I just spent some time with a Russian friend of mine who hadn't been home in over 20 years. She just returned from a two-week visit to Moscow.
She was surprised how things had changed. She was especially struck by the fact that people in Moscow restaurants don't seem to drink nearly as heavily as the did in the past.
The standard assumption most people make about Russians is that they are heavy drinkers. That they would just as soon toss back a jigger of vodka as blink their eyes. Even Russians, like my friend, assume this, based on behavior they have observed in the past.
How many assumptions are you carrying around about things that were so but no longer are?
When you're writing copy, you need to come butt-up-against the current experienced reality of the people you are writing to. And reflect that reality as the context for your copy.
So, if for some reason, you were writing to a target audience of Moscow restaurant-goers...
... and you made off-handed reference to the heavy drinking that occurs at dinner...
... they would get the immediate impression that you have no idea what you're talking about.
(If, that is, what my friend observed is the case across-the-board, which I assume it is. Again, a somewhat risky assumption - but, she spent time with relatives who live in Moscow and I'm guessing she probably talked to them about what she observed, and they confirmed it's a new trend.)
Now, your target market may not be restaurant-goers living in Moscow. Fine.
But are you relying on clichés or outmoded realities to create rapport and develop credibility with your prospects?
If so, your copy might pack as much punch as... an empty shot glass.
So, check it out. Talk to people who are in your market and living today's realities, today. Sober, systematic research is one of the secret weapons of all the best copywriters I know.
And it's yours to share. Just add a little legwork, elbow grease... and stir.
Have a good (and informative) weekend.
Publisher, World Copywriting Newsletter