Two recent cartoons with complex puns, both requiring serious cultural knowledge. A Mother Goose and Grimm, and a Liam Francis Walsh cartoon in the October 17th New Yorker:
Archive for the ‘Language in advertising’ Category
The latest (August/September) issue of The Advocate has two themes, one long planned — it’s the LGBT travel issue — and one responding to urgent current events, the June 12 shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando FL. I’m still trying to reach a state of equanimity that will allow me to post about Orlando, but LGBT travel is easy, and there are three ads in the issue that take advantage of the colors of the Pride flag to invite LGBT travelers to Williamsburg and Miami and to encourage them to drive wherever they’re going in a Nissan.
An announcement in my Facebook feed this morning, from Adverising Age yesterday:
Burger King Introduces Whopperito, a Whopper Burrito: Tex-Mex Mashup to Be Sold Nationally From Aug. 15
Burger King’s latest new item is taking a cue from Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is still reeling from a string of foodborne illness outbreaks.
The Whopperito, which puts Whopper burger ingredients like beef, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and pickles inside a flour tortilla, will be sold nationally beginning Aug. 15 [after marketing trials in Pennsylvania]. A queso sauce replaces the mayonnaise from the hamburger.
I had two reactions. One, that the Whopperito as described in AdAge is very close to my conception of an American burrito, with (possibly) only the tomatoes and pickles outside the usual list of ingredients, though with beans (or refried beans) crucially absent, so the thing hardly looks like a hybrid food (Whopper plus burrito), but more like a stunted variant of a burrito — but then this is advertising (for Burger King, home of the Whopper), not food studies. Two, that althugh the name could be construed as a portmanteau (Whopper + burrito, with the shared r indicated by underlining), the first interpretation I got of the name was that it was a diminutive of Whopper, in –ito, that is, as ‘little Whopper’ — an oxymoron if I ever saw one.
Then I discovered that AdAge had spelled the name wrong. It’s Whopperrito, much more clearly a portmanteau.
Today’s One Big Happy, with the kids’ grandparents at breakfast, contemplating the cereals on offer, with some dismay:
An ad that has been running in the NYT Magazine for several weeks:
Despite having a caption in French, the ad is clearly American: the adjectival idiom big-ass ‘really big’ in the company name Big Ass Solutions is distinctly American. As for the caption Ceci n’est pas un ventilateur ‘This is not a fan’, that’s an allusion to René Magritte’s The Betrayal of Images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe), which is at the very least “about” the image not being the thing depicted. This is not (just) a fan, this is not your father’s fan, this is a super-fan, big-ass and (in several senses) cool.
Currently running the rounds on American television, a Progressive Insurance ad (featuring the company’s spokesperson Flo) into which a giant humanoid pitcher of some colored drink intrudes, by crashing through the wall:
This is funny as slapstick, but (like so many cartoons and comics) is much funnier if you recognize the characters involved and their backgrounds — especially, the humanoid pitcher.
From my English correspondent RJP, this tradeperson’s van, photographed on the street:
Flat Boy Skim is a bit of complex name play on Fatboy Slim. Well, you have to know who Fatboy Slim is, something many people do not. And then: what might Flat Boy Skim have to do with plastering? For that, you have to know something about the technical jargon of plastering (which I did not, until I looked it up; well, I correctly noted that a good plastering job should be flat — smooth — and I assumed that boy was just there for the name play, but skim was a mystery).