Some of the funniest writing in the New York Times appears at the very end of movie reviews, in the italicized ratings information. Like this, from a two-thumbs-down review by Jeannette Catsoulis:
“Under the Same Moon” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has bad white people, hard-working brown people and morally ambivalent people of mixed race.
I've long believed that boilerplate copy represents an excellent opportunity--usually overlooked--to connect with an audience. If you can add something interesting, amusing, attention getting, or just plain human to the standard text, why pass up the chance?
For example, here's the setup message I got when I downloaded Google's Web Accelerator:
To be sure, most readers probably click right past that paragraph. But those who spend just three seconds reading it are rewarded with a smile.
By the way, have you ever wondered where the term boilerplate comes from? Here's what Wikipedia says:
The term dates back to the early 1900s, referring to the thick, tough steel sheets used to build steam boilers. From the 1890s onwards, printing plates of text for widespread reproduction such as advertisements or syndicated columns were cast or stamped in steel (instead of the much softer and less durable lead alloys used otherwise) ready for the printing press and distributed to newspapers around the United States. They came to be known as 'boilerplates'. Until the 1950s, thousands of newspapers received and used this kind of boilerplate from the nation's largest supplier, the Western Newspaper Union.