Language in advertising

Language in Advertising

File prepared by Kim Darnell, inventorying AZBlog postings on language and advertising

5/21/10: Pardon my mock French: Pardon my mock French

The television ads for McDonald’s McCafés show ordinary English words ending in E re-spelled with an acute accent on the E (as in café), and pronounced with a final stressed /e/, thus converting everyday experiences into something fancier, more exciting

11/10/10: Enjoy the Go: Enjoy the Go

Linguistic observations regarding the Charmin Go Nation ad campaign for Charmin brand toilet paper, including the slogan Enjoy the Go”

11/25/10: Data points: gapless relatives 11/25/10:  Data points: gapless relatives 11/25/10

An noticeable and memorable example of a ResIsland gapless relative (with a resumptive pronoun repairing an island violation) from a Mr. Clean commercial

12/7/10: Underwear gifting: Underwear gifting

Some gifting advice from the FrankDandy firm, which designs underwear that is about as far from plain white as you can get and talks about their stuff with deep seriousness

12/7/10: The Bun Boy Motel: The Bun Boy Motel

Yet another notable business name: The Bun Boy Motel in Baker CA

12/16/10: Tripping off the tongue: Tripping off the tongue

Zippyexplores some more wonderful expressions, this time from commercial names: Styrofoam Wiffle bats, high-pitched Wiffle whistles, Supersmile oral hygiene, and his old favorite Hostess Ding Dongs

12/18/10: Dr. Miles’ Nervine: Dr. Miles’ Nervine

An antique ad for Dr. Miles’ Nervine, a tonic to calm the nerves via bromide, among other ingredients

12/19/10: The Xmas package 3: The Xmas package 3

Undergear continues its series of Christmas ads playing on package, this time under the heading It’s what underneath that counts”

12/21/10: The Xmas package 4: The Xmas package 4

The Undergear Christmas ads get further and further away from explicit reference to (genital) packages, though the (gift) package remains in the photo — this time with two Santas!

12/23/10: The Xmas package 5: The Xmas package 5

He’s back, the young man from two previous Undergear Christmas package postings, still in his Santa-red lo-rise hi-def briefs, and so is the play on “package”

12/24/10: The men’s underwear book: The men’s underwear book

Shaun Cole’s The Story of Men’s Underwear (Parkstone Press, 2010)is a serious cultural history for a general audience, lavishly illustrated

12/25/10: More ridiculous underwear with zipper pulls: More ridiculous underwear with zipper pulls

Found in the Undergear catalogue (on sale for Christmas!), a jockbrief with a rather uncomfortable looking zipper in front

1/30/11: Fast food portmanteaus: Fast food portmanteaus

Bizarro takes on the portmanteaus of McDonald’s

2/23/11: Eclect(r)ic Oil: Eclect(r)ic Oil

An ad for a 19th century formulation of spirits of turpentine, camphor, oil of tar, red thyme, and fish oil — kin to Ben Gay, except that it was advertised as The Great External and Internal Remedy”

2/28/11: Seltzer aperient: Seltzer aperient

An ad for a 19th century white powder (ingredients unclear) that produced, in water, the fresh equivalent of the famous German Seltzer water

3/29/11: Annals of advertising: Annals of advertising

Put together male photography and the current zombie craze, add high fashion and total-body tattooing, and you have the latest advertising campaign from fashion designer Thierry Mugler, featuring model Rick Genest, as photographed by Mariano Vivanco

4/1/11: The vocabulary of toy ads: The vocabulary of toy ads

The words used in tv commercials for boys’ toys and girls’ toys aimed at 6-8-year-olds reveal some fascinating, but alas unsurprising, distinctions

4/7/11: Creating a buzz: Creating a buzz

The Social Savvy Geek websiteoffers advice on how to draw people to your messages in social media: use words that will cause people to comment on your stuff and to read it in the first place

4/16/11: Wonderful spam: Wonderful spam

Some classic ads for edible Spam with notes on some linguistically dated parts of the ad copy

4/17/11: Bulges: Bulges

Beginning with JeanPants, a trendy new brand of underwear that provides a substantial crotch bulge, and ending with codpieces

4/28/2011: Cram it in the boot!: Cram it in the boot!

An enthusiastic ad campaign for the Mini Cooper car uses suggestive, but not actually taboo, vocabulary to catch the viewers’ attention

5/25/2011: Scent and masculinity: Scent and masculinity

The metrosexual lifestyle magazine Detailsoffers advice on how to communicate masculinity via candles with guy-appropriate scents

6/3/11: Louis XIII cognac: Louis XIII cognac

The snob appeal of a cognac, purportedly a blend of 1,200 different other cognacs, that is so good it’s worth $75 per half ounce

6/10/11: Linguistic toxicity: Linguistic toxicity

Listing side effects for medications is important, but can it go overboard?

6/11/11: Product names: Product names

The challenges of coming up with an appetizing product name for laboratory grown meat

6/11/11: Portmanteaus: The Sharp tv ads: Portmanteaus: The Sharp tv ads

Recent ads for very very big Sharp LCD tvs describe the sets with wonderful portmanteaus, including viewmongous, magnormous, and spectacularge

7/22/11: Exclaiming euphemistically: Exclaiming euphemistically

Some exclamations are euphemistic, like “Sugar!” and “Shut the front door!”; do these sorts of exclamations cross a line when used in advertising directed at children?

7/31/11: The icon hunt: The icon hunt

Zippy has a quiz

8/28/11: Pepsification: Pepsification

Innovations in -ify, such as “drinkify” (as snack) and snackify (a drink), tend to be playful, ostentatious, or deliberately creative” — so they’re noticeable, which makes them good in the advertising world

9/4/11: lobster?: lobster?

When it was revealed that Zabar’s, a high-end deli and grocery store in the Upper West Side of NYC, had been selling “lobster salad” for $16.95 a pound that did not include lobster at all, a scandal ensued

10/1/11: Branding: Branding

Brand-naming is an art rather than a science — but in the hands of firms like Lexicon it builds on solid information about phonology and semantics and the psychological and sociocultural associations of both

10/11/11: Admanteaus: Admanteaus

Some more advertising portmanteaus: Shirtoberfest and Beautorium

10/13/11: More bottoms: More bottoms

Big and tall (fashion) bottoms

11/23/11: The Seidlitz elf: The Seidlitz elf

Back in The rumor mill”, Dingburgers gossipped about American advertising icons — Tony the Tiger, the Jolly Green Giant, the Seidlitz Elf, Cap’n Crunch. Of those, the Seidlitz Elf is by far the most obscure

11/24/11: Product satire: Product satire

Zippy the Pinhead and his friends are a bit to invested in made up Wacky Packages products that they believe are real

11/27/11: Anticipation: Anticipation

Avoiding the post-Thanksgiving shopping madness, AMZ prepares some AZBlogXposts about other kinds of anticipation

2/9/12: Valenpizza: Valenpizza

The taxonomy of some types of prepared food, inspired by Papa Murphy’s take-and-bake HeartBaker pizza, created for Valentine’s Day

2/24/12: Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster: Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster

About a rather fancy water gun with a fun to say name

3/14/12: Liverpool in Dingburg: Liverpool to Dingburg

Zippyand his friend engage in an elaborate burlesque on the Beatles, their music, and their albums

4/30/12: Dairy humor: Dairy humor

Clover Stornetta Farms is a northern California dairy with a long tradition of funny, bovine themed ads and billboards

5/7/12: Zeugmatic McDonald’s: Zeugmatic McDonald’s

A McDonald’s commercial juxtaposes different senses of the word “chicken” to interesting effect

5/9/12: Branding Shakespeare: Branding Shakespeare

What would a Shakespeare play sound like if it incorporated branding like modern movies? Scenes From a Multiversehas an idea…

5/17/12: Manly superlatives: Manly superlatives

Mr. Peanut, the spokesnut for Planter’s brand nuts, get a manly makeover to appeal to male shoppers

7/6/12: Annals of commercial verbing: showroom: Annals of commercial verbing: showroom

Evidence suggests that the noun “showroom” has been completely verbed

7/23/12: Today’s entertaining underwear: Today’s entertaining underwear

From the Undergear people: the Andres Velasco® Jungle Trunk, “an exotic print for guys on the prowl”

7/24/12: Outlaws with puns: Outlaws with puns

Mostly about pun-based business names

7/26/12: Branding rules: Branding rules

The trademarks of the Olympics, such as the words “Olympics” and “Olympian, the interlocked rings, and the Olympic torch can only be legally used by official sponsors of the Games, so what’s a non-sponsoring company to do to cash in on Olympic fever?

