Car ads on the radio
I listen to a lot of baseball, which means I’m forced to endure a lot of ads. The worst are for cars, where each has a now-mandatory overlay of bad, repetitive music. Usually it’s a small phrase of one to two seconds, which is looped, a monotony broken only by a non-articulate voice singing at random things like “Unh” and “Ugh”.
Worse, when one ad agency hears that another ad agency is moving to “Unh” music, the first agency will feel it has to fall in line. Soon, they are all doing it. They never come to the realization that all the ads sound the same, which is surely a bad thing.
It used to be that all car commercials had snippets from 1970 “hard” rock. That was equally bad. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.
Dear Car Manufacturers: I won’t buy your cars if I have to listen to these ads.
Stupid. Taglines. In Your Life.
Companies used to content themselves with being called by their names. Now they feel the necessity of adding a snappy tagline. This tagline, constrained by brevity, is nearly always asinine or stupid. Of course, this phenomenon isn’t constrained to taglines; it is often found in print advertisements where space is limited.
Copywriters are driven to punch up their four- or five-word allotment, and the mechanism they have chosen to use is the lowly period (full stop). Thus, we see phrases such as “It’s not fitness. It’s life.”, “Life. Worth Living.”, “You. On Vacation.”, “Impact. Make one.”
That last is from an ad for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, surely a cause worthy enough to deserve a tagline that is not an eyesore.
The larger question is this: Is this just another fad among advertisers, or are these ads a results of our ever-lessening attention spans?
Either way. Hemingway. Would not be proud.
(I admit a weakness for the tagline “Who, but W.B. Mason?”)
I’ve said before that when I am emperor, I shall ban the word “like”, and that those who use it will suffer greatly. And the same goes for “goes.”
Linguist John McWhorter writes that people who rely on these devices are engaged in mimicry, which is the opposite of “literary” speech. He claims, and all experience tells us, that this sort of thing is on the increase.
The natural explanation is that I suppose it’s difficult to develop a sufficiently varied vocabulary and to learn how to string words together in sequences longer than five when your reading consists of bus kiosk ads and video game directions.
Music is passion, and anybody can be excused for the occasional indulgence of allowing a melody to control their musculature while in public. But to close your eyes—actually squeeze them shut—and wag your head for more than thirty seconds is affectation.
I see this frequently on the train. A young man, usually thirty-ish, will see that there are desirable females within eyeshot. He will then go into an act of what he imagines one feels while in the throws of musical ecstasy. He will sway his head to the beat, one lip tucked under another.
Occasionally, he will open his eyes—the head will remain bopping—to see if he has caught somebody’s attention. If he thinks he has, he redoubles his efforts; his head will carve out larger arcs, he may sing softly. For all this work, I have never yet seen one of these men approach a woman to follow up. As a mating strategy, this is fairly weak.
If you did this kind of thing where I grew up, you would have found yourself smacked upside the head.
Regulars will know that I have an issue with “issue” as a euphemism for “problem.” I mention it again hoping to elicit your least favorite euphemisms.
Feel free to mention any. Except typos.