Is any other copywriter constantly told that they must dumb down their headlines?

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You overwrite, OP.

For example, a cleaner version of your post would be "are other copywriters told to dumb down headlines?"

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No flaming intended.

Writing is an economical craft. The extra verbiage above does not add to voice, context, or style. It's fluff.

Telling a CW to dumb down their headlines implies writing is excessive or not a clear, accessible get. Saw the former in your post and answered your question as such.

Sorry if I'm being too direct. We've all been there, and it's a struggle that never goes away. Yay writing!

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“You’re too clever by a half.” It’s infuriating.

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No I love hearing your thoughts! I think you're right. Great food for thought.

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"That's a writers line. I don't know if they'd get it."

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Absolutely...and no, I'm not talking about "make it simpler." I'm talking about dead-on-the-brief, economical lines with a relevant double or triple entendre. Sometimes you gotta wonder why the client even needs writers.

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Some CDs don’t know the difference between brevity and stupidity.

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Yep

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Best (non-infuriating) version of this I've been given is to pass it through the Family Feud filter.

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I wouldn’t say “dumb down” but “water down” yeeeesssssallthedamntime

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A CD that tells you to “dumb down” your writing is an idiot who has no respect for the intelligence of your audience. I had an ECD once who assumed, because the audience was between the Coasts, our writing needed to be simplified, because people “out there” aren’t as educated. Not only was he a moron, he kept forgetting I’m from the Midwest.

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Best writers are the ones who are not afraid to cut and trim their own lines. Short and sweet.

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Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we just let copywriters lose. You know instead of saying I wish I could stay in bed and write my novel we could really open up and I’m staying in bed all day to write.

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Not in that terminology, but yeah

No, wtf feedback is that?

All the time

Touché Senior cw 3. I'll pose one question: why bother studying economist headlines?

I don't think it has anything to do with brevity. I've received similar feedback on 3-word-long headlines. It's more about making sure the audience gets the joke. And more often than we'd like, either the client, or accounts, or even the CDs underestimate the public's intelligence.

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