8/12/12: Zippyized: Zippyized

Zippy the Pinhead is mercerized, simonized, and Martinized

8/23/12: Madonna Inn: Madonna Inn

Images and descriptions from the eclectic hotel in San Luis Obispo

9/13/12: The smell and taste: That smell and taste

Inspired by an ad for Come-On, a novelty project said to smell and taste like male ejaculate

9/14/12: Another notable business name: Another notable business name

On the somewhat salacious choice of a Toronto pastry chef to name her new shop “Glory Hole Doughnuts”

10/7/12: Brief mention: the Cool Mom Test: Brief mention: the Cool Mom Test

On the portmanteaus Mom-tacular and Mom-trocious

11/8/12: Toga toga toga!: Toga toga toga!

From an ad for loungewear that looks like it’s intended for rentboys in a male brothel to a discussion of media that focus on male prostitutes

11/11/12: Pre-op days: Pre-op days

Notes on AMZ’s preparations for hip surgery, with some linguistic observations along the way

11/24/12: Barbara Kruger: Barbara Kruger

Regarding the conceptual artist Barbara Kruger, her work, and other artists who have a similar style or approach

11/25/12: Dr. Zippy:Dr. Zippy

Zippy the Pinhead decides being a patient is not nearly as interesting as being a doctor, with amusing consequences

11/29/12: More threats to the body politic: More threats to the body politic

Zippy features two creepy, steel-jawedsquint-eyed, beefy characters listing the threats presented to society by a notorious public figure woefully lacking in red-blooded American masculinity: The Pillsbury Doughboy

12/1/12: Intentional reshaping: Intentional reshaping

Some enjoyable “eggcorny” portmanteaus from advertising, including “teasan” for “tisane”,

“fruitea” for “fruity”, and “berried treasure” for “buried treasure”

12/1/12: Brief mention: the chamois shirt: Brief mention: the chamois shirt

On the broadening of the meaning of chamois to include not only a specific type of leather but fabrics that share the leather’s texture

12/9/12: The underwear elves of 2012: The underwear elves of 2012

Christmas ads from Underwear featuring hunky underwear elves romping in banks of cotton balls, along with some free verse on their seasonal duties

12/21/12: Dude Wipes: Dude Wipes

Dude Wipes are designed to appeal to men who feel the need to assert their masculinity against babies while making sure they are “clean” after using the toilet

12/25/12: Oh no, not a pony!: Oh no, not a pony!

Regarding Calvin Klein and his well known line of underwear

1/2/13: Twigs, grahams, and puffs: Twigs, grahams, and puffs

An experiment in earnestly healthful food: Kashi® GOLEAN® cereal made of twigs, grahams, and puff cereal

1/3/13: Paternity: Paternity

In Bizarro, in which two commercial icons confront one another: Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy, claiming the equally white and puffy Michelin Man as his progenitor

2/28/13: easier fed than understood: easier fed than understood

From the Ball Park brand, this time advertising for Ball Park Beef Patties: Men: easier fed than understood.”. Two issues: the truncated construction in the slogan and the gender attitudes behind the slogan

3/3/13: Going against nature: Going against nature

A Styx underwear ad found in underground stations all over Prague shows a intensely Photoshopped gay couple with unnaturally defined abs

3/24/13: Size again: Size again

A humorous ad for Canon cameras from Russia

3/29/13: Crimplene: Crimplene

When viewed through a modern lens, the fashions” made from Crimplene, a popular British ‘wash and wear’ fabric from the 50s and 60s, are far more amusing than they are trendy

3/29/13: Colored bottoms: Colored bottoms

Although many Black people find the term colored” offensive, many young White people think the use of the term as a racial label is obsolete, leading to potentially controversial ad copy for clothing

4/3/13: scruffilicious: scruffilicious

More sexy men presented in various degrees of facial scruff

4/14/13: ship my pants: ship my pants

Regarding a Kmart ad campaign encouraging customers to “ship their pants”, along with some discussion of the reflexive “transitivizing P-drop” construction

4/14/13: The news for penguins: The news for penguins

Three recent images featuring penguins (and, in one case, sea lions!)

5/5/13: A five-pack: A five-pack

Five images featuring (mostly) scantily clad men engaging in various activities

6/10/13: Cigarette phallicity: Cigarette phallicity

Length as a theme in cigarette ads has historically been commonplace

6/18/13: Mock Old English: Mock Old English

A Progressive Insurance commercial Castle” engages in playful imitation of archaic English

6/23/13: Zesty Anderson Davis: Zesty Anderson Davis

Handsome, naked Anderson Davis in a classic pits n tits” porn pose does his sexy best to increase sales of Kraft’s Zesty Italian salad dressing

6/25/13: Stimulating and desensitizing: Stimulating and desensitizing

Various lubricants, stimulating products, and desensitizing creams to improve oral and anal sex

6/28/13: Naked came the ad: Naked came the ad

Two British ad campaigns that feature naked people hocking activities that don’t ostensibly require being naked at all

7/7/13: Moose Knuckles Canada: Moose Knuckles Canada

Moose Knuckles turns out to be the name of a brand of sportswear — distinctly Canadian, and also irreverent, sportswear. Canadian, hence the moose. And irreverent, hence the slang term moose knuckle (for male genitals visible through clothes)

7/7/13: More dubious portmanteaus: More dubious portmanteaus

Sometimes ad campaigns are centered on rather dubious portmanteaus, such as forskindependence and honkaholism

7/10/13: It was 42 years ago today…: It was 42 years ago today…

Notes on Snap, Crackle, and Pop, the Rice Krispies elves, inspired by the anniversary of AMZ’s 1971 Linguistic Inquiry squib on manner-of-speaking verbs (like snap in Kim snapped that it was time to leave)

7/10/13: Sexy olive oil: Sexy olive oil

Ad agencies use both sex and playfulness to sell things, including, it would seem, olive oil

8/7/13: Jockstrap Man, Hutspah shirts, and Nudie Cohn: Jockstrap Man, Hutspah shirts, and Nudie Cohn

Jockstraps and Hutspah shirts, with the models arranged so that a giant smiling Jockstrap Man dominates the page and the two shirt models (well, the same model in two different shirts) appear to be marveling at the apparition

8/14/13: Today’s baffling taboo avoidance: Today’s baffling taboo avoidance

Confusion erupts when an journalist writing about advertisers’ risky word use says he omitted a taboo word when he actually replaced a taboo word in a relevant phrase

8/15/13: The Nausea: The Nauga

Zippy meets the Nauga, from which naugahyde is derived

8/16/13: Zesty Anderson Davis returns: Zesty Anderson Davis returns

Through their protest of Kraft’s Zesty Guy ad campaign, they have made the campaign more popular than ever and encouraged a new series

8/23/13: Share the rainbow: Share the rainbow

On amusing and sometimes delicious uses of the rainbow colored Skittles candy

8/29/13: Porn prosody: Porn prosody

Mostly about the prosody of some writing about porn; like some other advertising copy, there’s some tendency for it to fall into metrically regular patterns

8/30/13: Tasty names: Tasty names

On ice cream purveyor Haagen-Dazs’ launch into the gelato market

9/12/13: Annals of phraseology: Annals of phraseology

Enjoying the “exuberantcheesiness” of a famously relentless California pitchman

9/12/13: BearBoat: BearBoat

Entertaining names for wine

9/14/13: serials: serials

On the use of “serial” in “serial entrepreneur

10/17/13: Bake and you shall receive: Bake and you shall receive

On Diamond walnuts’ “Diamond Nut Fantasies” ad campaign, featuring hunky guys appreciating the loved ones who bake them delicious treats

10/22/13: and it floats!: and it floats!

