What does that make you think?
It’s a phrase that Donald Trump uses at every opportunity to describe his presidential election opponent.
Without any hard evidence to back it up.
He throws vague accusations and innuendos around about Hillary Clinton’s political past.
Such as using a private email server (something she has been called ‘careless’ over by the FBI, but for which she hasn’t faced any charges).
And he keeps calling her ‘crooked’.
Of course, his supporters lap it up.
Because they want to believe she’s a crook.
But what about the undecided voters?
Surely they’ll see through his tactics.
After all, the facts speak for themselves.
Except, of course, they don’t.
In advertising, however, the facts have to speak for themselves.
You want to say something about an organisation or a product?
Then, as a copywriter, you’d better check your facts.
Again and again.
Because your words will come under intense scrutiny.
In the past, advertising standards weren’t so stringent.
And there are many slogans that would now be completely unjustifiable.
“A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play” even though it’s full of sugar and fat.
Yes, a beer that was believed to be good for you. And at one time, was actually RECOMMENDED for pregnant women.
Those cigarettes really soothed your throat. Apparently.
You get the idea.
Then people realised that making these unjustified claims was bad for advertisers, their clients and their customers.
So they brought in regulations that meant you don’t see advertisers making such outrageous claims any more.
Unless they’re so outrageous as to be ridiculous.
(Note the spelling of ‘wiings’. Although it didn’t stop them being successfully sued for not giving a customer wings.)
The thing is, a lot of people believed these advertising claims for years.
Not because they were patently true.
But because the claims were repeated, unchallenged, many times a day, every day.
And the more you repeat a claim, the more believable it becomes.
Of course, it couldn’t happen nowadays.
But in US politics?
Apparently, it can.
Which I think is what’s really crooked.