Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Cheesy Promotion Language
I'm watching a tv show on various snack food factories, and I'm hearing a number of terms that gunk up my brain like a pipe full of sludge. I'm talking about those terms that we hear all the time in advertising, the words and phrases that marketers believe will endear us to their products. Me, I just find them cheesy, and annoying in a number of different ways. And these words are:
Best Kept Secret
Used to describe regional products or products that have a small and rabid fan base, I just heard this phrase in a program segment on Dippin's Dots, an ultra-frozen mini-sphere ice cream foodstuff. I also used to hear it when I worked for a very large youth education organization. I always wondered, and still do, why anyone would admit to having a business that's a "best kept secret."
Today I heard this adjective linked to "brick ovens," implying that the baking method for a brand of pretzels was somehow linked to a historic cooking method. The trouble is, nobody bothered to linked the word "authentic" to a specific culture, time period, or cuisine. It was implied, and while most viewers would believe there was truth spoken here, I was left wondering exactly what this "authenticity" was really referring to.
It seems we're always being offered a "sneak peek," of an upcoming show episode, or a movie, sometimes a concert. Trouble is, I don't like anything "sneaky," because to me it means "somewhat illegal." And the word "peek" is just a little too fey and cutesy to my ears. Put them together and I get this ridiculous vision of an executive producer, on tiptoes, hunched over, lifting the canvas a bit so we can see what's going on inside the circus tent. Note that this vision has nothing to do with the episode, movie, or concert in question.
Always, always, always used on infomercials for highly specialized cooking or mixing machines. The excitable hosts are working much too hard to link this product to my needs, and by saying "add your favorite pasta, ice cream, spice mix, or fruit and vegetable" they've just gone over the edge. Especially since I never think of the foods in my kitchen as indicative of "my favorite" anything. The "best tasting" or "best deal in the store" perhaps, but "my favorites" can change from day to day. The effect on me - I feel like these uber-bubbly infomercial people are standing just a little too close, like someone on Seinfeld.
Just and Simply
Open up SkyMall and read all about how you "just attach the special vacuum pump to the giant inflatable bounce-castle" and you can "simply" inflate this expensive monstrosity to a size that can destroy most of the grass on your front lawn. Or "simply plug in" the magic fingers massage chair and ease your flight-related stress away for a mere $1250. One or two uses of "just" and "simply" are fine. But read these words over and over in SkyMall before you take off, and the product blurbs become a little too insistent, approaching shrill.