You ling, we bling…me Likey…

Thanks for the positive comments for yesterday’s post about Miss Chu (and ERM). Coincidentally, and unbeknown to me, there was an article this week in a magazine called Wish. It’s a free monthly magazine published with The Australian newspaper. Her story is fascinating – read it on her website.

Miss Chu uses Asian English in her communications, such as “You ling, we bling” for home-delivery and “Me Likey” as the icon for Facebook Likes and “Me Hungry” is a headline.

As her biography states: “Like many people who understand and respect the role of humour in society MissChu has decided to use the awful slurs she grew up with and still feels lies just beneath the surface of many interactions with White Australia and turn it into comedic commentary.”

Miss Chu

Though her real mission is to use her fame to highlight the plight of Vietnamese refugees in Australia – read the article here.

Even more coincidence…

Yesterday I also received a personal letter from ERM. This is the electricity mob I mentioned in the same post as Miss Chu. Curiously I suggested they should write a personalised letter, as it would work better than the unaddressed card. Spooky stuff.

Unfortunately the letter is not much better than the card. The company has fallen into a familiar trap of talking about themselves, rather than the benefits for the prospect.

I use reading glasses these days, but did the salutation have to be printed in 24 point font? The letter uses various font sizes, colours and full points after every subheading – a big no-no.

And the brand Nazis have really gotten to it – everything is printed dark blue and orange. The logo and tag line appear to use three different font sizes and two different colours, as well as a full point. As a result it looks like an advertisement dressed up as a letter, which affects its credibility.

ERM letter

One thing you need to be careful with direct mail, is where the letter folds. In this case it folds right along the headline following the salutation, so it is difficult to read.

Even worse is the headline: Isn’t it time you switched to the business-only experts?

The subconscious answer to a question like this is “No, why should I? What’s In It For Me?

A headline needs to include a benefit, or news – something to encourage the reader to continue reading. For example:

Alternate headline: Switch to ERM and in less than 5 minutes you’ll save $hundreds, lock in a competitive rate to avoid price rises – and get a FREE iPad…

The above headline says it’s easy to do, saves you money now and in the future and offers a reward for doing so. It’s far more powerful. You are encouraged to read on…

Like the unaddressed card, the letter focuses on the company not the reader. The best part for the reader is mentioned in the last 3 bullet points. If you want people to believe you, get other people to talk about you – it’s why testimonials are so powerful.

ERM has won a customer service award two years running. Where are the testimonials from customers to reinforce why they won? If I wrote the letter it would be something like:

Dear Name

If you’re like most business owners, you want to keep your costs to a minimum. Now you have a new way to do so. With ERM you can immediately cut your electricity costs and lock in a competitive rate, so there are no surprises in the future.

And if you switch to ERM by <date> we’ll give you a FREE iPad to use in your business or home.

Here’s what Ted Bloke, CEO of Another Company, says about his switch to ERM: “insert copy from Ted and print in italics with quotation marks

And Jose Person, Founder of That Company Over There, says after he switched: “insert copy from Jose and print in italics with quotation marks

It takes less than 5 minutes to switch using our online service –

No exit fees

And unlike ordinary electricity suppliers, if you choose to leave us, ERM does not charge exit fees. It’s just one of the many reasons ERM has been rated No. 1 for service and value by our customers two years running (Utility Market Intelligence Survey*).

Call to action, contact details and signature file

P.S. Remember it takes less than 5 minutes to switch and you get a FREE iPad – but you must switch by <date>

This letter focuses on the prospect. It includes benefits and an offer, with support from existing customers via testimonials and independent research. It could be improved with some editing and layout. I just drafted it quickly for demonstration purposes.

Your copy is the one thing that doesn’t cost a lot to get right, yet it can have an enormous impact on your bottom line. Just because you can type doesn’t make you a copywriter – don’t skimp on your copywriting investment.


Incidentally, do you know why in the US the term “bling” refers to cheap junk jewellery? Firstly it’s not a word, it’s a sound – “bling” – so it’s easy to say. It was created by people who were too stupid to spell “cheap junk jewellery” so they called it “bling” instead – much easier to say and spell.

Me think, maybe not so stupid…


  1. Hi Malcolm

    I really enjoy your (almost daily) shots of adrenalin arriving in my mail box. I always get a twinkle in my eye when you hold up some text as Great and others you fearlessly shoot down in flames. Yesterdays blog certainly got ERM excited enough to instantly respond with more crap.

    But is there a twist in the tail? Have you fallen for the 3 card trick? Have you given them exactly what they wanted or needed?

    I would be ecstatic if you did the same for some of my drivel at these super rates.

    Just wondering

    • Thanks Tony

      I appreciate your comments. I’d like to write daily, but life gets in the way. I don’t think it was a planned move by ERM, as it would take them a while just to lodge the bulk mail. I don’t work for nothing, but if you have one specific thing you want me to look at please email me and I’ll give frank feedback:

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