“Less is more” copywriting… coming soon to the USA?

Let me be clear: This is not about the 96 oz Big-Gulps full of Mountain Dew. Nor a sandwich where meat is the bread.

It’s about something that I just do not understand: how wordiness and corporate-jargon continue to play a huge role in American copy, while the rest of the world accepts an unavoidable truth: the simpler, the better.

Why I don’t get it is because of two reasons:

  1. Reading requires concentration and effort.
  2. People are reading less.

Regarding the first point- reading isn’t automatic. Your brain has to focus, process the words together and connect it to the context of what you just read in order to understand what’s being said. Did you know the visual and auditory parts of our brain are actually hearing and seeing what we’re reading? Therefore, the writing that is clearer and takes fewer words to convey an idea, the better. If nothing else, isn’t it just more considerate? I don’t want someone taking extra time or energy from me, and neither should you.

And the second point: not a shocker, is it? Along with less sleep and talking to one another, our mobile devices have also steered us towards visual input such as pictures or videos compared with reading. Therefore, more words=less reading.

So why does long-form copy, with its fluff and jargon, still exist?

I think because of one reason: the USA easily has the most debt of any country. It spends, and spends, and spends. Consequently, Americans are more accustomed to constantly being sold things. And so the reasoning is that the more words you can use to sell, the more chance you will sell. Like having five fishing lines in the water vs two. Especially when the fish want to bite.

However, this lifestyle is dying. Younger Americans are no longer being defined by owning possessions like prior generations. They don’t want to constantly be sold stuff at every moment.

Pair this with the fact that they’re reading less and one thing is clear: more and more, every word needs to count.