Archive for the ‘Language in advertising’ Category

Morning: Great American Dream Machine

April 26, 2015

This morning’s name: the television show The Great American Dream Machine. Bonus: grades of olives and their names.

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Apologetic candy

April 26, 2015

On the tv this morning, a (very short) commercial that turned on the apology “Sorry I was eating a Milky Way”. It’s on this site, with an explanation of its content:

A hairstylist, a rodeo clown and a cruise ship captain all completely forget what [they’re] supposed to be doing while eating a delicious Milky Way chocolate and caramel candy bar. Hilarity ensues, but their Milky Ways are just too good for these people to care.

On another site, a set of other “Distracted Chocolate-Eating Ads”:

Although being distracted by a chocolate bar might not be the best excuse for certain scenarios, the Milky Way Caramel campaign shows that this snack may be particularly irresistible. With its gooey caramel center, how could a bride possibly make it to her wedding on time? Or a mother not burn her son’s boy scout uniform with an unattended iron? These situations and more should be excused, at least according to the Milky Way Caramel campaign.

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Annals of phallic reference: a real fireman’s nozzle

April 17, 2015

Caught in a tv commercial this morning, for the Mighty Blaster Fireman’s Nozzle (“as seen on TV”). From the copy:

Mighty Blaster Fireman’s Nozzle is the first-ever household sprayer with the power and precision of a real fireman’s nozzle, with 50% more power than regular hose nozzles.

You can watch the whole commercial, or just study this still shot:

Hoses are such natural phallic symbols that the makers and sellers of the Mighty Blaster might not have appreciated the possible readings of their ads.

Magnum

April 15, 2015

Just went past me on television: an ad for Magnum Ice Cream Bars:

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(from the Magnum Ice Cream site; “Magnum Ice Cream Bars are made with creamy Ice Cream and Belgian Chocolate”). The bars are big in size and big in flavor. The ads tend to feature (female) models with bars in their mouths: both oral and phallic. Here’s model Lucy Wolfert in one ad:

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Magnum things are all about size and masculinity.

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Stan Freberg

April 8, 2015

In today’s NYT, an obit by Douglas Martin, “Stan Freberg, Madcap Adman and Satirist, Dies at 88″:

Stan Freberg, a humorist whose sprawling imagination fueled a multifaceted career that included pretty much inventing the idea of using satire in commercials, died on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif.

… Mr. Freberg was a hard man to pin down. He made hit comedy records, voiced hundreds of cartoon characters and succeeded Jack Benny in one of radio’s most prestigious time slots. He called himself a “guerrilla satirist,” using humor as a barbed weapon to take on issues ranging from the commercialization of Christmas to the hypocrisy of liberals.

Freberg on a 1957 comedy album. Photo: Capitol Records.

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Specialists in International

April 7, 2015

Slogan on the side of a DHL truck in Palo Alto:

DHL — YOUR SPECIALISTS IN INTERNATIONAL SINCE 1969

The adjective international is serving as a noun here, conveying something like ‘international shipping’ or ‘international mail’ or ‘international delivery’. Informally, this is “nouning by truncation”, but the implicit noun head isn’t uniquely identifiable.

Two pieces of background here: on “nouning by truncation” and on the DHL company and its slogans.

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Reuben and Rachel

March 27, 2015

On a report (from the 25th) on a recent Arby’s ad:

Arby’s Reuben Gets a New “Rachel” Variant: Arby’s latest sandwich is the new, limited-time Turkey Rachel, which is being offered as a variant on their Reuben that comes with roast turkey and housemade coleslaw rather than the corned beef and sauerkraut

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To come: the sandwiches, their ingredients, their names.

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Two more morning names

February 6, 2015

Thursday’s memorable morning name was Mitzi Kapture (the actress), Friday’s was Piggly Wiggly (the supermarket).

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What would you do?

January 25, 2015

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

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Without a piece of cultural background, this is just a silly story about a polar bear opening a bar in the Klondike. If you have that background, it’s a bit of language play turning on the ambiguity of Klondike bar.

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Unintended ambiguity

January 23, 2015

Now appearing on many sites, this vintage (1936) promotional ad for the Willesden Electricity Dept. (in northwest London):

The (presumably) intended reading is that it is anaphoric to work; ‘let electricity do the work’. But do it is a VP anaphor as a whole, so that the reading ‘let electricity kill your wife’ is only too easy to get.

The caption identifies the source as the Milne Museum — the Milne Electrical Collection at the Amberley Museum in West Sussex.


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