Ostentatious euphemisms

A recent tv commercial for Jack Link’s beef jerky builds up to the punch line, the claim that the jerky

beats the snack out of other snacks

ostentatiously using snack as a euphemism for shit.

Ostentatious euphemisms are a subtype of ostentatious taboo avoidance, in which the point is to show off the taboo vocabulary — to draw attention to a commercial product through naughty talk, or just to talk naughty for fun without actually uttering the taboo words.

Three examples of shit euphemism from earlier postings here:

on 2/18/11 in “Shaving Cream”: a joke song in which the content and rhyme scheme both call for the word shit, but it’s replaced by shaving cream

on 4/14/13 in “ship my pants”: a Kmart ad with ship ostentatiously avoiding shit

on 8/14/13 in “Today’s baffling taboo avoidance”: Kraft ads with “Get your chef together”, with chef ostentatiously avoiding shit

On to the Jack Link’s commercial, which you can watch here. From a site on tv commercials:

Screen shot from the middle of the ad

Jack Link’s Jerky “beats the snack out of other snacks” – this is what the brand of beef jerky aims to highlight in its latest campaign, titled “Versus”.

The campaign, done by Carmichael Lynch, includes a series of spots featuring various tests run on Jack Link’s Jerky and other snacks, using instruments like polygraph, protein detector, microscope, speed gun, and others.

In one of the spots, a woman is using a protein detector on a Choco Nut Snack Bar, Cheese Made of String and Jack Link’s Original Beef Jerky to check the amount of protein they have, and it turns out that while the first two have 8g and 6 g, respectively, Jack Link’s has 10g of protein per serving.

“As you can see by our irrefutable science, Jack Link’s has more protein and better music than these other snacks.” – says the voiceover at the end of the spot, concluding that “Jack Link’s Jerky beats the snack out of other snacks”.

The words snack /snæk/ and shit /šɪt/ are not all that close phonologically, but the idiom context in beat the ___ out of s.o. pretty much determines what the middle word must be (similarly with scare the ___ out of s.o.).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: