Archive for the ‘Language in advertising’ Category

Familiarity

October 24, 2014

Yesterday’s One Big Happy, in which Ruthie goes (as usual) with the familiar over the novel:

(#1)

Stovepipe hat (an unfamiliar expression for Ruthie) is transformed in Ruthie’s ears into Stove Top Stuffing, a familiar expression in her world (context is crucial!), even though the two are pretty distant phonologically (very imperfect as a pun).

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The plural of Miss Subways

October 24, 2014

In the current (10/27/14) New Yorker, an entertaining “Where Are They Now Dept.” feature by Michael Schulman, “Underground Beauties”, beginning:

Long before Dr. Zizmor and Poetry in Motion, beauty on the subways came in the form of the Miss Subways competition, which ran from 1941 to 1976. The idea, hatched by the New York Subways Advertising Company, was to prettify the train cars while drawing eye traffic to the surrounding ads for chewing gum or cigarettes. Every few months, a new glamour shot would appear on posters underground, along with a few lines describing the winner’s hobbies (“modern dance, piano and ceramics”) and aspirations (“plugging for B.A. but would settle for M.R.S.”). Nearly two hundred women claimed the title.

Over the years, nearly two hundred women served as Miss Subways. So there were nearly two hundred Miss Subwayses? No that can’t be right: Subways is already plural. The obvious solution is a zero plural, with only one realization of plural inflection: nearly two hundred Miss Subways. And that’s the solution in the New Yorker piece.

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Slush Puppies

September 27, 2014

In the NYT on the 23rd, an obit by Paul Vitello, “Will Radcliff, 74, Creator of the Slush Puppie, Dies”, beginning:

Flavored ice drinks had been around since the Romans, and machines had been churning them out under various brand names for almost as long, it seems, when Will Radcliff, a peanut salesman, had the ice beverage inspiration that made him rich.

He called it a Slush Puppie. Thirty years later, when he sold the company he had founded to make and market the product, the Slush Puppie had become a staple among aficionados of brain-freezing supersweet drinks all over the world.

(“brain-freezing supersweet drinks” is a nice turn of phrase). The product mascot:

(#1)

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Puns and their allies

September 23, 2014

It starts with today’s Zippy, with a punning title; continues with a Discover Card tv commercial for fraud protection (or frog protection); and ends with some bilingual play involving Nadia Boulanger. There will be digressions at each stage.

The Zippy:

(#1)

The title, “Getting a Bad Feline”, puns on feeling and (with reference to the actual theme of the strip, the cat-replacement phenomenon in Dingburg) feline. Feline survivalism in the last panel (which I won’t comment on here), and, throughout, an entertaining pattern of naming from trade names (which I will).

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Bad to the Bone

September 22, 2014

Today’s Zits:

Ah the young, failing to appreciate musical history!

The video, with George Thorogood and the Destroyers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7VsoxT_FUY

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Two from The Advocate

September 19, 2014

In the latest (Oct./Nov. 2014) issue of The Advocate (the glossy newsmagazine targeting an lgbt audience), two items with some linguistic interest: an ad campaign from Burger King choosing wording to frame its ads for this audience; and an instance of the first X to …, with a domain X that at first seems preposterously particular but turns out to be possibly useful after all.

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Commercial playful morphology

September 10, 2014

In television commercials that recently came past me: yummify (and more) in a 5-hour ENERGY commercial; and waffulicious in an IHOP commercial.

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Blowout, sleaze

September 1, 2014

(Warning: This posting discusses gay sex in very plain terms and has images that are right on the X line — between X-rated and nominally for general consumption — but in recompense, there is some actual lexical discussion. Use your judgment.)

On AZBlogX, a piece “Blowout and sleaze” on two pieces of e-mail:

In my mailbox in recent days, a sale bulletin (“Labor Day Inventory Blowout”) for Falcon / Raging Stallion (today is Labor Day in the US) and an ad for a recent Channel 1 Releasing feature Sucked Off in Weird Places featuring Jason Phoenix and a very sleazy Johnny Hazzard. The images and the texts are both intensely oral.

Cropped versions of the images, right on the X line:

(#1)

(#2)

Ok, no question about what’s going on in these images, but here you see no acual naughty bits. Note blowout in the title of #1, and in #2, the normally well-groomed Johnny Hazzard (though presenting himself as working class) with sweaty face and greasy hair — definite sleaze. So some words about these two lexical items, then a few about the over-the-top rhetoric of the (advertising) sex for #2.

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Dubious disavowals?

August 22, 2014

It originally came to me through Chris Hansen on Facebook, in this remarkable two-part image:

(#1)

along with this story (by “Happy Gilmore”) from August 12th, reporting:

Welsh Fried Chicken Brand Defends Logo: Food Company defends its controversial new logo after customers complain about its phallic and unusual design reports Walesonline.co.uk

The owner of the Dirty Bird Brand has stated that the logo was just a unique way to change the “B” and the “D” look like a small rooster.

… The food company has also started using posters that state ” Touch My Thigh” and “Touch My Breasts” … Although, Dirty Bird owner Neil Young has backed his statements that these were not meant to be obscene.

Dirty Bird let http://www.metro.co.uk know that the images were in no way meant to upset their customers  … They wanted a fun way to portray a rooster. That’s all.

Those in doubt should check out the artists tumblr page – Mark James

Hmmm.

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Hybrid dishes and foodmanteaus

July 15, 2014

From the 7/12/14 Economist, this feature: “Matches made in heaven—and hell: What do you get if you cross a waffle with a doughnut? It’s no joke”, beginning:

Not all marriages are happy, but Alex Hernandez thinks that the union of a waffle and a doughnut will be. The owner of Waffles Café in Chicago starting selling what he calls “wonuts” in April. They are deep-fried waffles, topped with icing and multicoloured sprinkles (see photo). Daily sales went from 24 to 600 within two days.

Ah, the foodmanteau wonut. Referring to a hybrid food:

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