Friday, November 14, 2008

Fun on Friday #9: Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

After all the maths in the last couple of posts, I thought a language based Fun on Friday was in order. However, I should warn you that it may only be my status as a grumpy old man that makes me think the following is "fun"!

Just a couple current advertisements that amuse me. The first is a radio advertisement warning benefit thieves that the Department for Work and Pensions is "closing in" on them. The radio advert begins with:
"We're closing in on benefit thieves with hidden cameras."
Now there should be a comma in there I suspect but that's the way it sounds on the radio. I always wonder if benefit thieves who don't have hidden cameras are safe? It reminds me of the old Victor Borge routine about the need for phonetic punctuation:

The other advert that amuses me, is for a shampoo. (The name of the shampoo involves the words "shoulders" and "head" but I'm not going to give you any other hints as to its identity.) It is a classic example of marketing-speak. The commercial claims that their product will:
"Leave your scalp up to 100% flake free."
I've emphasised the bit I like. Thinks: "Wow! I'll need to buy that. I could be up to 100% flake free!" I could be 0% flake free and this advert would be true and I'm not sure I want to be 110% flake free! Is this more or less impressive than the adverts that claim: "No other product is [better|faster|more effective] than ours at doing [whatever]"? In other words, their product is about the same as everyone else's. And just to tip from amused old man into grumpy old man... Why do shampoos list their main ingredient as "Aqua"? How dumb do they think people are? I imagine they think shoppers will stand in supermarkets saying"Hey, I'm not paying all that money for this shampoo. The main ingredient is water! I'll get this one with aqua instead."

Do you have a favourite advert of the moment that amuses you in a way the creators didn't intend? Or do you have any other examples of fun misunderstandings?

1 comment:

Colin Schafer..... said...

Once upon a time I was a civil engineer, temporarily assigned to a project based in Wimpey's head office. Just up the street was a 48 sheet poster reading "Wimpey Waste Management". I always thought: "How true".