Sometimes, tongue-in-cheek web copy works really well. Other times, when not viewed in context with other content, it just makes you go ‘yuck’.
Deciding I didn’t want to receive more HubSpot emails, I clicked ‘unsubscribe’ and was taken to the window in the image above.
Leaving aside all the passive language for now (who noted my request — internet elves?), the sentence that made me screw up my face in a that’s-a-bit-much way was:
“We already miss how close we used to be.”
Not really, I thought. That’s why I’m unsubscribing. You’re trying too hard to be funny. I’m leaving now, bye.
And that’s the problem. Quickly scanning the page for confirmation that I wasn’t going to get more emails from HubSpot, I saw the sentence on its own. It was in a different tone to the rest of the text on the page.
I was going to close the page (hey, I’d just unsubscribed; I didn’t want to hang around), but then thought to watch the video. It’s really quite funny, communicates a sense of humour and the sentence goes well with it.
If you’re going to use witty prose, use it carefully so that it’s taken as you want it to be.
- Make sure the tone is consistent across the text. Talking in a passive, formal way and then, in the next breath, making a joke just doesn’t work well.
- Can the wording stand alone or must it be viewed alongside the video? The two things together are amusing; the sentence alone, not great.
- Is this the right place to do this? I didn’t want to hear from HubSpot anymore; I wanted to get on with stuff, not stay to watch a video.
- Will everyone get the joke? Will it be lost on a global audience? Am I risking alienating people?
What do you think? Do you love the page and wouldn’t change a thing, or is there anything else you’d tweak too?