Writing Assignment: Redefine Something

by Randy Murray on January 4, 2013

This week I’ve been having a bit of fun redefining some of the most popular services online. It’s fun, and I think that if you do it right it’s also revealing and brings things into a clearer, if not more desirable focus. You can find the whole series here: The Internet, Redefined.

As a marketer I’ve learned that you can sell products most effectively if you can explain what your product and service is for in a single sentence, one that also lets the person who’s hearing or reading it instantly say, “I need to be able to to that.”

The VCR was a great product with a simple explanation: Buy this and you’ll be able to watch a movie anytime you want AND record anything on your TV. There’s no need for a long technical discussion of how it could perform that miracle, it was completely clear that you wanted and needed that.

The DVD was much the same, but not the Blu-Ray player. The DVD’s pitch was, “better and cheaper than a VCR, except for the recording part.” Blu-Ray was, unfortunately, “slightly better than the DVD, but much more expensive.”

Or at least that’s how I’ve redefined it to put it in proper context. And yes, I have a Blu-Ray player.

For today’s writing assignment, pick a product or service and write a one sentence redefinition of it.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. For you to write the perfect redefinition you’ll need to craft a single sentence that is short and funny with a biting and satirical tone, and be utterly true. You do not have to discuss every aspect of this product or service (and it’s better if you don’t), just find a way to take something in popular use or widely praised and shine a new light and some clarity on it. You can use and love something and still see its shortcomings. Point out those shortcomings in your redefinition.

And most important for this WA: have fun!

For bonus points Tweet your redefinition and copy me: @cptnrandy (or publish it here in the comments). If you have the space, use the hashtag #redefined.

More redefinitions.



The Writing Assignment: Redefine Something by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe January 4, 2013 at 11:17 am

This is a hard assignment, but I actually really enjoy it. Here’s what I came up with so far, although I know it’s pretty weak:

Vegetables - the bane of every kid’s existence.


Mari January 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

Capsurz keeps your hat on your head so you won’t be dead.


Rob Boone January 4, 2013 at 11:55 am

The smartphone: a device to eliminate the need to actually *talk* to anyone, ever.


Luis January 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Tumblr redefined: A perfect blog platform (when is up)


Randy Murray January 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm

How about “other than the crashing part”?

My redefinition for Wordpress AND tumblr is queued up for Monday!


Luis January 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm

LOL! I’ll be waiting for Monday


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