Six ways to chop 20 per cent from a flabby lead, reducing it from 96 to 77 words

#humberpr #PR @mchappyday

I hate to criticize Ronald McDonald Houses, a fine and important charity, but this news release needs work. A 19-word reduction (almost 20 per cent) isn’t that dramatic but the edit corrects several problems.

HEADLINE

McHappy Day Raises $530,849 for Ronald McDonald House Charities from Local British Columbia and Yukon Franchisees

Comment: why ‘local?’ Isn’t ‘from British Columbia and Yukon,’ without ‘local’ the same. In addition, B.C. can be used as its coupling with Yukon clearly indicates it’s a province. Make it:

McHappy Day Raises $530,849 for Ronald McDonald House Charities from B.C. and Yukon Franchisees

ORIGINAL LEAD

VANCOUVER, Aug. 9, 2017 /CNW/ – Forty years ago, McDonald’s Canada launched McHappy Day, the restaurant chain’s largest one-day fundraising event of the year where $1 from every Big Mac® sandwich, Happy Meal® and hot McCafe® beverage sold is donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities®. This year marked the most successful campaign to date, with restaurants in BC and Yukon raising $530,849 dollars, a 40% increase from last year’s raise. The funds will support the Ronald McDonald’s House Charities network of programs in British Columbia, which supports thousands of families each year through its Ronald McDonald Houses and Ronald McDonald Family Rooms. (96 words)

THE PR WRITER/OF IS AND BY EDIT

In its 40th anniversary McHappy Day campaign, the most successful ever, McDonald’s Canada franchisees in B.C. and Yukon raised $530,849 for Ronald McDonald House Charities®, a 40 per cent increase over last year. McHappy Day, the restaurant chain’s largest one-day annual fundraising event, contributes $1 to the charity from the sale of every Big Mac®, Happy Meal® and hot McCafe®. McHappy Day supports thousands of B.C. families each year through Ronald McDonald Houses and their Family Rooms. (77 words)

COMMENTS

  1. The lead is confusing. The headline correctly highlights the news as McHappy Day raising the largest amount ever but the lead starts with the old news: the McHappy Day launch 40 years ago. The lead should really recapitulate and extend the headline. Instead the reader is diverted and shouldn’t be. Start with the news: a fundraising record.
  2. If it’s the largest one-day fund raising event, it doesn’t need ‘of the year.’ Annual is better and move it before ‘one day,’ as in ‘largest annual one-day fundraising event.’
  3. Big Mac® sandwich, Happy Meal® and hot McCafe® beverage—do those terms really need identifiers; is there really anyone who doesn’t know the Big Mac is a sandwich? And if those products need identification, why is the Happy Meal not explained? Make it Big Mac® Happy Meal® and hot McCafe®. Yours truly believes the ® mark is unnecessary, as publications never use it but here the lawyers no doubt sadly insisted on preserving it.
  4. British Columbia references are inconsistent. BC is not CP Style; B.C. is. If anything, first reference could be the full name with the second as B.C. In CP Style use ‘per cent’ not % in body copy.
  5. Word repeats should be avoided: ‘raising’ and ‘raise’ in one sentence; ‘support’ and ‘supports’—that’s just careless.
  6. Ronald McDonald House Charities is a lengthy first reference, and should be shortened and not repeated. Substitute ‘the charity.’ ‘Ronald McDonald Houses and Ronald McDonald Family Rooms’ can be ‘Ronald McDonald Houses and their Family Rooms.’

 

Author: rotmanprwriter

PRWriter, Copy Doctor, Humber College PR and writing Prof

Leave a Reply