Thoughts on the homoeroticism in Ivory soap ads of the early 1900s

10/23/13: It floats! (ch. 2): It floats! (ch. 2)

More on the homoeroticism in Ivory soap ads of the early 1900s

11/17/13: Asgardian: Asgardian

Regarding Charmin’s short-lived advertising campaign linking their toilet paper to the movie release of Thor: The Dark World

11/23/13: Briefly noted: inversion: Briefly noted: inversion

On some different senses of the word “inversion”

11/26/13: Briefly noted: ad claims: Briefly noted: ad claims

An ad for Cold-EEZE includes a number of questionable claims and a impossible guarantee

12/7/13: Cartoon retirement: Cartoon retirement

Zippy and Zerbina, reflect on the fates of Bazooka Joe and Elsie the Cow, as well as their own future retirement

12/7/13: Cod loins: Cod loins

Where, exactly, might the loins of a fish be?

12/23/13: Briefly noted: It’s not a razor: Briefly noted: It’s not a razor

Heard, endlessly, on cable tv, an ad for a hair-removal system: “It’s not a razor. It’s not a laser. It’s No-No.

2/14/14: Frivolity for Valentine’s: Frivolity for Valentine’s

A Borden’s advertisement featuring Elsie the Cow, in a maid’s apron and nothing else — yielding a racy image — offering a very substantial breakfast.

3/20/14: The lure of trochaic tetrameter: The lure of trochaic tetrameter

A commercial for Cyvita is currently going the rounds that begins with two rhyming trochees, then branches out into two more complex feet, trochaic in feel but with leading weak syllables

4/17/14: Lurid Easter food: Lurid Easter food

1957 ad for the gayest Easter Eggs” from McCormick

4/18/14: Startling image for Holy Week: Startling image for Holy Week

An ad for gay porn from the Falcon / Raging Stallion Studios for Holy Week, with hot porn actor Adam Ramzi posing as Jesus (and the playful commercial slogan It’s a Good Friday when it kicks off savings like this!”)

4/20/14: Three for the day (Easter): Three for the day (Easter)

Three cartoons, includinga Bizarro, a Zippy, and a Mother Goose and Grimm

4/25/14: The poetry of green tea: The poetry of green tea

Tazo brand teas are marketed with lush, poetic descriptions that evoke the taste of each tea and the scene or feelings associated with drinking it

4/28/14: Two cartoons from yesterday: Two cartoons from yesterday

In the comics: episodes of Luann and a Basic Instructions on wording and aggressive humor

4/29/14: Dingburg bubbles: Dingburg bubbles

A Zippy cartoon features Double Bubble bubble gum

5/1/14: Double-take: Double-take

Lots of people will do a double-take on seeing the sale sticker for these tasty assorted crackers, which offers “tasty ass crackers”

5/11/14: Mom likes ’em hot, hairy, and hung: Mom likes ’em hot, hairy, and hung

Purveyors of gay porn have specials even for Mother’s Day, even when nothing about their product or their ad copy involves women

5/19/14: Commercial portmanteau: Commercial portmanteau

From Ryan Tamares a piece of a Subway Flatizza box. The box woudn’t scan for me, but what it says is Flatizza™:  “Cheesy & delicious meets crispy & square” (easily readable as tetrameter, with front-accented feet)

5/21/14: Three diverse: Three diverse

A classic Doonesbury on foul language; a Rhymes With Orange citing the spurious rule” that an English clause must not end in a preposition; and a Zippy looking back at an ad icon of the 1940s and 50s (drink more flavored liqueurs”, says Judge Arrow)

5/29/14: Two cards: Two cards

Products of some tests with a misbehaving scanner, along with a bit of linguistic commentary

5/31/14: The philosopher at the cinema and in the marketplace: The philosopher at the cinema and in the marketplace

When uttered by the appropriate person in the appropriate circumstances, a performative utterance doesn’t just describe reality, but actually changes the social reality

6/3/14: Plant life by public transport: Plant life by public transport

Notecard images  of floral posters by Emilio Camilio Leopoldo Tafani made for London public transport in 1915

6/5/14: Four for the fourth: Four for the fourth

Commentary on four cartoons from the fourth of July, including one each from One Big Happy, ZitsZippy, and Mother Goose & Grimm

6/11/14: Josh Kline: Josh Kline

Photos and an excerpt of a New Yorker review of Josh Kline’s art installation, Skittles, which features “smoothies” made up of ingredients from modern life

6/13/14: DILF days: DILF days

In the fantasy world of Gayland as in the real world, DILFs and daddy-boy relationships are popular.  It is no surprise, then, that purveyors of porn offer a plethora of “daddy”-oriented films around Father’s Day

6/16/14: Lateral flash thong: Lateral flash thong

The lateral flash thong is a new extreme sport garment that may best be described as a “swim sock.”  One wonders… How does it stay up? And who wears something like this in public?

6/2/14: On the foodmanteau front: On the foodmanteau front

New from Taco Bell, a hybrid food with a hybrid name: The Quesarrito is a fusion of a quesadilla and a burrito

6/22/14: Sunday jottings: Sunday jottings

Four items from the front matter in the day’s New York Times Magazine: the compound poolside memoirs; the euphemism go to Spain; the term binky for ‘pacifier’; and citronella for warding off mosquitoes

6/29/14: Name that product: Name that product

Recent bulletins from the world of commerce: tortilla-like chips made from crickets called “chirps” and hair products made to give young men that “just rolled out of bed and don’t care about anything” look

7/4/14: More holidays and anniversaries: More holidays and anniversaries

The first week of July includes a number of holidays and anniversaries, including Canada day (the 1st), the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Civil Rights Act (the 2nd), and U.S. Independence Day (the 4th).  In turn, we see a variety of amusing and patriotic ad copy

7/10/14: Today’s phallicity find: Today’s phallicity find

Seen on the streets of Palo Alto, a van with alogo for Seltzer Sisters Real Seltzer and Italian Sodas on the side.  The logo displays a lithe blonde spraying a jet of bubbly, white and blue liquid into a glass from a large, phallic canister

7/15/14: Hybrid dishes and foodmanteaus: Hybrid dishes and foodmanteaus

Americans love fusion foods, as exemplified by dishes such as the Southern classic chicken and waffles, the broadly popular chili dog, and the recent NYC phenomenon, the cronut.  A recent entry on the hybrid food scene: The wonut, a cross of a waffle and a donut

8/22/14: Dubious disavowals?: Dubious disavowals?

The logo for Dirty Bird, a restaurant that sells fried chicken at festivals and events around Wales, includes a lower case “d” and “b” stylized to look like a rooster with a white comb. For many, however, the image appears to be an ejaculating penis

9/1/14: Blowout, sleaze: Blowout, sleaze

Ads for gay porn often make playful use of words, such as announcing a “blowout sale” on videos that focus on the actors having oral sex, or shifting the meaning of a negative word (e.g., sleaze/sleazy) into something that is naughty and exciting

9/10/2014: Commercial playful morphology: Commercial playful morphology

Thoughts on two fun formations used in recent advertisements: “yummify” and “waffulicious”

9/19/14: Two from the Advocate: Two from The Advocate

Two items of linguistic interest in the Oct./Nov. 2014 issue of The Advocate: an ad from Burger King featuring “The Proud Whopper” and an article about the tv program Gothamwith an interesting instance of “the first X to …”

9/22/14: Bad to the Bone: Bad to the Bone

The phrase “bad to the bone” is best known as the title of a 1982 song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers, but it has also appeared as the title of at least two movies and in the name of barbecue restaurants scattered across the country, among other things

9/23/14: Puns and their allies: Puns and their allies

It starts with 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

9/27/14: Slush Puppies: Slush Puppies

Former peanut salesman Will Radcliffe of Cincinnati died recently at age 74, leaving behind the legacy of the Slush Puppie, a sweet, icy drink flavored like fruit or soda pop

10/24/14: The plural of Miss Subways: The plural of Miss Subways

Between 1941 and 1976, nearly 200 women laid claim to the title of Miss Subwaysin New York City. Given that “subways” is already plural, what is the best way to refer to this group of women?  The Miss Subwayses? The Miss Subways?

