Armpit or bum?

What’s a normal body temperature?

Cartoon confusion signpost with different options

Sometime we over-complicate business and marketing. Keep it simple.

You’ll probably say 37°C (or 98.6°F), and I wouldn’t blame you. Until yesterday, that’s what I probably would have said too. Hell, that’s what doctors said. For years, that was the accepted opinion. Nice and simple. 

But it’s not correct.

In the 19th century, Dr Carl Wunderlich collected and analysed over a million body temperatures for 25,000 patients. He did a pretty good job for his time, and many of his findings still stand up today, but…

It’s not as simple as that.

For a start, he measured armpit temperature, not mouth or bum.

And his thermometer wasn’t as accurate as it could be because it didn’t hold its readings.

And his conclusions were oversimplified — that 37 / 98.6 is “normal”, and anything above that is a fever, or below is troublesome.

But his “normal” body temperature was accepted for years and has only recently been widely questioned. We now know the average body temperature is 36.8°C (98.2°F) and a normal temperature is actually a range, because every body is different. We all react differently to outside influences and disease. To levels of exercise, hormones, ovulation, how much we’ve eaten, stress…

You name it, it probably affects your temperature.

My point is, it’s not simple. It’s very complicated. And that’s a problem, because it means simple but false ideas are accepted easily, while true but complex ones are conveniently ignored…

In copywriting and marketing, we want to keep things as simple as possible. One simple idea, carried through an advert or article or email, because if we introduce too many ideas we’ll lose our reader.

When we’re explaining or teaching something, we want to break it down into its simplest components so everyone can understand and learn.

And when we’re looking for an explanation, we grasp at the simple because it’s much easier to understand. Less effort.

Which is amusing, because we’re also very good at overcomplicating stuff. Like marketing, and copywriting. My clients and Inner Circle Members find I’m pretty good at untangling these overcomplicated ideas and helping them simplify.

Do you have a problem you might be overthinking? A simple answer is to buy and read a copy of my book, Business For SuperheroesThen take action on what you find within…



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS Our brains aren’t really wired to spend lots of energy on the complex… I think that’s why so many people mindlessly share stuff that’s obviously idiocy from asshats like David Wolfe. Clicking “like” and “share” is much easier than thinking it through and reasoning that chocolate does not “line up planetarily with the sun” and is not “an octave of the sun”. (I shit you not.)


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