klēˈSHā kli-,kli-,ˈklēˌSHā/


a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.

“the old cliché “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.”


platitude, hackneyed phrase, commonplace, banality, old saying, maxim, truism, stock phrase, trite phrase;

I don’t care who you are. Nobody wants to be considered trite, writing using stock phrase or lacking an original thought.

John O’Toole, former President of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, once said,

With executing advertising, it’s best to think of yourself as an uninvited guest in the living room of a prospect who has the magical power to make you disappear instantly.

How true!

Using clichés and the same marketing content as everyone else is not the way to impress prospects,  but being creative and original is hard. It takes time to write unique and inspiring copy. For many companies time = money so many writers resort to the use of clichéd writing to save the client time and keep within a budget.

Cliches particularly become a problem, when they’re so overused that they end up losing all meaning entirely. When you read or hear something over and over again, guess what happens? It simply becomes noise, background chatter that you stop hearing or nonsense words you skip over.  If you’re lucky an overused cliché becomes white noise, in the worst case it drives your readers bonkers, forces them to turn off the computer or throw your well-designed marketing material in the air and never read another word you write.

You want to turn prospects into customers with your witty marketing and writing skills, not turn them off completely with worn-out words and stale headings and phrases.

Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but these phrases cause me to roll my eyes and chuck whatever it is I’m reading or hit the back button on my computer. Let’s make a pact, okay? Let’s stop using them.  I’m in, if you are.

1)      Best-of-breed

What are we, puppies competing in a dog show? Is it really necessary to shout out, “I’m so great – look at me”? Besides, it sounds self-important and all full of yourself.

2)      Rock stars

It makes me picture a staff of tattooed, leather-panted hipsters. The entire business world seems to be brimming with “rock stars.” We have technology rock stars, finance rock stars, and creative rock stars. I’ve even seen ads looking for administrative assistant rock stars. I don’t know about you, but nothing screams ‘uncool’ as someone trying too hard to be cool.

3)    One stop shop

According to Wikipedia, the term ‘one-stop shop’ originated in the late 1920s to describe stores that offer multiple products or needs in one spot for convenience sake. While in the 1920s this may have been a novelty, today – not so much.  Use this word now and you sound like someone without a clear vision. Instead, be specific in your writing.  Tell the reader what they can expect to find in your shop.

4)    Integrated solutions

To me, you might as well write we do ‘blah, blah, blah’.  I was unsure of the exact definition so I Googled, “integrated solutions definition.” Only one link came up and when I clicked on it, I got the message Page Does Not Exist.  ‘Nuff said.

5)    Ninja

This sounds even dumber than a rock star.  The definition of a ninja is a member of a feudal Japanese society of mercenary agents, highly trained in martial arts and stealth (ninjutsu) who were hired for cover purposes ranging from espionage to sabotage and assassination.  Wow, sounds like a fun co-worker and somebody I’d like to share an office with.  How about you?

Let’s ban together and avoid the use of corporate cliches. I can’t say it any better than a reader’s post on Writer’s Digest, “Cliches are a dime a dozen, so I will be hard-pressed to come with a few that are as good as gold.”