out” They now promise a return for 2023. Its a masterclass in ineptitude and a perfect example of how not to promote events. Here even basic elements were never in place for this to be remotely viable. CAVEAT EMPTOR!

Setting up Green Eyed Records

April last year I decided to set up Green Eyed Records as a platform for music lovers to share thoughts and resources. I’ve blogged previously about some of the challenges for artists in creating and promoting music and I always return to the same conclusion, that a whole new way of thinking is long overdue.

The central idea for Green Eyed Records is “Creativity through collaboration” as in my opinion the old record label model doesn’t really serve the artist’s interests these days. Sylvie Simmons interviewed me here on the GER concept and did a great job of asking smart questions about the validity and viability of the whole concept.

Green Eyed Records

GER on social media and the importance of momentum

Last April I set up GER on FB and Instagram to create awareness for the platform. Social media has become a key factor these days in promoting music awareness and this has been a great opportunity to gauge how people respond on these mediums. Of course some artists and FB enthusiasts don’t really understand how social media works and confuse “users” with “customers” on these platforms, sometimes with hilarious posts. Over the years I have literally been happy to “put my money where my mouth is” and support the promotion of great musicians, previously through the Music for the Head and Heart platform and now Green Eyed Records.

I fully respect that we all have different ideas on how to promote music, but I’m increasingly aware of artists snatching failure from the jaws in this respect. Of course covid has reduced a great deal of the live playing income stream and streaming has killed a lot of product revenue. This calls for a new way of thinking and in 2022 I’ll be running a series of new initiatives through Green Eyed Records that will help artists reach a wider audience beyond their existing core fans.

The GER FB numbers have grown at a surprising rate and at the time of writing are already

2,043 people like the page and 2,247 people following the page

The Boomer factor

In one of my great conversations with Sylvie Simmons, she pointed out that the FB music enthusiasts were mostly the boomers. “Baby boomers” or “boomers” are described as “The demographic cohort following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. The generation is generally defined as people born from 1946 to 1964, during the post–World War II baby boom”

We started to notice that posts about classic artists like Carol King, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury attracted a huge number of likes and shares, way beyond my expectations. One photo of Freddie and Dave Gilmour generated 8.2k likes and 234 shares. Another graphic about bass players to my total surprise generated 7.6k likes and a staggering 1.7k shares!

GER for 2022

In 2022 in conjunction with Music for The Head and Heart, we’ll starting running some live showcase events which are part of the next phase of GER. I remain convinced that the best hope for music promotion is through collaboration and discussion. In these tougher economic and covid times, I’m convinced more than ever of the need for better ways to promote and discuss great music. GER is one small but growing group that will help promote “creativity through collaboration”

Epic fail music promotions?

As part of setting up the Green Eyed Records platform, I’ve been looking in live music events promotions and I’m constantly amazed at what I have found to date. I recently searched for an artist I knew was playing as a support act in a major city venue. Even with the date and the venue name, it took a fair while to find the support info. Aside from the actual name of the artist there was ZERO INFORMATION, that’s right, absolutely NOTHING! There was no bio info, links to social media, artist photo no video, just NOTHING!

I don’t claim to be the world’s greater music promoter, but this is really basic stuff. Ok, I thought, there’s nothing on the two support acts, lets look for the main act information. Yes, in this instance there is a photo and a link to one track of audio, BUT no social media, website or any other links. On searching on this headline artist, I finally found their YouTube channel which had 16 subscribers.

Post covid 19, I would have thought that promoters would be doing their very best to attract audiences and support artists. Even though this evening of three acts has a knockdown ticket price of just 6 quid, this basic lack of attention is not going to help attract an audience. The promo video for the venue on YouTube from the owner released in August 2020 has just 126 views, no likes and no comments! No wonder live music is struggling to attract audiences, when music venue owners don’t pay attention to basic marketing. To be fair the FB page is significantly better, but this is still IMO an epic music promotion fail as they are missing a whole load of opportunities here…

Too harsh? You decide…

The Quick and the Dead

In my non musical life (the one that pays the bills I work globally teaching about behavioural patterns and strategic thinking. I’m a problem solver and my problem solving head is constantly amazed at how many artists spectacularly fail to spot really good opportunities.

