There’s nothing wrong with using idioms – even the most premium and respected brands have a few in their arsenal (see Net-A-Porter, below). But because these kinds of phrases often have a humorous edge, brands can be heavy-handed with them – and end up losing the unique slant they were angling for.
1. Spring into action
Why it’s wrong: consumers are always ready for action. Using this idiom makes it sound like your brand isn’t shoppable enough – that people don’t normally take an interest, and that they need a reason (in this case, something as banal as a change in season) to give you a go.
Try instead: to capitalise on feelings of spring spontaneity – the urge to makeover the house, try a new style, book a holiday on a whim etc.
2. Put a spring in your step
Why it’s wrong: the power of idioms is in the wordplay – and there aren’t many synonyms for ‘spring’, which means this phrase has to riff on the word ‘step’. Aside from charity marathons and shoe campaigns, the uses look limited – and then there’s the dated nature of the language that makes the phrase seem like something from a different decade.
Try instead: to capture the excitement of spring, and that holidays and warm weather are imminent.
3. The joys of spring
Why it’s wrong: many products (and arguably, services) can’t reasonably capture ‘the joys of spring’ – this is more a phrase suited to describing good weather, scenic landscapes and fun experiences. Again, the language itself seems dated – to the extent that even brands with strong heritage, like Liberty, would struggle to pioneer this idiom in a campaign.
Try instead: to tap into the feelings of freedom and appreciation that this phrase hints at.
The moral of the story? When it comes to any kind of advertising, originality is always best.