Extreme Wording

We understand that effectively marketing your business is important, and that creating high-impact advertising pieces that won’t land on a regulator’s radar can be challenging. We’re here to help you navigate through what wording to use (and not use)  to capture readers’ attention, show your passion for your business and hopefully prompt readers to call you.

Regulators look at extreme wording as a form of misleading advertising.

One definition of the word “extreme” on Dictionary.com is “going to the utmost or very great lengths in action, habit, opinion, etc.” In advertising, extreme wording is generally defined as using words or phrases that are considered “the most powerful” and that may create an emotional response for the customer. An emotional response could be anything from shock to happiness to despair. A few examples*:

  • Best
  • Biggest
  • Astounding
  • Tremendously
  • Fantastic
  • Terrifying
  • Gigantic
  • Brilliant
  • Miserable

Advertising that uses “shock value” may grab the attention of prospective clients and it’s even more likely to grab the attention of regulators. And when it does, it’s you who might be shocked by the repercussions.  But you can get your message across without using extreme words.

Your best bet? Don’t overdo in your advertising. You don’t need to go to “very great lengths” to be convincing.

Here are a few examples of phrasing that might catch a regulator’s eye—and how you can soften them to avoid the red flags:

Extreme version using: Tremendously
Your retirement income will grow tremendously when you include life insurance in your retirement strategy.

Compliant version:
Life insurance may help you optimize your income benefits as you plan for retirement.

Extreme version using: Fantastic
There are many fantastic life insurance options you can choose from in order to diversify your retirement strategy.

Compliant version:
There are many life insurance options that have the potential to provide the diversification you might want for your retirement strategy.

Extreme version using: Terrifying
Knowing that you don’t have enough saved for retirement is terrifying.

Compliant version:
It might seem scary to think you may not have enough saved for your retirement.

Extreme version using: Gigantic
The benefits of annuities are gigantic.

Compliant version:
The various benefits annuities provide may allow you to optimize your retirement savings.

While qualifiers may help soften the blow of some extreme words, we recommend staying on the safe side and eliminating extreme words from your advertising altogether. Updating the phrasing and removing extreme words lets you get the same message across—but more compliantly and, hopefully, off a regulator’s radar.

If you have questions regarding this or other compliance-related issues, send them to the Brokers International compliance team at ComplianceConnection@biltd.com. As your partner, we’ll assist you in keeping your advertising on the right side of the regulators.

* These are only a few examples and are not representative of an all-inclusive list.

This information is intended for Financial Professionals who are insurance licensed only. If you are securities licensed please contact your Broker Dealer for their requirements.

These educational pieces are intended to be informative and provide generalized guidance. They should not be construed as legal advice or provide protection against compliance violations brought on by a consumer or state insurance commission. It is the sole responsibility of the financial professional to seek compliance or legal direction specific to their individual situation. These pieces should be used as a means to raise awareness and evaluate business practices.

For Financial Professional use only, not for use with the general public. #17-3096-102318