Use wordplay for style and impact

wordplay“If you’re not going to even try to be best-in-class at something, well what’s the point?”

Rarely is Clarkson quoted in my trade. But in summing up the perfunctory mid-market car in front of him, he made a good point about the emotional pull of invention and creativity. Measureable on the P&L? No. Strictly necessary? Perhaps not.

But if our craft is to convey a message with style and impact, then taking the time to ply our wordcraft can give our message legs and help engage and delight our audience.

Here’s one of my favourite examples from last year, which shows that there’s room for fabulous wordplay in a 50-word album review.

“The back-to-basics album is a sign of stagnation for many bands, but Franz Ferdinand’s ‘basics’ are cut from sharper threads than most bands. Hence, ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ finds their form as crisp as their shirts, their songs as tight as their trousers, and their thrust still saucier than a rutting dog.”

The reviewer didn’t settle for ordinary; instead deploying alliteration, analogy, and three-play in a fitting way.