10/24/14: Familiarity: Familiarity

From One Big Happy, Ruthie confuses the unfamiliar phrase “stovepipe hat” with the more familiar brand name of “Stove Top stuffing”

12/6/14: Jeff Goldblum: Jeff Goldblum

Actor Jeff Goldblum has starred in a number of successful films (e.g, Jurassic Park, The Fly) and at least one television series (i.e., Law and Order: Criminal Intent); he is also an accomplished pianist

12/8/14: The Foster Farms Bowl: The Foster Farms Bowl

A sports feuilletonfrom Stanford sports news: The Foster Farms Bowl”, sponsored by Foster Farms Chicken

12/12/14: Kicked in the mascot: Kicked in the mascot

A Mother Goose and Grimm cartoon featuring mascots for restaurant and food brands

12/13/14: Burger King phallicity: Burger King phallicity

Regarding an unintentionally suggestive banner background at Burger King

12/16/14: Lapkins: Lapkins

Lapkin: a portmanteau of lap and napkin; word of dubious utility for a generously proportioned napkin

12/16/14: Telezippic communication: Telezippic communication

Zippy the Pinhead is thwarted in his efforts telepathically order a meal at the Main Street Diner in Plainville, CT

12/18/14: Audio-lingual meatballs: Audio-lingual meatballs

An opportunity to order albondigas (‘meatballs’) at Palo Alto’s Reposado restaurant generates fond memories of high school Spanish class and some of the odd phrases language teachers have students memorize and repeat

1/4/15: noseblind: noseblind

A continuing ad campaign for Febreze air freshener and odor eliminator products warns viewers to be wary of “noseblindness,” or sensory habituation to unpleasant odors in one’s everyday environment that are very noticeable to visitors

1/15/15: Shed your inhibitions: Shed your inhibitions

An ad from a recent campaign for Equinox Fitness has a guy showing that he’s “shed his inhibitions” by wielding a urinating Manneken Pis

1/22/15: Stanford news: the Sunday NYT: Stanford news: the Sunday NYT

Two Stanford linguistics stories from an issue of the Sunday New York Times: Choosing the Word of the Year at the American Dialect Society meetings (with Tyler Schnoebelen) and some of the sound-symbolic effects of product naming (with Will Leben)

1/23/15: Unintended ambiguity: Unintended ambiguity

A vintage (1936) promotional ad for the Willesden Electricity Dept. tells husbands “Don’t kill your wife with work! Let electricity do it.” Because do itis a VP anaphor as a whole, the reading ‘let electricity kill your wife’ is only too easy to get

1/25/15: What would you do?: What would you do?

In Mother Goose and Grimm, a polar bear barkeep tells a customer what he had to do to get his Klondike bar, making a pun on the well known slogan for the square, chocolate covered, ice cream treat

2/6/15: Two more morning names: Two more morning names

This week, two memorable morning names:Mitzi Kapture, an American actressbest known for her role on the US television series Silk Stalkings, and Piggly Wiggly, an American supermarket chain with more than 600 independently owned and operated stores

3/27/15: Reuben and Rachel: Reuben and Rachel

The ingredients of the classic Reuben sandwich are well known: Corned beef, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on rye bread.  The Rachel offers a variation on this theme, combining turkey or pastrami with cole slaw and French dressing or (!!!) barbecue sauce on rye

4/7/15: Specialists in International: Specialists in International

Shipping company DHL describes itself as “Your specialists in international.” Informally, this use of an adjective as a noun conveys something like ‘international delivery,’ but the implicit noun head isn’t uniquely identifiable

4/8/15: Stan Freberg: Stan Freberg

Satirist and 50s cultural icon Stan Freberg brought the mindset of Mad Magazine to radio, television, and print media, a legacy that lives on even after his recent death

4/15/15: Magnum: Magnum

Phallic ice cream bars, “plus sized” condoms, muscle cars, powerful handguns, and even a famously mustachioed t.v. private investigator — the label “Magnum” is often used to let us know something or someone is masculine, sexy, and larger than life

4/17/15: Annals of phallic reference: a real fireman’s nozzle: Annals of phallic reference: a real fireman’s nozzle

One has to wonder if the folks who generated the ad copy for the Mighty Blaster Fireman’s Nozzle intended for it to be so sexually suggestive…

4/26/15: Apologetic candy: Apologetic candy

Is any chocolate so delicious that it can make you forget how to do your job… or show up on time for your own wedding? The American company that makes Milky Way candy bars wants you think so

4/26/15: Morning: Great American Dream Machine: Morning: Great American Dream Machine

The Great American Dream Machine was an early 70s skit-based television program that focused on political comedy

5/8/15: L’eggo my Eggo!: L’eggo my Eggo!

The famous tagline for Kellogg’s frozen Eggo waffles has made a comeback, encouraging AMZ to do a little linguistic analysis of the oddly punctuated slogan

5/9/15: Flavor combos: Flavor combos

Sonic Drive-Ins allow customers to create their own milkshake “Master Blast flavor combos,” leading to innovative combinations like Waffleberry Brownie, Strawberry Pucker Pie, and the lyrically inspired Banana-Bo-Bana Crumble

5/10/15: Hatch NM: Hatch NM

Zippy goes to Hatch NM, which is famous for two things: green chiles and giant fiberglass figures that harken back to 1960s America

5/23/15: But wait!: But wait!

From the Mother Goose and Grimm comic, a strip about television commercials that offer a low priced product and follow the offer up with special “add on” items to make the deal even sweeter

5/28/15: Naming that company: Naming that company

Friends play with cute names for a knitting company they want to start, toying with choices like “The Yarn Barn” and “Knit Happens”

6/9/15: Annals of advertising: patriotism, sex, and overwhelming mouthfuls of food: Annals of advertising: patriotism, sex, and overwhelming mouthfuls of food

The fast food chain Carl’s Jr. is offering a new super patriotic sandwich, the Most American Thickburger — a giant cheeseburger topped with a hot dog and kettle cooked potato chips, and sampled with enthusiasm by a supermodel clad in an American flag bikini

6/25/15: Annals of advertising and poor taste: Annals of advertising and poor taste

A disturbing ad for Skittles has the candies infecting” those who partake with Skittles-pox,” which causes them to grow Skittles on their skin; others are then supposed to pull the Skittles off and eat them

6/28/15: An ebook: An ebook

An amusing visual pun in the form of an image of print book in the shape of the letter E — an ebook of a different sort!

7/18/15: Late summer porn sales: Late summer porn sales

Companies that sell gay porn videos like to offer “holiday discounts” on relevantly themed titles, but this is challenging in the summer, which has relatively few holidays beyond Independence Day and Pride

7/19/15: Protecting fictional brand names: Protecting fictional brand names

Real world companies have tried to capitalize on the name recognition of Duff Beer, a fictional alcoholic beverage from The Simpsons animated television program; this has resulted in numerous lawsuits brought by the Simpsons’ creators

7/31/15: Dingburg names: Dingburg names

From Dingburg, the hometown of Zippy the Pinhead and his fellow pinheads, comes a shout out to three brand names of the past: Ortega’s Snap E Tom tomato juice cocktail, Nestle’s Strawberry Quik, and Kleenex tissues featuring Little Lulu

8/3/15: Annals of fast-food excess: Annals of fast-food excess

Inspired by recent television commercials, a discussion of Wendys Baconator, Arby’s Loaded Italian Sandwich, and Subway’s Italian B.M.T. (Bigger, Meatier, Tastier) — giant sandwiches loaded with multiple meals worth of fat and calories

8/15/15: Crab feast: Crab feast

Regarding the various things that are referred to as “crabs,” some of which scientists would agree are crabs (i.e., “true crabs), some of which are related to true crabs, and some which are simply crab-like

8/23/15: Kraken! And GEICO!: Kraken! And GEICO!

