The Grumpy Grammarian

Less Sugar, Less Bottles - How SodaStream's Typo Earned $81 Million

The second half of that tagline is wrong. It should say “fewer bottles” because bottles can be counted. But that would not have been as fun. The alliteration helps with memorability, and it still gets across the idea. (Hint: it’s what makes this tagline compelling.)

Just how successful was this tagline with a grammar mistake?

Its revenue in Western Europe (the company’s most lucrative region) increased from $74.4 million in its second quarter of 2016 to $81.6 million the following year.

Now that’s a revenue increase as memorable as Mariah Carey’s song “All I want for Christmas is you.” (I hope that earworm doesn’t get stuck in your head.)

How To Make Your Copy Sound Like The Next Multi-Platinum Hit Song.

Alliteration is a writing technique that uses a series of words that all start with the same sound. The words don’t have to start with the same letter, but they must have the same sound.

For example: fun and phone are alliterative. Cat and chair aren’t.

Alliteration can give your writing a lyrical sound that makes it funnier.

Consider these two sentences:

  • Fred watched the crowd of attractive women on the beach.
  • Bert ogled the bevy of beautiful babes on the beach.

I wouldn’t write that last sentence, but it does sound funnier than the first one.

Alliteration is a fun way to make your content memorable. I notice writers often use alliteration in names. Severus Snape, Bilbo Baggins, and Fred Flintstone come to mind.

Alliteration also works well when you write a list of items. For example, suppose you are listing a series of names. You might choose names that all start with the same sound, like Charlie, Charlotte, and Chewbacca.

The key is to make sure when you choose your words, your writing makes sense. You don’t want to be alliterative at the expense of clarity.

Now go take a Q-Tip to your ears. I know you’re still humming that Mariah Carey song.