The advertising business is rife with hyperbole. It’s everywhere.

Our products are always the best, the cheapest, the easiest to use. Our employees are smartest, the friendliest, the most responsive. Our companies are the most successful, the most generous, the most reputable.

All this self-boasting … it really makes you appreciate the long-time “We Try Harder” advertising slogan in which Avis admitted to being second to Hertz – or was it the other way around?

I guess there is nothing wrong with all this hype. People have come to expect it in advertising … that is to say they pay no attention to it.

But sometimes it can backfire on you …

We have a coffee shop nearby that won’t sell you a small coffee. Nope, it’s just Large, Extra Large and Jumbo.

Which is fine until someone orders a Large Coffee (without looking at the menu) and gets their smallest serving.

In this case, everyone loses. The customer doesn’t get what he is hoping is the largest coffee on the menu and the coffee shop makes a smaller sale.

Many restaurants use this type of hyperbole to convey the fact that they offer generous portions. But customers aren’t fooled by it – never have been. If your portions are generous, word will get out.
In the meantime, use words that are familiar to your customers. Words like Small, Medium and Large are just fine.


Written by Bob McCarthy

This article may be reprinted without permission as long as the article includes the following credit: Bob McCarthy is a freelance copywriter and consultant specializing in direct marketing and lead generation. His website is He can be reached at 508-473-8643 or by email at

About Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and copywriter with a focus on direct mail, email and digital marketing. Bob works with B2B, B2C and Non-Profit clients. You can download his free ebook, "Making Snail Mail Work: 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy."