Copywriting · Advertising

Can I have a show of hands if word "slave" in advertising about Freedom of choice is offensive?

Anonymous

January 10th, 2016

Can I have a show of hands if word "slave" in advertising about Freedom of choice is offensive? 

Like: Don't be a slave to your old cable company, choose freedom and signup with XYZ satellite.

Shobhit Verma

January 10th, 2016

My 2 cents. Your leading statement has to be positive
"Choose freedom and signup with XYZ satellite. We treat you like you treat yourself."
Instead of focusing on the negative of other companies, I would focus on why our company is better than them. 
I learned that even though messages that have elements of fear can be powerful, they don't necessarily translate to sales. People feel more comfortable in spending the money when they feel positive.
Look at all life insurance ads, nothing is about death and what could happen to your family if you don't have life insurance. They are all about the positive message that someone is there to depend on even if you are not there.

Max Rosenthal Strategic Sales Professional Harnessing Tactical Fortitude To Capture New Business

January 11th, 2016

if you want to evoke the feeling of 'slave' but perhaps are concerned with the mental imagery, does something like 'prisoner', 'hostage' or 'captive' work?

And the word 'shackles' as in 'break the shackles of 

Feel like a prisoner to your cable company? Break the shackles, choose freedom and 
Being held hostage by your cable company
Prisoner to your cable company

Adam Crabtree Founder, Strollbar

January 10th, 2016

First, if freedom implies choice, slavery implies the absence of choice. Hence, making a choice to transition out of slavery into freedom sounds contradictory. So, on logical grounds, your slogan sounds a bit off.


On historical grounds, the two words "slave" and "freedom" should be treated very carefully when juxtaposed in the way they are in your slogan. It may trigger, in many American readers at least, the collective memory of an atrocious practice. You don’t want that.


On creative grounds, the slogan just falls flat.

Myra Jolivet Vice President of Public Affairs at MLSListings, Inc.

April 5th, 2016

Generally, if you have to ask; there's a reason.  Why create an opportunity to be misunderstood? I say, "yes."  I'd ditch the word. 

Robert Tolmach Entrepreneur and Social Entrepreneur

January 10th, 2016

Some will see you as trivializing slavery. No cable company contract is comparable to that societal evil, which persists today in many parts of the world. I would advise you not go there.. 

Ravi Kiran Trade Show SaaS Company Founder, Ex Advg CEO, Animal and People Lover @ravitwo

January 11th, 2016

Advertising [line + image/video] is the body and face of your company. How you want to dress up is up to you, there is no one absolute right or wrong. This is why your words and tone must represent who you are.

Of course, words and images have different meaning in different contexts and you cannot insult your prospects and customers. Which is why all the people who have answered your question are right in their own way, even when the answers may appear contradictory.

I live far away from the USA, so 'slave' as a word is a bit intellectual to me. In my society the word used to be 'bonded labour'. If your target audience is educated and mature, they are likely to read 'negative' words metaphorically, rather than literally.

My 3c.

U.S. Rivera @UZSmalls

January 10th, 2016

Yeah, offensive. 

Max Avroutski

January 10th, 2016

There are cable companies that are universally hated because they are monopolies in some areas. And they make you wait for installation guy which never shows up on time. 
Almost all counties had slaves at one item or another, using "slave" in suggestive way of improper treatment, I think is ok. Jews were slaves in Egypt, as a Jewish person I am not at all bothered by word "slave". There are so many phrases that have "slave", "slaving" in them.

But to PC police, What one or two word synonym would work as a replacement of "slave" in cases like that ?

Gopi Mattel Director, Chennai Area at The Founder Institute

January 10th, 2016

It is a strong word. Will definitely get attention and a substantial amount of negative attention. What emotion do you want to leave in the audience's mind?

David Levy Innovation and Product Development Executive

April 6th, 2016

In your example, "slave" doesn't seem to capture what you're trying to say. The customer is not actually performing a service for the cable company. Nor is the customer owned, or even controlled by, the cable company, as proved by the fact they can switch to yours. So, I just think it's a poor use of the word.

AND, by using the word in this inaccurate way you ARE demeaning people who were (or still are) actual slaves.

I think Myra gave good advice. If you need to ask whether something crosses a line.... the mere fact you're asking means the answer is probably "yes."