Apple’s copywriting voodoo (a tip from the iPhone 6s launch)

This week Apple announced a brand new iPhone feature that promises to do away with those grainy, poorly lit selfies.

They call it:

Front-Facing True-Tone Retina Flash

The front camera on my iPhone 5 has always bugged me, so my first thought when I heard the news was “Sweet!”

Then I thought about it for another second, and started to laugh…

Because I realized I'd fallen for an old copywriting ploy.

Want to guess what “Front-Facing True-Tone Retina Flash” REALLY means?

They make your screen flash beige when you snap a photo.

There's a great marketing lesson here:

You can make your features seem more exclusive and valuable by giving them a proprietary-sounding name.

Master copywriter John Carlton does this ALL the time.

He's ads sing the praises of the “Triple Coil Spring” golf swing. Or the “Drop and Pop” technique that'll have you hitting monster tee shots. Or the “devastating ‘pop up' push” fighting move.

Apple's actually done this not once, but 3 times in naming their new flash feature:

“True-Tone” means using yellow light so pasty white guys like me don't look like a cadaver.

“Retina” means high-resolution screen.

And then they combine all three in a grand flourish.

It works!

And this isn't limited to products with physical features.

If you're a service business, you can bundle up common jobs and name the bundles.

If you're a coach or a consultant, formalize your intake process and label it—you might even be able to charge for it…

Go forth and name things!

P.S. This flash idea isn't even new. There's an app in the App Store that I can use to do the same thing with my iPhone 5. And I'm sure it's been standard in Android apps for 4+ years…

Mike Mertsock - September 17, 2015

Nice article. I noticed this during the product launch. Speaking of the flash idea not being new: even Apple has had this feature for years in the Photo Booth app for OS X 🙂

    Josh Earl - September 17, 2015

    Good call! I totally forgot about that, but I’ve seen it myself.

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