A recent ad for insurance from GEICO features a Kraken emerging from a fairway pond during a golf tournament and attacking a nearby golfer while the whispering golf announcers describe the events

8/24/15: All things shark: All things shark

In honor of the Discovery Channel’s well known Shark Week and brand new Shweekend (i.e., Shark Weekend), a review of previous posts featuring sharks of different cultural sorts

9/14/15: Superpatriot hot dogs: Superpatriot hot dogs

An ad campaign for Ball Park Franks focuses heavily on the “Americanness” of the product and its flavor, although what America tastes like is not clear

9/18/15: Breadsticks: Breadsticks

The variety of things that count as a “breadstick” is almost as broad as the variety of things that count as a “restaurant”

10/10/15: Annals of phallicity: nozzles (and glycerine, lubes, and posing oils): Annals of phallicity: nozzles (and glycerin, lubes, and posing oils)

On the film, “Full Service,” nozzles as phallic symbols, and various glycerin-related topics, ending up in the world of bodybuilders and fighters, all in posing oils

10/11/15: Walsh plays with formulaic and conventional language: Walsh plays with formulaic and conventionalized language

Five panels by New Yorker cartoonist Liam Francis Walsh on formulaic, conventionalized, or clichéd language

10/13/15: Morning: the call of nature: Morning: the call of nature

Referring to the need to defecate or urinate as “nature’s call” (or something similar) dates back to the 1500s, so it’s not surprising that a long-time popular laxative, Serutan, took its name from “natures” spelled backwards

10/15/15: Lightning strike: Lightning strike

An Australian underwear ad touts the “electrifying” colors in which its latest product is available

10/19/15: Rafe on display: Rafe on display

Some thoughts on the “headless” models in many high-end men’s underwear ads and the various meanings of “stuffed”

10/24/15: A regrettable food name: A regrettable food name

The name “dump cake” looks like a N + N compound, and not one of the possibly relevant senses of the noun “dump” is at all savory, and one is decidedly unsavory, on the edge of scatological taboo

10/27/15: Pop-tart blasphemy: Pop-Tart blasphemy

The anti-LGBT hate group One Million Moms demanded a Pop-Tart commercial be taken off the air because its tag line, “No, jam it!” sounded too much like swearing (i.e., “No, damn it!”). This claim is puzzling for English speakers for whom “jam” and “damn” don’t even rhyme…

11/3/15: Breasts and bras: Breasts and bras

Bra ads tend to be suffused with sex. They are aimed at both men (who find the bra-breast association arousing) and women looking to use a bra to arouse men — though as with Tisdale, women are often searching for a comfortable bra, not necessarily an arousing one

11/5/15: Clean underwear: Clean underwear

Quality toilet paper must do three things: disintegrate in water, withstand vigorous wiping; and not irritate the user. A recent Charmin Ultra Soft commercial suggests a fourth responsibility: keeping one’s underwear free of skid marks

11/8/15: ExtenZe: ExtenZe

Regarding ExtenZe, a well advertised herbal supplement for “male enhancement,” which relies on ingredients from various folk traditions that are purported to enlarge the penis, lengthen the duration of erection, and increase one’s energy level

11/17/15: Novelty ties: Novelty ties

On the front page of the NYT, a color-splash of an ad for Salvatore Ferragamo novelty ties, 100% silk, selling for $190 each. From the collection of Steven Levine, two quirky vintage ties with abstract designs

11/23/15: Nugenix: Nugenix

About the herbal supplement Nugenix, which is advertised as a natural way to boost men’s testosterone and sexual performance

11/28/15: The revolution in men’s underwear: The revolution in men’s underwear

Men’s underwear has evolved a number of premium brandsthat emphasize not just comfort but also style and sexiness, and offer a step up from basic brands like Fruit of the Loom and Jockey. Now the next stage: luxury brands starting at three figures

12/2/15: I love my Jack Adams: I love my Jack Adams

In its ads, the underwear firm Jack Adams focuses on masculinity, with an unmistakable homoerotic subtext, though its statements are tamer, emphasizing athleticism and stylishness

12/28/15: Extreme underwear, some in rainbow: Extreme underwear, some in rainbow

Two astonishing offers from StevenEven premium underwear’s Pikante collection: a double rainbow band thong brief, and a piece of extraordinary pouchwear, the Castro bikini brief

1/8/16: Cereal mascots: Cereal mascots

“Kid cereal” is notoriously over sweetened, so it’s unsurprising when Ruthie’s grandfather (One Big Happy) asks his wife if they have any “adult cereal.” Modern use of “adult” to mean “pornographic” makes the request somewhat more suggestive — and amusing — than intended

1/9/16: More on the Bundy Bunch: More on the Bundy Bunch

A clever mash-up, representing the confluence of two very silly themes issuing from an utterly serious news story, about the armed occupation and ensuing standoff in Oregon led by rancher Ammon Bundy

1/10/16: Get Sporty: Get Sporty

A Daily Jocks ad encourages its customers to “get sporty,” which leads to discussion young gay men engaging in rough trade, the movie “Get Shorty,” and the writing of Elmore Leonard

1/13/16: An eruption of bromanteaus: An eruption of bromanteaus

Just when you thought that the ship of bromanteaus and other brocabulary had long ago sailed into oblivion, Geico comes along with a recent ad campaign that erupts with goofy brocabulary, including gems like “brofessor,” “brotato chip,” “brotein shake,” and “Teddy Broosevelt”

1/13/16: Head scratcher: Head scratcher

A Daily Jocks ad, this time for Diesel underwear, featuring a handsome, head scratching model

2/6/16: The Super Bowl looms: The Super Bowl looms

On Super Bowl 50, a gay gangbang, language play in porn, and the careening career of gay pornstar Dayton O’Connor, all of this inspired by an ad under the header C1R Locker Room Super Bowl Pass”

2/15/16: Another entry in the monstrous food sweepstakes: Another entry in the monstrous food sweepstakes

A spectacular entry in the competition for outrageous fast food, The Counter, home of elaborately customizable burgers and sandwiches like the Un-Brie-lievable, the Anaheim Jack, the Bison with Bite, the Red Eye, and the Southeast Asian Ahi

3/4/16: Trent Atkins, a great bottom: Trent Atkins, a great bottom

About the presentation of a sexual self, the structuring of gay porn, and the vocabulary for talking about these things, accompanied (of course!) by pictures

3/5/16: Tinging the scalene triangle: Tinging the scalene triangle

An imagined, imbalanced love triangle among three hunks in various styles and colors of 2eros men’s luxury underwear

3/10/16: The news for testicles: The news for testicles

Information about the NutSac company, which makes man-bags

3/12/16: Fruit loops: Fruit loops

The term “fruit loop” can refer to a variety of unexpected things, including a sugary breakfast cereal, a crazy person, and the loop on the back of Oxford shirts for hanging up said shirts in a locker

3/12/16: Sweet nothings: candy, cereal, advertising: Sweet nothings: candy, cereal, advertising

A bit about Froot Loops cereal inspired by a One Big Happy cartoon

3/17/16: Boxing: Boxing

Ah, fly-front boxers from Pump! and with a provocatively playful and endearing aesthetic!

3/19/16: Sugar bombs: Sugar bombs

From Calvin and Hobbes, a boy enjoys the sweetest of sweet cereals, aptly named Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs”

3/22/16: The dubious commercial names files: The dubious commercial names files

On some questionable names for a shop that does Brazilian waxing and one that serves raw oysters

3/22/16: Annals of naming (and lexical semantics and libfixes): Annals of naming (and lexical semantics and libfixes)

Zippy wanders across a surreal landscape, offering two items of linguistic interest: the name of the character “Premium Cruiseline” and the form poodle-napping (with the libfix -nap)

3/22/16: Annals of dubious commercial names: Annals of dubious commercial names

The Hand Job Nails & Spa shop in San Francisco has chosen to run with the double entendre of their name and include a variety of sexy options on their list of manicures, pedicures, and other services

3/25/16: Hillstone Restaurants and the Hillstone Group: Hillstone Restaurants and the Hillstone Group

The Hillstone Group is the umbrella organization for a variety of restaurants, many with local-friendly names to help the company avert ordinances and laws having to do with chains)

4/2/16: Color scheme: Color scheme

Several images from the Supawear Fruitopia underwear line

4/4/16: The watermelon files: The watermelon files

A startling ad from the Australian premium underwear company Supawear features a black man in a field of watermelon slices — an image that will evoke a racist stereotype, no matter what the intentions of the creators were

4/7/16: Tastee days: Tastee days

Zippy encounters TasteeFreez the Elf, an ice cream chain mascot who has seen better days

4/10/2016: Magnitude boys: Magnitude boys

A pair of ripped guys in red, white, and blue underwear, along with some original verse

4/13/16: nookie: nookie

On the meanings, etymology, and pop culture manifestations of the word “nookie”

4/18/16: Meet the Wieners, stampeding in buns: Meet the Wieners, stampeding in buns

