VTF: Value, Pride, Focus – Stop ”Fuck”, assert yourself

The fence is the dam

Saying “Fuck” is hip. The swear words fly around your ears in marketing and communication. At Heartson Wijn we are for a new trend in Copywriting. “Don’t lose yourself in the naughty form, but conquer your audience with quality content.

In the 1990s Ice-T was the first hip-hop artist to write a book. “The Ice opinion – Who gives a fuck,” was the title. I was then in the first year of school and this sounding name was put on my English literature list 11 years later. It was quite a nice written book, full of insights into ghetto life and the art of rap (“The art of shit talking”, according to its chapter title). It was abundantly clear that Ice-T deliberately used swear words to attract attention. Anyway, in his circles in South Central, Los Angeles, it was perfectly normal to talk to each other like this. He had also been using this vocabulary in his music for years, so this book title was a logical sequel. But I admit, that power term was tough between ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and ‘The Cathcher in the Rye’. Nice and rebellious.

We are now a quarter of a century further and to my regret I have to conclude that adolescent rebellion has become the new standard in the country of communication, today. The tirade began with Mark Manson’s popular book: ‘The subtle art of not giving a f*ck‘. Soon it was the fucking fence of the fucking dam and there was a shit-storm of swearing words in book titles. Think of ‘Unfuck yourself’, ‘Fuck it’, ‘Don’t give a fuck’, ‘Get your shit together’, ‘Fokking pressure’, ‘Fuck-it list’ and ‘Fuck Power’.

Well I’m not averse to a power term in its time, but this feels very much like cheap scoring together. Sex sells’ has been the credo for decades, but nowadays it seems that you only catch the eye when you speak coarse language. During ‘Fuck-up nights’ you can tell about your corporate blunders. On television and YouTube, millions of people, including loads of schoolchildren, watch ‘Mindf*ck’ (nice programme, but why the title?). Also in many blogs, articles and columns the swear words are becoming fashionable. The most good writers suddenly jump out of the band. And if they don’t dare to go full steam ahead, they type the abbreviation ‘WTF’ somewhere.

Dear people, what is the fuck all about? Think of something original. Give someone a hit and don’t try to follow the herd. Remember well: a power term is like an exclamation mark. If your message is good enough, you don’t need it at all. Point. That’s why I advocate a new trend for 2019: Value, Pride, Focus. Indeed, WTF, but differently. Value for the customer, pride of the employee, focus on the target group.


Do not lose yourself in the naughty form, but conquer your audience with sound content. Show what positive impact you have on your customers. Share examples, do storytelling, interview target groups and let partners and customers have their say in your company media. If there is a negative impact (think of complaints), dare to tackle it before the eyes of the world. “I got 99 problems, but a complaint ain’t one”. So be a bink by showing what you’re worth, not by showing what tough (foul) language you dare to use.


Employees who make a positive contribution to customer satisfaction are more likely to feel proud. Proud is an important factor within employee advocacy, the current trend whereby companies use their employees as ambassadors, both in internal and external communication. The word ‘pride’ need not be used in communication. The term ‘breeding pride’ certainly not. Usually, sharing real, catchy cases from practice says more than any other superlative. “Keep it real.


Admittedly, a good message alone is not enough. Of course you need the right words, images and means of communication to get him on stage. Focus on the target group is essential. Know for whom you write, talk, photograph, film, animate, etc. If you have the audience in your retina clear, choose the best way to reach the people. Don’t overshadow yourself. Don’t exaggerate too much. Do not adjust. Choose quality over quantity. Or as Ice-T once raped: “It really ain’t how much you say, it’s what you say”.

The difference between hitting the target and missing it without a chance is often in a small word. For example, because the search engine doesn’t index to it, because it doesn’t fit well enough with what you want to say… or because your target group automatically quits that one word. For example, the ‘f-word’ can also attract certain customers enormously, but chase others away hard.

In short, rinse your mouth, choose the right tone, play with the right words and come up with surprisingly the best content your highly honored audience has ever experienced. Then it doesn’t matter if the customers say to themselves: “This is fucking brilliant” or “That’s what those jolly birds did”. Everyone speaks their own language, but with rock-solid content you can reach them all. “Look mama, without swearing words!

Are you looking for your own tone of voice, creative text handles or a dose of head-to-head for your next copy? Welcome to the team of Heartson Wijn. We have an extensive team of Copywriters eager to help you in any circumstance across 10 languages.