There is no way that any business could possibly anticipate all of my needs, so why do so many ads promise they can?

When we hear cliches (and believe me, “For all your ____ needs” is the worst kind of adspeak) our minds simply switch off; we ignore them. Completely! The words vanish like steam rising from a kettle.

For all my real estate needs. Really? I want to buy Neptune. For all my florist needs. Well, I need a Rose Bowl Parade float. For all my helicopter needs. Seriously?

No kidding, there was an ad running in Canada recently for a helicopter operation. It’s actually not a bad ad until the dreaded final line in the 60 second commercial: “For all your helicopter needs. Call…”

Do they really anticipate a helicopter consumer hearing their ad and thinking, “Well, I’m interested in helicopter services, but I’m not sure XYZ Company can handle all my needs. Wait just a minute… they say they can. That’s a relief. I’ll call them after all!”

Here’s a hint. If it’s something your competitor could also say, then it does nothing to move the consumer closer to choosing you. Say something else, something salient.

Upon hearing the ad on the very radio station I used to own, I wrote to the sales rep who used to work for me. “For all your helicopter needs. Are you f*#king kidding me? Did you write that just to check if I was still listening?”

He wrote back, “OMG, I’m so happy you’re still listening, but embarrassed that you heard it. It’s a national ad and I cringe every time I hear it too. I have never heard a more ridiculous use of that line in my life and I thought of you as soon as I heard it. So awful.”

A couple of days later there was a prison escape where the guys used a helicopter for their getaway.

Who knew, “For all your helicopter needs,” had so many possibilities!

If your advertising includes weak messages like this, eliminate, slash, or destroy them immediately. You’re paying for every second that ad runs. Don’t waste valuable media time on something as stupid and pandering as a thoughtless cliche.

It really means your copywriter has nothing else to say, but still hasn’t hit the sixty-second mark. It’s lazy work and you deserve better.

John Lennon spoke of songwriting and I paraphrase: “In a 2 and a half minute song, there’s no time to waste a single word.”

In a 30 second or 1 minute commercial there’s even less time to waste. Make every word matter.