Just what you would expect from a Super Bowl ad: Dachshunds in hot dog buns and a team of ketchups

4/22/16: Joe Orlando: a cartoonist and his sea-monkeys: Joe Orlando: a cartoonist and his sea-monkeys

The cartoonist’s art in a somewhat unexpected place: an ad for Sea-Monkeys from the 1960s, showing a Sea-Monkey family of three

4/30/16: The masturbation sleeve: The masturbation sleeve

Much to talk about here — male masturbation devices, spellings, the name Accujac, the expression jack off, the noun orifice, music legend Prince, and more…

5/12/16: Annals of advertising: the Slack animals: Annals of advertising: the Slack animals

“All kinds of people, on all kinds of teams, use Slack to do amazing things!” If you don’t believe it, just check out this adorable — and very effective — advertisement for the popular productivity-focused communication tool

5/15/16: A fine commercial portmanteau: A fine commercial portmanteau

What do you brand rugged work clothes that help keep you cool? If you are the Duluth Trading Complany, the answer is an amusing portmanteau: ARMADILLO (for its tough protective scales) + CHILL (for cooling ability) = Armachillo

5/17/16: Pebbles: pebbles:

A Mother Goose and Grimm cartoon that plays on the connection between “LGBT” and “fruity”

5/28/16: Two word-play cartoons: Two word-play cartoons

Two cartoons, one Bizarro and one New Yorker, with humor that depends on a combination of a pun and an absurd juxtaposition of real life situations

6/10/16: Ho Ho trees, Ho Ho logs: Ho Ho trees, Ho Ho logs

Where do chocolatey, cream-filled Ho Ho logs come from? If you believe Zippy,they come from Ho Ho trees in the Ho Ho forest

6/10/16: Another dubious name: Another dubious name

Another chapter in the annals of dubious and unfortunate names: the convenience store chain Kum & Go

6/11/16: Schmitts Gay Beer: Schmitts Gay Beer

A “best of SNL” skit turns the tables on the beer commercial trope in which beautiful, scantily clad women prance about for the entertainment of not-necessarily-handsome heteroguys of who are drinking a particular brand

6/12/2016: Name play in Basingstoke: Name play in Basingstoke

A skim coat plasterer in the UK has a little fun with their take on the moniker of British DJ and record producer Fat Boy Slim

6/15/2016: Cross-commercial fertilization: Cross-commercial fertilization

The Kool-Aid Man busts through a wall and into the living room of a Progressive Insurance customer, summoning Progressive spokesperson Flo to save the day

7/1/2016: Big and cool and tangentially surreal: Big and cool and tangentially surreal

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

7/15/16: Time to refuel: Time to refuel

Some lovely ads from the 1930s for the Zwicky Ltd., Refuelling Specialists

7/18/16: The Insolence and the Ecstasy: The Insolence and the Ecstasy

From hot guys with skimpy briefs to hot gods with wings

8/9/16: Advances in the fast food world: Advances in the fast food world

Cross Burger King’s famous Whopper with a burrito and you get two things: The Whopperrito and an amusing fast food portmanteau

8/9/16: Dick’s rhyme: Dick’s rhyme

From Daily Jock, an ad for “cheeky” briefs featuring a hunky model dubbed “Dick” straddling an inflatable banana

8/9/16: Advances in the fast food world: Advances in the fast food world

Burger King’s latest offering is the Whopperrito, all the ingredients of a Whopper in a tortilla, with quest traded out for the hamburger’s traditional mayonnaise

8/13/16: Lance the versatile: Lance the versatile

A recent Teamm8 Activ8s ad for graphic leggings and a matching, reversible jacket features hunky model dubbed “Lance”

8/31/16: On foot patrol, part 1: On foot patrol, part 1

Regarding two expeditions involving feet — getting new shoes and getting a pedicure — which revealed some interesting new food options available in downtown Palo Alto: sushirritos and umami burgers

9/5/16: Rainbow ads: Rainbow ads

As the LGBT travel issue, the August/September issue of The Advocate has a number of ads that incorporate the colors of the Pride flag to inspire LGBT travelers to spend their money in various enjoyable and interesting ways

10/14/16: Pun days: Pun days

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

10/17/16: Workin’ Blue at the Car Wash: Workin’ Blue at the Car Wash

The expression “hand job” is widespread at car washes to refer provocatively to hand-washing, playing on the vulgar slang for masturbating a man

10/20/16: Tradenaming: Tradenaming

Some tradenames are clearly combinations of (parts of) two existing words — so, portmanteaus, or at least sort of like portmanteaus; other cases are much less clear

10/26/16: Made for you: Made for you

An image from Daily Jocks featuring Andrew Christian underwear

11/6/16: True Confessions Ripped from the Tabloids: True Confessions Ripped from the Tabloids

Some light commentary on ad copy for Timoeo jock straps

11/17/16: The superb object of his attention: The superb object of his attention

A picture of hunky guy in underwear with a somewhat suggestive caption

11/18/16: Apostrophic moments: Apostrophic moments

Punctuating possessives and plurals in written English is something of a minefield, resulting in some advertisers seemingly sprinkling apostrophes around at will (e.g., kid’s wear, ladie’s wear, and mens wear in the same catalog)

11/20/16: Blue-Emu: Blue-Emu

Blue-Emu pain relief products combine trolamine salicylate with oil made from emu fat into a variety of forms: cream, spray, and lotion

12/4/16: Twin Kings: Twin Kings

Burger King has a long series of tv ads showing two people enjoying BK specials while bantering and wearing their BK golden crowns. One features two young black guys, twins, doing a black street” style of speech and gesture while being playful and goofy.

12/24/16: Pharmaceutical morning names: Pharmaceutical morning names

The multi-national pharmaceutical company name AstraZeneca leads to Astrud Zeneca, a Brazilian singer famous for her performance of the song The Girl from Ipana” touting Bristol-Myers Squibb products

1/4/17: Jizzball: Jizzball

The jizzball is a tool used in the porn industry to simulate ejaculation and make sure that the “big cum shot” meets visual expectations

1/11/17: Genuine mink jock: Genuine mink jock

A preposterous vintage 70s fashion ad for a fur jock strap, available in three fashion colors!

1/18/17: Fruity Fruit Froot: Fruity Fruit Froot

A host of food names highlight the foods’ fruity — sometimes even “frooty” — flavor, including Juicy Fruit gum, Good & Fruity candy, Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity Pancakes, and Fruity Cheerios, and Froot Loops

1/21/17: Annals of double entendre: Annals of double entendre

A 1960s ad for Winston Super Kings takes advantage of the symbolically phallic potential of cigarettes that has long been exploited in advertising

1/22/17: Poppin’ Fresh in a pink dress: Poppin’ Fresh in a pink dress

A Rhymes With Orangecartoon portrays the kinky side of the Pillsbury Doughboy, Poppin’ Fresh (the advertising icon and mascot of the Pillsbury Company), in an adorable pink skirt made fun a paper cupcake liner

2/18/17: Stud Finder: Stud Finder

A film compilation of scenes featuring TitanMen.com star Trenton Ducati and bit of titular word play

2/23/17: Coded!: Coded!

The p.r. copy for premium men’s underwear tends to be profoundly serious: elevated and sweeping, both grandiose and worshipful in tone — and therefore really funny

2/24/17: Demented p.r. pitches, absurd ad copy: Demented p.r. pitches, absurd ad copy

From high end real estate opportunities to prestige underwear and gay porn, advertisers generate some absurd copy when trying to sell to wealthy customers and those who would like to become wealthy

3/2/17: Annals of p.r. pitches: Annals of p.r. pitches

An amusing exchange about advertising optimization between a blogger and a scam artist posing as a marketing representative.  Also, there are ponies.

3/13/17: Risible (faux-)commercial name: Risible (faux-)commercial name

Thoughts and wordplay related to using Dick in a commercial name

3/27/17: The demented rabbit p.r. pitch: The demented rabbit p.r. pitch

On a hologram, Hoppy the Easter Bunny, that is a digital adventure for your windows

3/29/17: Another phenomenally bad idea: Another phenomenally bad idea

On sweet hummus, being glittery and gay, and the opposition of sweet or savory,

4/4/17: Quick, Bruce, the blat!: Quick, Bruce, the blat!

