Word Forge

Is it ever ok to use ‘we’ in marketing copy?

If you’ve ever read any of the gazillion books on copywriting you’ll find they tend to treat the word ‘we’ as if it should have a bell round its neck. But just sometimes, it really is ok to ‘we’ everywhere.

Before I incur the wrath of fellow copywriters, the rule of thumb is still the rule of thumb: ‘we’ (in the sense that it refers to the business that’s doing the talking) is overused, plaguing copy and disengaging readers.

The point is this: a customer doesn’t care about you, the writer or business owner. They care about what’s in it for them. So when you write “We’re proud”, “we’ve launched a new product” or “we’ve developed a swanky new service” the shutters come down and people stop listening.

But when you say “you can save time, money, heartache etc” things are more effective.

Even better is when ‘you’ is used in a conversational, rapport building way. “You only need look at the houses in your street to see XY paint hard at work,” is so much more effective than “We make really good paint,” because it works that much harder to engage.

‘You’ draws people in. It’s a casual chat. A friendly welcome. And that’s why copywriters use ‘you’ more than ‘we’.


‘We’ isn’t always about me, me, me is it? When David Cameron says “We’re all in this together” he’s not talking about himself or even his party – he means all of us.

Similarly, if you were to advertise your product as something that would “change the way we feel about energy – and change the amount we all pay” then the context of the ‘we’ tells us that we really mean everyone, you and me. All in it together. For social enterprises, charities and events that can be a powerful tool.

‘We’ is still prime suspect number 1 in putting copy and its readership at arm’s length from each other. But just sometimes, depending on context, ‘we’ can be the most engaging word of all.

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