The “Top 10” Reasons ‘Top’ lists make me run out of gas


Lately, I have been inundated with marketing jargon. I’m tired of it. My brain hurts from analyzing “what to say…in a way my customer wants to hear…at the exact right time they need to hear…”

So, I turned my state of overwhelm into a “quick run to the market”.

Because I had three deadlines to make by 5pm.
And I was suddenly hungry.
And my cupboards held only Cashew Butter and Frackers (yes, fake crackers).
And I am supporting my husband’s new “no gluten, dairy, eggs, or corn, or anything edible” cleanse.
And it was raining.

The market was the obvious option…I took three hours. 


One of my writing assignments asked that I use a “Top 10″ Headline for my article. Granted, my eyes were open for suggestions, but here is what I found on a 2-mile drive:

  • Top 10 Reasons to Bring Your Own Shopping Bag
  • Top 10 Reasons Winter Lettuce is More Nutritious
  • Top 10 Reasons to Fill Up Your Tank Here
  • Top 10 Reasons The Driver Behind you is Flipping You Off*
*Ok. The last list is really Top One reason and probably has something to do with me trying out my new HandsFree Dialing headset and slowing to about 30MPH on the Freeway. (Yep. I was THAT a$*hole today!)

As far back as I can remember David Letterman owned “The Top 10″ list. Today, it is the catchy headline for all marketing. It is the reason people buy…we don’t even need 10 reasons. As if we think “A List? Heck yeah! Those people must have my best interest at heart since they took the time to tell me 10 benefits. For that effort, I’ll buy 2.”

So, it got me thinking. What would be MY Top 10 List the world can’t live without? And here is where I arrived:

The Top 10 Reasons Top 10 Lists Don’t Work (for me)

10. Did you know the average person (me) has the attention span of a lima bean and…

hey look!… shiny thing…pretty

9. Wait, was I writing something?

8. Seriously? What’s with this NASA Countdown? This can’t be a good sign. This reminds me of when I thought I set the clock on the microwave, but it was actually the timer…and I saw time tick backwards for 1:23…
2. Because Top 10 Lists are manipulative! They do nothing to fill the “benefits not features” gap in marketing. Harshly put, Top 10 Lists bring the audience down to a level of only caring about catchy titles and 20 second attention span. I urge you to…

1. Did I mention anything about Lima Beans?

And here’s my request: will you please pick me up the next time you see me walking on the side of the highway with my gas can? It’s because couldn’t be bothered to read the last nine reasons I should have stopped for gas.