Sometimes such individuals are natural procrastinators and simply can’t make a decision. I have lost track of the number of people who are going to write a book or record an album. They are always “going to” but mostly never manage to achieve their desired goal. Often they fail either to prioritise and/or connect to those people who will most assist in their pursuit.

There’s a story about two people walking along a road and spotting a hundred dollar bill.

One person says “I saw it first”

The other says “I picked it up first!”

I have many brilliant examples of these two different mindsets in action. In the last week I offered three artists the chance to be part of a new musical project. One simply didn’t reply even though they had read the communication, the other acknowledged the post, but never followed up and the last one followed up immediately and will now be part of the project which will also lead to some paid work.

In my business days my old boss used to talk about “The quick and the dead” In other words some people look for and seize opportunities as and when they come up and others remain dead to such opportunities. Of course each person needs to decide what works best for them, BUT some people don’t even get to an enquiry level to see what might be possible.

My own experience in life is that its smart to only align with the most talented people of like minds. I’m increasingly working this way and in the week ahead I have three very productive meetings planned with some very smart brains where there will be all manner of good opportunities through collaboration.

Reach, risk and reward in music promotion

A good friend of mine recently started a thread on social media about how Spotify had greatly affected online music sales generation and how many people now didn’t expect to pay for music. In recent months this has been a recurring discussion I have had with artists. One now-retired artist from the folk circuit commented that at live gigs she always could count on selling 19 CDs as well as getting the usual fee. Suddenly with the advent of streaming and online downloads, that number dropped by half overnight.

Reach in music promotion 

Mediums like Spotify, YouTube and social media mean that artists have access or reach too far greater audiences than ever before. This is the good news. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of material online is at an all-time high and it is literally and metaphorically tough to be heard.  In little over 12 months’ time, Spotify will be out of contract with all three major record companies, so it will be interesting to see what happens with that platform. The challenge is to manage the benefits of using these platforms for extended reach, at the same time maintaining some commercial financial viability. 

My own view is that to have successful reach in music promotion you need to be working on many fronts. Yes, social media is vital, BUT let’s remind ourselves that the customer for FB and similar outlets are the advertisers, NOT the consumer and increasingly these platforms are looking to maximise profits above all other considerations.  A good up to date website is essential and of course, you need to remain on the radar in people’s awareness, without bombarding people with information. Platforms like Bandcamp are worth exploring and many artists are now moving from Spotify where there’s poor financial reward to Bandcamp. 

The advent of talent shows IMO fuel the aspiration of being an instant star and it seems increasingly the quality of the music is dumbed down. Of course, this is my 100% biased view and in recent years I have realised that my idea of what is “awesome” in music is not somebody doing a competent cover of a classic song, but rather the creation of some original material that captures my attention.

“Reach” does not only mean connecting to a mass audience but also connecting to individuals in a way that provokes a response. Some of my favourite artists and songs were not the ones where I immediately loved. When I first saw and heard Tom Waits playing “Small Change” on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 19702s I thought “WTF is this?” Artists have to balance the benefits of having their music available on a mass scale with the short, medium and long-term financial rewards. Its fine “to play the long game” in music promotion, but the weekly bills still need paying. I’m lucky to supplement all my music from other work, which affords me a freedom to steer my own path in what I do. 

Risk in music promotion

Any kind of promotion requires some form of time and money investment and that’s “the risk” factor.

Personally, I have always sought to invest in the best I can afford in musical gear, studio expertise, musical education and music promotion. I pay all band members for rehearsal and studio time as well as live gigs regardless of whether the venue pays. The “risk” in music promotion is always a calculated risk and it’s never gonna pay off 100%, but for the most part, the risks have been totally worthwhile. Also, such risks will change over a period of time. These days I have what I consider to be an excellent process of writing and recording and access to many superb musicians across the two bands I record and play live with. “The Caravan of Dreams” are increasingly far removed from the ukulele world and I can’t imagine them ever playing any uke based events, as the music is more diverse and for a different audience. 

