November 29, 2008
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Bed, Bath, Linens, Things, Beyond, and More!

“And more!” is lazy marketing. Be specific, be passionate, and make people care.

Is there a phrase more ubiquitous and less meaningful than:

… and more!

On car trips my wife and I play a game with road signs that offer “and more” or “and beyond” or “etc.” We replace the ambiguous suffix with whatever nouns we want:

Bed, Bath, Bears, and more!

Bed, Bath, Bears, and more!

Bed, Bath, and Robots!
Bed, Bath, and Ratatouille!
Bed, Bath, and Velociraptors!

(Gee don’t our road trips sound like buckets-o-fun?)

I used to think “and more” was a waste of words, but harmless. I was wrong.

First of all, most uses of “and more” aren’t even true. Pumpkins and More is a great website about pumpkins… and nothing else. So why say “and more?” Instead of wasting time with a useless, incorrect phrase, why not punch up the enthusiasm? Everything Pumpkin. Pumpkins Supreme. Nothin’ but Pumpkin. Pumpkin Lovers. When I need information about pumpkins, I want someone fully committed to pumpkindom!

The German Way and More informs curious English-speakers about the life and culture of German-speakers. Terrific, how about The German Way Explained or The German Way in English?

Law and More is a great blog by and for lawyers… and no one else. Cooking and More is about cooking, only.

Elves and More is about distributing bikes to needy kids in Houston. Huh?

Tourism and More is about Tourism and Security. “Security,” not “more.” It’s even on their company shield. (Ooo, we need a crest. Seriously, Tracy are you listening?)

Just Riddles and More. I hope that’s supposed to be a joke.

Rain barrels and More is about… just rain barrels! It’s awesome that there’s a company that just makes rain barrels. How much more do they know about rain barrels than anyone else? How many stories could they tell? Look how the phrase “and more” dilutes this otherwise incredible message. Who cares about “and more”—why are they dousing this singular passion with “and more?” I want to buy a rain barrel from passionate rain barrel people!

But sometimes there is more. Bed, Bath, and Beyond really does have stuff other than bed stuff and bath stuff. So “and Beyond” is informative. The specific items listed on the sign will attract some people, but what about those it doesn’t entice? “Oh sure you don’t find bed or bath products appealing, but we have more! Interested now?”

Nah, I don’t buy it. The person who is completely uninterested in bed and bath products is unlikely to be interested in air fresheners and cutlery. Or at least, just saying “and beyond” won’t stir them into action.

In the end, “and more” is a weak declaration that your message is incomplete. Surely it’s possible to convey the purpose of your business in a phrase without such ambiguity. Now I grant you the alluring advantage of alliteration in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, so perhaps they get a pass, but non-committal phrases don’t get me interested, don’t get me excited, and don’t get me in the door.

So forget about “more.” Just say what you are. Own it. Make sure Carol gets it and the rest will follow.

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