Bad Copywriting – Just hire a copywriter next time!

I read junk mail avidly – looking for good copywriting ideas to steal (er herm!) and bad examples to laugh at. One of the latter arrived recently. I am not going to name-and-shame, but I am going to share some of the disaster with you.  The flyer is for a garden maintenance service, and after the name, it states:

tree specialist

My work is words, so I will resist commenting on the design, and instead point out the mish-mash of singular and plural, the missing full stops, and the need for an Oxford Comma after the first “pruned”. The fruit trees section is superfluous because he has already mentioned “all kinds of tree”.

What’s next?


work done

Ah. . . that’s good. Some companies, you know, take pride in not doing what the customer wants. (Actually, this could be true). I think using “your” rather than “customer’s” would be better, but really, delete this section – it’s just nonsense.

The next part is rather random.

fence coat

Why is this here? I presume he also offers this service, but it doesn’t say so.  It needs to be clearer that this is also available, and put into a separate section, not plonked right after tree pruning without explanation. Defense with an s is American, by the way.

Now my favourite part. Are tree pruning estimates the new Emergency Service?

call now

My fingers are twitching to pick up that phone at 4am.  Seriously, tree-man, think about what your words are saying!  I am glad to see that he removes all refuse – not just his own.

The next part gives three different telephone numbers – but no address, email, or website.  One of the numbers is stuck over the original text, which promised to “call you within the next seven days.”  Huh?  What about my free estimate day or night?  Who wants to wait seven days when there are trees to be pruned? It’s probably best that this was covered over.

There is no legal requirement  to put the company address on a flyer, but it’s a silly omission.   A real address is reassuring.  A copywriter knows about things like this.

And to finish, some more gobbledy-gook.


I know I have been very mean. In truth, I wish him well in his endeavours.  He may be a fabulous gardener and there is no need for him to be a word pedant like me. However, first impressions count, and this first impression has made me laugh (good) but also think that he may be incompetent (unfair, but there you go).

For just a few pounds, this leaflet could have been so much better, and I may have offered him some business.  But, then I would have needed a different Blog topic, so it’s an ill wind.

A decent copywriter is not a luxury, she’s a necessity.

If this is your leaflet by the way, get in touch and I will rewrite it for you at no charge.


About the author: Joanna Brown

joanna brown

Joanna is a business copywriter who specialises in creating web content that gets companies communicating better. You can find her at The Word Hen or on Twitter as @TheWordHen.

Click here to view the original post by Joanna Brown

1 reply
  1. Rich Haylock
    Rich Haylock says:

    Yee-ouch Joanna! Admittedly, it is bad… but perhaps not even uncommonly bad. I, too, would choose a ‘tree surgeon’ with a well-written, mistake-free flyer over this chap. But perhaps that’s our problem… I wonder how much his business is actually suffering because of it? (I hope lots.)

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