There are a significant number of time and money investments involved and I’m lucky to be able to bankroll these activities from my standing as an international presenter, writer and coach. My background in business taught me a lot about rick v reward and the importance of working with like minds. It’s also essential to disassociate from people who have wildly opposing agendas. The music business is like any other business in that the success depends on good strategic thinking, planning and great quality control. The Brexit factor has also thrown a wildcard into proceedings producing massive uncertainty for artists and to date, I see very little to be optimistic about by this potential change. 


There seems to be a new trend for Kickstarter initiatives and crowdfunding. This can work, BUT there are also some potential problem issues. It seems that some artists now want to reply 100% on the public paying for their recording time. This can be problematic if backers stump up funds only then to discover the promised material is endlessly delayed or fails to manifest at all. Many people don’t appreciate that there is little recourse from the “middlemen” in such transactions and the risk is 100% with the investor. Its great to get fan support, but in recent years these kinds of requests for financial support seem to have gone into overdrive and I’m seeing the cracks starting to appear in some instances of using this medium. 

Reward in music promotion

The rewards in music promotion are not just financial. As the old joke goes

“What to earn £2m in music? Start out with £1m” 

A professional musician friend once asked his class of students “How much annual income do you need as a musician?” Now break this down into fees for paying gigs and other revenue sources. The key is to maintain predictable reliable income and like any business that takes time and energy. The idea of a record contract and “being signed” may seem attractive, but as with all business transactions there are pros and cons to consider…

Record Contracts?

“One of the biggest wake-up calls of my career was when I saw a record contract. I said, ‘Wait – you sell it for $18.98 and I make 80 cents? And I have to pay you back the money you lent me to make it and then you own it?’

Trent Reznor

“I had knockback after knockback before I got anywhere. After I got my first record deal I thought that was it, then Gut Records went into liquidation. I was 20. I had no idea what that meant. I had a few days to get myself out of that contract or my work would be owned by someone else.

Jessie J

Record contracts like any other business contract can vary massively and its always smart to read the small print. In the “music business” a label will want a return on its investment and it will deem how an artist is investable. This means to a large extent they will dictate how they want to market the artist to maximise profits. That’s BUSINESS.

Some people have a very romantic idea of this type of relationship and I even heard of a new artist over the moon with signing to a new independent label where the owners didn’t take a salary. personally, this would worry me as it suggests they have not really factored in the time v money aspect of running a label and unless they are all multi-millionaires that don’t need income, then its well-meaning but not business savvy.

Here’s a link to a great article on the ins and ous of record contracts and what the terms mean –

A personal view

Personally, I love writing, recording and playing music live. I don’t have to rely on generating income from these activities, but I do have to be mindful of time and money implications. The rewards to date in terms of meeting, playing and recording with musicians have been fantastic. Highlights include playing a major guitar festival overseas, hearing many tracks placed on BBC introducing, running an album launch to a packed house and learning from some amazing professional artists.

There have been some financial rewards but I have had a policy of always reinvesting back into the bands and in equipment and studio time. I’m “playing the long game” and am able to do so as I’m not “a professional musician” ie somebody whose primary source of income is from music. 

Having spoken to friends who are professional musicians, I’m not sure if I would want to go down that route as it massively biases what I can afford to do and how I do it. That said its clear to me that many of the existing platforms for music promotion massively disadvantage the performing artist. Live venues, promoters and the public alike all seem to want to pay less and less and the dreaded term “playing for exposure” seems to appear all too often in conversations. I’m working on a new platform called “Music for The Head and Heart” that is my attempt to redress some of these issues, but its a lot of work behind the scenes and is a fair bit of time and money investment.  The promotion will be mostly for those on the platform.

I have also realised that you never please everyone. When I set up “The Original Ukulele Songs Platform” its a free promotion service to artists and most were quite appreciative. Inevitably there are a few characters that insist its all for personal self-promotion and I have realised its a waste of time engaging with such folks and better to focus on working with like minds and people with good manners. 


The “Reach, risk and reward in music promotion” depends massively upon whether you earn your living solely from music or not. I see a parallel with authors where many imagine they will make a good living from writing, but few reach that level. In these tougher economic times, predictable income is for many a real priority and life as a working musician is from what I see not an easy option.  That said, it’s a fascinating inspiring journey and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Me in Lagoa ahead of playing The Lagoa Guitar Festival in 2016


Working on the BIG project

Since May this year I’ve been working on what I call “The BIG project” and its now starting to take shape.

I set up The Original Ukulele Songs platform as a beta tester for something much bigger. OUS will continue on FB and in the background but its obvious to me that the ukulele or any other niche musical interest is too limiting in terms of reaching a much wider musical public. My primary interest has always been about “music” rather than which instrument is being used to play it and the bigger project won’t be limited to any specific instrument or musical style.

Unlike OUS, the bigger platform will be by invitation and recommendation only. There will be an online artist presence as well as an educational element and live playing opportunities. This means a lot of organisation which in turn means extensive time and financial committments. The OUS platform has highlighted some useful considerations for what happens with the new project, especially in terms of technology and time management.

I’m also keen to engage with artists where there is good reciprication in terms of support and this is why we are looking at a different model for the bigger platform. I say “we” because I have enlisted a number of people who will assist with this initiative. These are mostly performers and video tech folks as I need good musical and technical support to make this all happen.

More news will be forthcoming later this year and as with all sucessful projects its of course all about the attention to detail. 

The excessive use of superlatives and exaggerations online

I’m increasingly noticing a trend where advertisers, posters, promoters and artists are engaging in excessive use of superlatives and exaggerations online

A superlative has been described as  

“The form of an adjective or adverb that expresses that the thing or person being described has more of the particular quality than anything or anyone else of the same type”

In communications the adjective is listed first, followed by the comparative adjective and then the superlative adjective:

Big – bigger – biggest.
Brave – braver – bravest.
Bright – brighter – brightest.

Of course with The Advertising Standards Authority advertisers can be held to account for deliberately misleading the public with claims.  CAP advice in relating to ASA is

“Superlative claims may be either fully superlative, for example, “Superior Cleaning Compared To An Ordinary Toothbrush” (Colgate-Palmolive, 18 July 2001) and “Greater cleaning efficiency” (Argos Ltd, 21 April 2004) or top-parity claims, for example, “Nothing washes whiter than X”. Either way, marketers will be expected to substantiate the truthfulness and accuracy of a superlative claim and will need to hold documentary evidence”

Donald Trump

Of course some misleading claims are easy to  spot when people makes claims about “size”. The most recent USA presidential inauguration  claim is a great example of this and the USA president continues to use exaggerations and superlatives on an almost daily basis on Twitter. As The Washington Times noted

“Nothing is ever merely “good,” or “fortunate.” No appointment is merely “outstanding.” Everything is “fantastic,” or “terrific,” and every man or woman he appoints to a government position, even if just two shades above mediocre, is “tremendous.” The Donald never met a superlative he didn’t like, himself as the ultimate superlative most of all”

Aside from any political considerations, in my view this is not a smart way to go as after a while there’s just way too much noise and usually people tune out…

Exaggerations online 

On social media in particular there seems an increasing tendency to use terms like “awesome” and “unique” There’s of course nothing wrong with such terms and some experiences can indeed be awesome and unique, BUT when almost everything is described in this way the effect is to dilute l impact for the reader. This dilution effect is even more when the terms are used repeatedly in the same paragraph of copy. In my experience this can happen for a number of reasons.

Sometimes the person writing copy or posting has a limited favorite vocabulary and doesn’t fully appreciate the effect of repeatedly posting the same terms. In other instances the individual is so excited in what they are describing they forget to think about how its being perceived by a third party. 

The changing face of marketing and less is often more

The world of marketing is changing at some rate. Traditional exaggerated claims are increasingly viewed with caution by customers and of course social media feedback has led to a new form of scrutiny. Similarly claims that suggest massive priced drops like “Normal price is X, but now the price is Y (huge discount) and “Last few items available!” often don’t have the same impact as in days gone by. My own view is that businesses need to be more transparent in their dealings and increasingly focus on what they have to offer is genuinely unique.  Some businesses adopt a scatter gun approach to marketing, so customers become overwhelmed with choice.

Often the business owner or promoter can be so personally invested in their business or event, that they can’t resist this unhelpful level of hype. Sometimes it can create short term attention, BUT its never great for developing long term marketing trust with clients.  Often the person writing copy is far too hyperactive and tries to be all things to all people. More often than not they lose customer confidence by this approach and would do far better by pacing how they market and focus more specifically on USPs.