Good Cop(y), Bad Cop(y) – Let’s Make the World Safe for…

Ready to go on a mission to save the world? AND get your name “in lights”? PLUS win a genuine Early to Rise hat and T-shirt?

Good, because I’m looking for some volunteers. Now mind you, I’m not talking about stopping global warming, ending the war, or turning “green.”

I just want to make the world safe for… readers. Yes, it’s time to put an end to The Plague of Bad Copy that threatens the planet.

Take a ride around your town and you’ll see it on signs everywhere you turn. Self-absorbed… inner-directed… and completely without benefit to the reader.

Here’s an example of one I saw just the other day outside a local strip mall:


“Tenants open”? Why should I care about “tenants”?

Obviously the mall owners created this sign to appease their renters…

But what they really should be doing is appeasing their “tenants'” customers. You and me.

Wouldn’t something like this be more likely to attract shoppers:

“Friendly Shops Open While We’re Sprucing Up!”

I bet you can come up with even better suggestions.

By the way, here’s one of my favorite examples of a GOOD store sign. I came across it outside Gray’s Papaya in New York City a few years ago:

“OUR HOT DOG – The Thunderous Pop When You Bite Into It – The Saline Tang of the Pink Flesh!!… Oh! YES! (Please – I’m Getting Hungry Already!)”

Now that’s got some appeal, don’t you think? It’s almost… erotic, dare I say.

A bit more inviting than “All Tenants Open During Construction.”

Okay. So here’s what to do right now.

Think about that sign outside the strip mall that’s under construction and see if you can come up with better copy for it.

Then post your entry on my blog here. Next week, I’ll ask my readers to vote, and the winner gets their name in lights and a genuine Early to Rise hat and T-shirt with our compliments.

Sure, we can’t expect every retailer and landlord to be a professional copywriter. But why not lend them a hand – and have a little fun at the same time? So I’ve got another idea.

Here’s what I propose…

Send me a digital photo of the worst copy you can find. I’ll post it on my blog and ask for better alternatives. Then we’ll take another vote, and maybe even send a copy of the winning entry to the offending “author” if we can track them down.

E-mail your “bad-copy” photo to me at

Charlie Byrne

Charlie Byrne is a former Senior Copywriter and Editorial Director for Early to Rise. Charlie spent the earlier part of his business career as a systems analyst, project manager and consultant in New York City for Fortune 100 companies including Philip Morris, Digital Equipment, and Citicorp as well as New York University and Columbia University. He then spent over ten years at Reuters Ltd and Interealty Corp designing and implementing financial, real estate and news information services. In 2003, he joined Early to Rise as a senior editor and copywriter. Since then he has helped publish over 1000 editions of ETR, resulting in gross revenues of well over $25 million. He has also produced dozens of winning sales letters and promotions, including two that brought in over $200,000 in under 24 hours, another two that have grossed over $1 million each, and a single sales letter that sold 25 units of a $10,000 product.