There are words I think oughta be outlawed in marketing. Words like:
Best. Greatest. Number One. Finest.
In essence, I'm rallying against any excessive hyperbolic term that, in these enlightened times, actually works AGAINST the product/service/company/person being marketed.
To drive home this point, I present this photograph of the Mui Garden Restaurant in Vancouver, taken by Francisco Ortiz (who passed away suddenly and way too young earlier this month):
The statement "Our Curry is the Best in The World" would be met with a "yeah right," ridiculed and ultimately ignored (particularly in Vancouver, not exactly renowned as the universal focal point of Indian cuisine). But the addition of the off-balancing adverb "probably" makes what would be conceived as forgettable stupidity into a conversation-starter...and most "probably" a lure through the doors.
A little truth goes a long, long way (n'est-ce pas, Gary King?). So does some humility. And a sense of humor. That's what makes this work. These days, cynicism and a shrewd marketplace has rendered over-hype counterproductive. That's why one of 2007's top bestsellers was a slim volume simply entitled "On Bullshit" (from Princeton University Press, no less!). We won't get fooled again.
All this reminds me of the following tell-tale cartoon from a MAD Magazine piece on Pizza. While published a half-century ago (!!), it shows the power of truth and humility. And shows that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.