The Power of Made-Up Crap

3 April, 2012

Copywriting, Language

Wonderful things can come when you’re able to spin words to imply something grand or eloquent or expensive or priceless or secretive or magical….make up crap (essentially)…create new words and phrases that even lodge themselves in our daily language.

Neologism: “a new word, meaning, usage, or phrase” and/or “the introduction or use of new words or new senses of existing words.” (

The powerful purpose of using a neologism or made up words is to attract and hold someone’s attention or to create an emotional hook or appeal. Some neologism examples:

  • In the late 1990s a friend introduced me to a new search engine. I’m quite confident I wasn’t the only one uttering, “What the hell is a ‘Google’?” That made up crapola name is now synonymous with one of the most powerful, nimble, and forward-thinking companies in the world. We don’t simply search for things online…we ‘google’ them.
  • And what about “Wikipedia”? Wiki+encyclopedia…
  • The book title, Catch-22, (Heller) is now a common neologism in our language lexicon.
  • Check out the Urban Dictionary — THE compendium of colorful made up words and phraseology, a lot of it in use then and now.
  • The “Secret $200 Million Retirement Blueprint” is a popular sales copy promotion currently in circulation. The “blueprint” is really a neologism the copy writer made up as a big emotional appeal. What it this secret blueprint? Penny stocks. Very powerfully used technique in this space.
  • How about the “The TED Spread”? This investment wordplay has been used to the advantage of a few sales copywriters who’ve leveraged it as a “little known strategy” or investment technique.
  • How about Google’s infamous algorithm updates and catchy naming conventions? Panda being the most current. Past well-known algorithm change-ups have included Florida and Bourbon. And as this detailed infographic of Google Algorithm History shows, others have been lovingly named “Jagger,” “Gilligan,” and “Brandy.”

Repeat three times: “neologism, neologism, neologism.” Powerful stuff when cleverly applied to all kinds of writing.








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