Thoughts on the verb blat, which range through a thicket of associations having to do with beer, bars, baseball bats, the Platte River in Nebraska, and then to chiropterans, Die Fledermaus, Bruce Wayne and his boy wonder, vampires, and a lot of mansex

4/9/2017: The trophy boys park the beef bus in tuches town: The trophy boys park the beef bus in tuches town

On trophy boys, the underwear they might wear to advertise their wares, and a bit of Yiddish

4/29/17: Appeal to base instinct: Appeal to base instinct

A Daily Jocks ad with an appeal to base, or low, instincts; to the basic, or fundamental, instinct of sexual appetite; and ultimately to an appreciation of the fundamental, or basilar, that is, gluteal

5/1/17: Like a mayfly: Like a mayfly

A Bizarro comic strip takes a swipe at a controversial Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner that was so quickly pulled from the airwaves, its existence seems as ephemeral as a mayfly

5/5/17: blue jack: blue jack

Blue jack can be everything from a a sliceable bleu cheese made from Monterey Jack, one or more varieties of fish, a slang term for ‘masturbation accompanied by dirty talk’, or ‘a depressed jackrabbit’; the list goes on and on

5/10/17: Regional potato chips: Regional potato chips

Today’s bon appétit top story, “Regional Potato Chips You’ve Never Heard Of”

5/15/17: Names in the comics: Names in the comics

From One Big Happy, a painful pun: “Creighton Barrel” as a take on the name of home store Crate & Barrel. Also, a bit on the names Creighton and Barrel(l).

5/21/17: Audiences: Audiences

Two recent cartoons, a One Big Happy in which the grandmother copes with black street speech with an app for her audience; and a Doonesbury in which marijuana companies tailor their products and their advertising for gay and black audiences

5/24/17: Dressing for June: Dressing for June

As part of the run-in to Pride Month, June-July issue of Out magazine has a page on clothes for the occasion, including shoes, socks, shirts, and several kinds of underwear

5/25/17: Light, and sometimes mixed: Light, and sometimes mixed

On Bud Light specialty drinks advertised on a British double decker bus, accompanied by the ostentatious neologism smoothified and some boastful, self-mocking claims related to British stereotypes about Americans

5/31/17: The eve of Pride Month: The eve of Pride Month

A variety of gay porn sales

6/5/17: Not until you’ve fried it: Not until you’ve fried it

An easy pun — fried for tried — on a formulaic expression, “Don’t knock it until / ’til / till you’ve tried it,” in service of an exhortation to enjoy Spam by frying it just like ham

6/6/17: Distracting moments in gay male erotica: Distracting moments in gay male erotica

From A Rewarding Day of Hunting to PokeTwink Bedroom, very sleek, young looking men wearing Pokemon paraphernalia get it on in a genre of gay porn that is decidedly not to everyone’s taste

6/7/17: The word came down on Pentecost: The word came down on Pentecost

Four language-related strips onPentecost: One Big Happy, Rhymes With OrangeZits, and xkcd. Also, a digression on flaming tongues: in music, in the plant world, and in mansex.

6/18/17: Briefly: a demented p.r. pitch, an off-the-rails headline: Briefly: a demented p.r. pitch, an off-the-rails headline

Regarding “one of the five must-have cannabis apps” (who knew the field of must-have cannabis apps was so crowded?) and the linguistically interesting CNN headline “Woman Drowns Attacking Raccoon With Bare Hands”

6/19/17: Sales talk: Sales talk

This Bizarro cartoons blends bits of the old American West and strategies for selling cars

6/20/17: The terrible truth about bubble wrap: The terrible truth about bubble wrap

Some media images involving silly plays on words, such as bubble wrap coming from bubble sheep and naugahyde coming from wild naugas

6/28/17: More Magrittean disavowals: More Magrittean disavowals

One in a long series of Zippy strips about Tod Browning’s film Freaks, the characters in it, and the actors who played them. Also one in a long series of strips referring to the Magrittean disavowal, a contradiction between text and image.

7/13/17: The running of the bulldogs: The running of the bulldogs

Running of the Bulldogs” arrives in the latest series of GEICO tv ads and features a silly play on the running of the bulls

7/13/17: pretzel dog: pretzel dog

about the N + N compound pretzel dog, and its many possible understandings: a dog that delivers pretzels, a dog that likes pretzels, a dog twisted into the shape of a pretzel, a dog-like object made of pretzels, and so on

7/15/17: Brewster Rockit to the rescue: Brewster Rockit to the rescue

From the Brewster Rockit comic strip, male characters disrespect and irritate their female colleague, Pamela Mae Snap (aka Irritable Belle), through mansplaining and manfixing

7/15/17: Ostentatious euphemisms: Ostentatious euphemisms

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

7/16/17: The company darling: The company darling

N2N Bodywear is a clothing company that offers adventurous clothing primarily targeted at gay men

7/20/17: Ovaltine mornings: Ovaltine mornings

Wake up gay in the morning with Ovaltine, Midol, and/or other common products to make you happy and carefree in ways you might not have expected!

7/21/17: Getting into harness: Getting into harness

People harness up for a variety of reasons, including displaying their bodies (for commando and bulldog harnesses, highlighting the pecs) and enjoying the feeling of being constrained

8/2/17: Annals of sweetness: Annals of sweetness

A tv ad spot for Minute Maid Premium Fruit Punch takes elaborate care not to claim that there’s any fruit at all in the punch nor any of the citrus fruit juices that the Minute Maid company is famous for

8/6/17: Words as weapons, images as ideas: Words as weapons, images as ideas

Illustrators inspire support for the U.S. and its military through memorable posters targeting native born Americans and immigrants

8/10/17: Kangaroo Paste, the Australian hair gel: Kangaroo Paste, the Australian hair gel

The “Bounty Hunters” episode of the tv series Psychincludes a bit of mischievous product placement for a (fictional) Australian hair gel for men called Kangaroo Paste

8/11/17: Billy the Berlin Barboy: Billy the Berlin Barboy

Regarding underwear and men’s bodies, plus gaydolls and some homoerotic art

8/17/17: Skinless wieners: Skinless wieners

It’s not clear whether these ads for “skinless weiners” from the 1940s were created in-house at Visking/Viskase or farmed out to an ad agency, but the creators seem to have been unaware of the possible dangers of using “eat,”  “skinless,” “wieners,” and “fairy” in a single ad campaign

8/23/17: Bluto says: join or else: Bluto says: join or else

Syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic analysis of some arguably aggressive ads for men’s underwear world

8/27/17: Turkey Perky Jerky: Turkey Perky Jerky

Playful commentary on the turkey type of Perky Jerky brand jerky

8/27/17: Solid Chet and lean Bo: Solid Chet and lean Bo

Images and discussion for a Daily Jock’s ad for various high-end swim trunks for men

9/1/17: BBC for Labor Day: BBC for Labor Day

Sean Xavier, unadorned: no props, no flags, no picnic supplies, just a big black man with a BBC — big black cock

10/20/17: The pumpkin spice cartoon meme: The pumpkin spice cartoon meme

The end of a series of mocking Pumpkin Spice cartoon memes, ranging from the most concrete (i.e., pumpkin spice lattes), through pumpkin spice more generally as a flavor in foods, and then just a scent in non-food products, to the fully abstract sense (i.e., pumpkin spice grade gasoline)

10/20/17: A processed food flavor: A processed food flavor

Pumpkin on its own is bland. What to do, if you’re not fond of bland? Pumpkin pie can get some pizazz from spices — especially cinnamon and nutmeg, also used to flavor eggnog, for similar reasons.  But what exactly is the phenomenon of “pumpkin spice” all about?

10/25/2017: Revisiting 10: Dare, sweet spice: Revisiting 10: Dare, sweet spice

Once more unto the pumpkin spice, dear friends, once more. This time, we explore various treats made under the Dare brand label, including Ultimate Pumpkin Spice Creme cookies

11/3/17: On the pickle watch: On the pickle watch

A wry bit of bilingual word play inspired by a photo of Alex Jaker at the Mr. Pickle’s in Millbrae CA, very near SFO. Given the alternative Latin 3rd declensionneutral for the noun meaning ‘fish sauce, herrings, pickle’, Alex is Mr. Pickle.

