Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Six Reasons Why You Should Use Numbered Lists In Your Next Business Article

August 23, 2012

Numbered lists! You just can’t write an effective business article today without ’em. Here’s what you get when you put them work for you!

1. Authority. Using a numbered list makes you the Unequivocal Expert on the topic at hand. If you say there are seven reasons why “Booty Call” is a better movie than “Citizen Kane,” then there seven reasons why “Booty Call” is a better movie than “Citizen Kane,” dammit!

2. Brevity. If a reader knows a premise can be explained in, say, six reasons, he/she can plow right through it. The topic could be just about anything. I mean, six lousy reasons is hardly a major time commitment. You’ve had sneezes that lasted longer than that.

3. Navigational efficiency. Using a numbered list provides a consistent set of mileposts that allow the reader to know exactly what kind of progress he/she is making in your article. For example, you are now halfway through.

4. Effectiveness. For better or worse, people read articles with numbered lists. Right? By the way, you’re two-thirds of the way through this one.

5. Comfort. Since virtually all of today’s business advice articles contain numbered lists, your reader will feel relaxed and comfortable with the format. And remember, it’s a short throw from Comfort to Commerce.

6. Vacuousness. When you write an article with a numbered list, you don’t actually have to say anything. Behold the smoking gun!

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Rejected By The New Yorker

June 14, 2010

I recently submitted the following short humor piece, “Someone Working On It,” to The New Yorker for its Shouts and Murmurs section. It was rejected, but thanks to the miracle of blogification, you can read it anyway. Hope you enjoy…

“Someone Working On It”

To: HaywardT@bp.com

From: Bobby.K@brandtacular.com

Subject: Spill containment method branding 3.0

Hey Tony,

Really sorry JUNK SHOT and TOP KILL failed to move the needle, results-wise. Those were killer brands that could have put us both on the map, but hey, what are you gonna do? At least you didn’t get stuck with Containment Dome, which, I don’t need to remind you, was developed prior to your bringing Brandtacular on board.

Whatever. I’ve asked the guys in creative to take another shot at branding the next containment method. Yeah, I know, you haven’t figured out what the hell the next containment method is even going to be yet, but we like to be proactive. (I assume you’ve got someone working on that, right?) What can I tell you, we’re American, it’s in our DNA. (It’s also within our current scope of work—ha!)

So without further ado, here’s Leak Plug Branding Round 3 (Round 4 if you count that lame-ass Containment Dome—KIDDING!). Lots of good stuff here. Let me know what works for you:

BITCH SLAP. Sure, it’s a little aggressive, but it got your attention, didn’t it? Imagine your press conference after this solves the problem (you are working on that, right?), “We went down to the bottom of the gulf, and put a BITCH SLAP on that leak. Now everything aight.” Not only is it a nice follow-up to JS and TK, it takes a bit of the zeitgeist bubbling up around the BP brand right now, and turns it around.

BIG MUDDY SMACKDOWN. Obviously, this has great leverage if you go with another one of those mud methods. Also has nice regional appeal, and awesome licensing opportunities. Imagine the T-shirts! “BIG MUDDY SMACKDOWN—WORKS EVERY TIME!” (Alternate: BIG EASY MUDBUG MOJO.)

CHENEY SHOT. Retro throwback to Old Crankypants himself. “We’re gonna take that oil leak, and shoot that sucker in the face!” Halliburton connection makes it even sweeter.

MONEY SHOT. Will play big with 18-25 year old males. And imagine the possibilities if this one actually works (you do have someone working on that, right?)!

CLEANING UP TRANSOCEAN’S MESS SHOT. Okay, it doesn’t exactly sing, but litigation is coming, and it’s never too soon to start planting the blame seed in the old public consciousness garden.

OBAMA BUMMER. Stops the leak, and thus derails the Marxist agenda of permanently ending offshore drilling. Will play big with the birthers and the Tea Party crowd— hey, conspiracy theorists have to fill their Hummers somewhere!

JIMMY JAMJAM. Not exactly sure what this means, but got a great ring to it. Try it in a sentence. “We gave it the JIMMY JAMJAM.” See? Can always retrofit a definition later.

HIGH PRESSURE ULTRA-DEEP SUBSURFACE DIVERSION VALVE. Gotta be honest with you, not one of my favorites, but want to make sure we cover the spectrum for you. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and will be too dweeby/nerdy/geeky for the average Joe. Could appeal to the flux capacitor niche, but that seems too narrow for the occasion.

THE “XYZ CORPORATION” SOLUTION. Yep, I’m talking about selling naming rights to the operation. Think about the pitch—the once-in-a-lifetime (we hope—ha ha) chance to have your brand name associated with the winning solution to the greatest environmental crisis the Earth has ever seen (you are working on that aspect, right?)…talk about brand value! It would be like having your brand on Superman’s cape. Would have to be a single brand, and it would have to pony up big (Superman ain’t cheap). Also a nice way for you and the shareholders to offset the cost of this catastrophe (oops, poor choice of words—my bad).

There you have it, Tony. I think there are some real winners in there. Just depends on which direction you want to take it.

As I mentioned earlier, all of the above is within our current scope of work, but it also represents the successful completion of this phase of our agreement. I’ve gone ahead and attached an invoice for the remainder of what we’re owed. If you don’t mind, could you go ahead and walk this down to accounting and have them cut us a check toot sweet? Not that we don’t trust you, it’s just that…well…our comptroller is a real nudge for this kind of thing. You understand, right? Great!

Good luck with the leak (you do have someone working on that, right? Sure hope so. We’re good, but we’re not THAT good.).

Besos,

Bobby

PS—Tony, as a friend…get some sleep, you look like hell.