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“and don’t call me Shirley”

Rewatched Airplane recently.

The hilarious satire movie riddled with hilarity.

And you know what else it was riddled with, cully?

Copywriting lessons.


One of the main gags throughout the movie is people taking stuff literally and turning a serious situation into a silly one.

Here are a few examples:

Exhibit A:

Rumack: You’d better tell the Captain we’ve got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.

Elaine Dickinson: A hospital? What is it?

Rumack: It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.

And Exhibit A2:

Elaine Dickinson: You got a letter from headquarters this morning.

Ted Striker: What is it?

Elaine Dickinson: It’s a big building where generals meet, but that’s not important.

Moving on to Exhibit B — right before the plane takes off:

Passenger: Nervous?

Ted Striker: Yes.

Passenger: First time?

Ted Striker: No, I’ve been nervous lots of times.

And may I point you to the stupid, yet hysterical Exhibit C:

Ted Striker: It was at that moment that I first realized Elaine had doubts about our relationship. And that, as much as anything else, led to my drinking problem.

[Striker goes on to splash Gatorade into the left side of his face… because, y’know, that was his drinking problem… and this happened several times throughout the movie]

Or, the most famous one, Exhibit D:

Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?

Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious

Rumack: I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.

Which brings me to the rub:

Yes, this movie is a spoof.

But what’s not a spoof?

The words you use in your copy.

You want to make your copy crystal clear as the Blue Lake in New Zealand. (Google it.)

Here’s why:

While something might make sense to you, it might seem confusing to the reader.

And confusion, much like boredom, is the death of a sale. (This is also why you should only promote one offer per email, but I’ll dive into that in more detail in the future.)

Want an easy and effective way to make sure your copy isn’t confusing?

Read it out loud.

You’ll instantly spot any errors in your flow or wording choices that could confuse readers.

This is a simple trick. But don’t underestimate its prowess.

It could be the difference between a campaign that flops and one that lines your coffers with copious amounts of cashola.

Speaking of lining your coffers with copious amounts of cashola...

If’n you have a proven offer (yea!)

And you got a list (yea! yea!)

Then book a Discovery call here (ooooweeeee)

And we’ll both flood out our wrists

(aka make oodles of that sweet green if’n you’re not hip to rap lingo)

Or… if you wanna make a quick buck, refer me a new client, and I’ll split my first month’s pay with you if you're on my list.


P.S. Woah, check out this bizarre message my computer just sent me:

“Since you read this far, give them a bonus lesson as your way of thanking them.”

So, sounds like you unlocked a bonus lesson because I don’t wanna upset the robots that be.

Here goes:

(rewinding the tape…)

Or, the most famous one, Exhibit D:

Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?

Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious

Rumack: I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.

Avoid adverbs as much as possible.

They’re like salt. The right amount makes a sentence more delicious. Overkill makes it unbearable.

More often than not, adverbs are a lazy way of writing. There’s almost always better, more visual phrasings to use.

Also, the use of adverbs is a key indicator that you’re being manipulated. (Don’t believe me? Go read any headlines from the mainstream media.)

If’n you’re telling the truth?

You don’t need to use adverbs.

Sum thought for food.

Cya tomorrow.

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