Warning! If direct reference to periods and tampons offends you, look away now.

I saw this sign in a loo on Friday.


Copywriting on a sign that is too formal and not persuasive
Did a human write this?


It’s a perfect example of how to make sure people don’t do what you’re asking them to.

So I thought I’d translate for you it into language that is clear, direct and persuasive.


Are you on your period?

If you are, please put your towel or tampon in the bin next to the loo.

I know the bins are a bit grim. But if you don’t use them our drains block.

Which means you could be paddling to the loo next time.

Thank you! I really appreciate your help.


Let’s compare the two. And see the difference you can make when you write like a human.

More often than not a general heading of IMPORTANT means something isn’t. Because if it was, you’d try harder to get people’s attention.

Who is it important for? Everyone? Or just some people?

When you want to attract the attention of a particular group of people, be specific.

For example, if you want to speak to people who suffer from headaches, try saying:

Do you ever get headaches?

Straight away, people who get headaches will say, ‘Yes, I do.’ They’ll be interested, and likely to read on to the next line.

So, the question, ‘Are you on your period?’ will attract the attention of women who are. Who’ll then want to know why you ask.

It also helps to be upfront and honest. In the example from the loo above, what exactly is a feminine product? A lace hanky? A bonnet? Smelling salts for when we get an attack of the vapours?

In 2018, it’s perfectly acceptable to call periods, tampons and sanitary towels exactly what they are. Because when a woman’s period starts unexpectedly, she doesn’t ask her friends if they’ve got any spare feminine products on them.

If you want someone to do something, tell them exactly what that is. My loo example asks the ladies to put their feminine products in the designated bin. That’s a very grand way to describe a bin that is usually rammed in between the loo and the cubicle wall and that often you can only open by contorting your body into an unnatural shape.

Another great way to connect with people is to feel their pain. To show you understand how they’re feeling.

No one actually enjoys using those awkward bins. It’s quicker, easier and more hygienic to just chuck everything down the loo. Quicker, easier and more hygienic when you’re not the one unblocking the drains and mopping the floor that is.

By saying, ‘I know the bins are a bit grim’, you show you understand this.

Finally, show a bit of warmth. ‘Thank you for your cooperation’ is cold and formal. It doesn’t tell you that another human being really is grateful for what you did.

We all like to be thanked and appreciated, so don’t hold back. People are far more likely to do what you ask when they know you’ll appreciate it.


Hello. I’m Sarah Russell, a freelance creative copywriter.

Thank you for reading this far. I hope you found something to help or inspire you, or to make you smile.


Email me at: info@sarahrussellwriting.co.uk 

Call me on: 01873 776 153

Connect with me on: LinkedIn 

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