Kel Kelly

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Archive for January, 2011

I’m Not Thrilled You’re Thrilled

Jan. 28th 2011

If PR people were forced to wear an invisible fence-like dog collar and get shocked every time they used the word “thrilled” in a press release quote, there would be very few PR peeps walking the earth who didn’t look like they were jonesing for drugs. The use of the word thrilled is the epitome of laziness, comfort zone and bad word choice. A thrill is something that leaves you with goose bumps and panting from excitement. Last I checked nobody was ever left panting after forming a business partnership, hiring an employee or launching a new product. Well maybe they were if there was some funny business going on, but that certainly wouldn’t get disclosed in a press release. That stuff usually surfaces later when a scandal is leaked to the press. Think: HP CEO Mark Hurd and IBM Heir Apparent Robert Moffat.

In a few rare cases, the word thrill doesn’t do the quote justice. Take for example, Google’s acquisition this week of SayNow. In the release, SayNow co-founders were quoted as saying:

“We are thrilled to announce that we have been acquired by Google.”

Ummmmm….really, dudes? I think a quote that would have more accurately captured how you were feeling would have been something like:

“We are stoked that we are now rich beyond our wildest dreams. Booyah!”

OK, so maybe that language is a bit too edgy for some brands, but the point is dare to be different. Be the thrill police. Don’t use the word thrilled in the press release draft that you give to your client and if they try to edit it in, playfully accuse them of being dull. Seriously. Nobody wants to be dull and some people just need to be pointed to an alternative. offers the following synonyms for “thrilled” when used as an adjective:

“animated, aroused, elated, electrified, fired up, inspired, moved, stirred, touched, worked up.”

Something tells me “aroused” would have been a better way to describe how the founders of SayNow felt when they found out the Google acquisition was finalized.

I’m also a big fan of using Although you always need to weed out a few really offensive search results, here’s what they came back with as an option for the word thrilled:

“excited, happy, ecstatic, stoked, psyched, pumped, elated, overjoyed, anxious, jazzed, joyful, pleased, enthralled, exhilarated, amped, enthused, jubilant, enthusiastic, energized, satisfied.”

There are lots of good options here, if you can get your client to step outside the box and let you add some real energy and originality to the quote.

Clearly Ann Taylor doesn’t like being outside the box and they were so ridiculously thrilled, that they used the word twice when they announced Katie Holmes as the face of Ann Taylor’s Spring 2011 advertising campaign:

“We are thrilled to have Katie as the face of Ann Taylor….” said Christine Beauchamp, President of Ann Taylor Stores.

“I’ve been a fan of Ann Taylor since I was a young girl….I am thrilled to be part of a brand I believe in,” said Holmes.

Really Katie? Ann Taylor gives you goose bumps and leaves you panting from excitement? If that were the case, I’m sure TMZ would have broke that story with a video capturing the moment long before the press release ever hit the wire. Ann leaving Katie panting would have certainly aroused Tom Cruise faster than you can say, “Where’s Oprah’s couch?”

To thrill or not to thrill. Thoughts?

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