11/6/17: Exercises in commercial style: Exercises in commercial style

Two recent pieces of p.r. ad-talk, both touting a preposterous product: a podcast about the facets and opportunities” of death; a notebook of paper infused with the proprietary scent of a tech company.

11/13/17: Environmentally responsible derivation: Environmentally responsible derivation

General Mills starts with an ordinary noun sourceand an ordinary verb sustain and eventually works its way to the adverb sustainably as a modifier of a verb source, strikingly in the split infinitive construction to sustainably source

11/14/17: Igor®, the Siberian shape-shifter: Igor®, the Siberian shape-shifter

Maskulo, perhaps a take on the Spanish más culo ‘more ass’, is a new company offering a variety of men’s fetishwear made by other companies.  Their models bear a striking resemblance to Sinthetics top-of-the-line sex dolls

11/17/17: Rice pudding in the land of quilted steel: Rice pudding in the land of quilted steel

Zippy takes the reader to the Schuyler Diner in Lyndhurst NJ, where Zippy and Griffy debate quilted steel while on the prowl for rice pudding: diner chic.

11/21/17: Pengaddendum: Xmas 2014: Pengaddendum: Xmas 2014

Three news bulletins for the commercial Christmas season involving penguin news and holiday news

11/24/17: BF pornopaloozas: BF pornopaloozas

Ads for gay porn sales on Black Friday feature a variety of sexy, muscular men, with a focus on Black actors

1/11/18: Electric underwear: Electric underwear

Celebrating queer fetishwear that glows in the dark, in four neon colors (blue, green, yellow, red) and rainbow, either in solid or flashing mode, for “guys who are ready to light up the night!”.

1/16/18: Reindeer and lynx — and wolves and bears, oh my!: Reindeer and lynx — and wolves and bears, oh my!

An ad for Helsinki Athletica underwear feature men’s upscale briefs in bright animal prints

1/20/18: Objects of carnal desire: Objects of carnal desire

Some images from the 2018 Pump! calendar, featuring hunky guys in tight boxer briefs

1/22/18: An infestation of rodentiphobia: An infestation of rodentiphobia

Quick thoughts on a a stylish pair of men’s white cotton briefs

1/24/18: This week’s stellar typo: This week’s stellar typo

An English spelling mistake in a foreign-made ad for a male enhancement product fuels a discussion of liquid pears and liquid pearls

2/8/18: The Sex Games: The Sex Games

A recent Daily Jocks ad\ for Garçon Model underwear inspires poetry and other reflections about gladiatorial combat

2/13/18: Up in every way: Up in every way

The rap song “All the Way Up” by Fat Joe and Remy Ma takes advantage of a variety of meanings for the title phrase, including being up in spirits, high on drugs, at the peak of success, having the advantage on competitors, and being sexually aroused

2/20/18: Butch homowear news for dogs: Butch homowear news for dogs

Fantasy homowear from the Velocity series for big butch scruffy hairy guys, not at all like the classic underwear model, who’s all sleek and smooth

2/27/18: In service to Erebus: In service to Erebus

The Erebus line of underwear sells a fantasy of men’s bodies as objects of sexual desire, but it’s also wrapping this in an elaborate fantasy of delicious dark dirtiness, made somewhat less outrageous by framing it all as coming from Greek myth.

2/28/18: Putting the carnal in Carnival: Putting the carnal in Carnival

Some Daily Jocks ads that largely abandon the pretense of selling comfort, support, and style in favor of providing outright soft gay porn; and a look back at a gay hard porn classic, Kristen Bjorn’s Carnaval in Rio.

3/6/18: Annals of advertising: Dollar Shave Club: Annals of advertising: Dollar Shave Club

Regarding three video ads from Dollar Shave Club — Buttery Dunes”, Butter Safe Than Sorry”, and Let’s Talk About #2” — each full of double entendres, raunchy images, puns, and absurdity

3/9/18: The further adventures of Dick Danger: The further adventures of Dick Danger

Hard-core playfulness with comic book dicks ‘private detectives, private eyes’ and a parodic allusion to The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye”, which is itself a parody of hard-boiled dicks on the Sam Spade model.

3/15/18: MerBros and more: MerBros and more

From AdWeek on February 1st, Poseidon and a Couple of Mer-Bros Vouch for Gorton’s in the Best Fish-Stick Ads Ever: Plus, an incredibly grateful castaway” by Gabriel Beltrone

3/15/18: I wandered lonely as a pork cloud: I wandered lonely as a pork cloud

Pork clouds: what the Bacon’s Heir company has named their version of chicharrones, aka (fried) pork rinds, which they believe are so fluffy that they have to be thought of as a kind of pork puffs.

3/15/18: It’s hard, ain’t it hard: It’s hard, ain’t it hard

The new ads for Henry’s hard soda introduce a potential double entendre through the slogan “good, hard fun.”

3/15/18: Cumshots from muscle daddies: Cumshots from muscle daddies

Notes on a couple of gay porn flicks, including Cumshots (Vol. 1) and Muscle Daddies, as well as linguistic notes about the compounds cumshot and muscle daddy, a note on a cocktail called, among other things, the Cum Shot.

3/20/18: Perfectionist in pink sequin: Perfectionist in pink sequin

Musings on pink, sequined clothing for men, inspired by a Daily Jocks ad for a pink, sequined thong from Marco Marco

3/26/18: DeacccentingDeacccenting:

In a recent ad for the CarGurus website, some speakers deaccent the first syllabus of “gurus”, resulting in a pronunciation that effaces a semantically important part of the company’s name

3/30/18: Pride Time #5: on Barceloneta beach: Pride Time #5: on Barceloneta beach

Underwear men, Catalonia, gay life, Barcelona beaches, art and architecture, and, eventually, food

4/4/18: More 1970s underwear: More 1970s underwear

Some entertaining classic ads for men’s underwear, with captions and commentary

…….

Entries above this line prepared by Kim Darnell. New entries below:

4/19/18: Erective affinities: Erective affinities
Ad copy for a Daily Jocks sale on swimwear

4/23/18: A war of initialism: A war of initialism
Marketing of products via reinterpreted initialisms

4/27/18: Don’t deny your cravings: Don’t deny your cravings
Ad campaign for Black Diamond almonds: Don’t deny your cravings. Eat them.

5/8/18: My skivvies are my lifestyle: My skivvies
Overblown ad for Modus Vivendi underwear

5/10/18: slide in(to) (y)our DM’s: slide in our DM’s
ad copy for Don Moris and DannyMiami underwear

5/12/18: Down and dirty underwear for Mothers Day: Down and dirty underwear
ad copy for Cellblock13 underwear

5/12/18: For Mother’s Day: For Mothers Day
ad copy for TitanMen porn

5/14/18: Psychiatrist Meme Day: Psychiatrist Meme Day
Oscar Mayer Wiener song

5/20/18: The egg patrol: plastic to porcelain: The egg patrol
ads for Egglettes, Eggies

5/20/18: Blue light special: Blue light special
ad for Breedwell harnesses and underwear

6/8/18: I love Moscow with chocolate syrup on top: I love Moscow

6/26/18: JOR: LATINO SPIRIT: JOR:LATINO SPIRIT
ad copy for Jor wear in general and specifically for Jor Pride Swim Trunks

7/27/18: I Am Your Bottom: I Am Your Bottom
ad copy for Helsinki Athletica underwear

8/12/18: Why choose when you can have both?: Why choose?
“better together” ads: for Pepsi + Lays potato chips, for Control condoms + lube, for Oreos as promoting connections between people

8/14/18: Butch fagginess: Butch fagginess
Daily Jocks ad copy for Barcode Berlin underwear

8/18/18: Morning names: Hai Karate, Dirk Diggler: Hai Karate, Dirk Diggler
ads for Hai Karate aftershave

8/21/18: Jo Flamingo: Jo Flamingo
Daily Jocks ad copy for Marco Marco underwear

8/29/18: Bruce Weber II: the photographer’s gaze: Bruce Weber II
Weber photos in advertising for men’s clothing

9/17/18: The news for shoes: The news for shoes
evocatively poetic copy for Wanda Panda women’s footwear

10/6/18: Twisting in the wind: Twisting in the wind
sky dancers as advertisements; advertisements for Air Dancers

 


%d bloggers like this: