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Posts Tagged ‘advertisement’

Is it just us or has there been an increase in grammatical misuse in tag lines, advertisements, and TV commercials lately? As many of you know, we have been feuding with Hanes for a few years over their “lay-flat” collar ads – to no avail.

Looks like we have a couple of new opponents to take on:

StriVectin

MORE SCIENCE. LESS WRINKLES.” & “More science. Less eye lines.”

FORD

“MORE GO. LESS STOPS.”

In addition, a faithful follower writes,

“Ugh!  Have you seen the Mercedes commercial?! “More technology, less doors.” I’m hoping it’s really clever and I just don’t understand it. Surely the grammar couldn’t be that bad, could it?”

We encourage you to look back to our posts on the subject “Less” vs. “Fewer”.

Would these grammar goofs affect your buying decisions?

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Quite a while ago, we blogged about a grammar error in a TV commercial for Chef Michael’s Dog Food.

See our post: Identity crisis …

“My name is Chef Michael and my dog Bailey and me love to hang out in the kitchen …” Should be: I.

We are very pleased to report that this grammar goof has been corrected!

This is our slogan in action: “we find it, you fix it.” Thanks for listening, Chef Michael’s!

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SPAM

(click here to read about SPAM®)

From The Writer’s Almanac 7-5-09

It was on this day in 1937 that SPAM came onto the market. The canned meat product from Hormel Foods Corporation was given its name by a contest winner; the prize for his ingenuity was $100. On one  occasion, a Hormel spokesperson said the name was short for ‘Shoulder of Pork and Ham’; on another, a company official said it was a conflation of the words ‘spice and ham.’ All sorts of parodic acronyms have circulated over the years, including ‘Something Posing As Meat.’ The  original recipe, still sold as the ‘Classic’ flavor, contains pork shoulder and ham meat, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrate. There’s a gelatinous glaze on top, which forms like that after the broth cools down.

Spam sold in the Americas is mostly produced in Austin, Minnesota — ‘Spam Town USA’ and home of the SPAM  museum. Hawaii’s residents consume more Spam per capita than the residents of any other state, and the canned meat has been nicknamed ‘The Hawaiian Steak.’ Spam is the main course in the Israeli Defense Force’s combat meal kits, but the pork is replaced by beef so that it’s kosher.

There’s a Monty Python sketch that came out in 1970 where the actors go into a cafe; and try to order breakfast, but almost everything on the menu contains Spam. One woman doesn’t want Spam in her breakfast and gets into an argument with the waitress, who tells her that the menu consists of ‘Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam.’ It’s from this Monty Python sketch that ‘spam’ acquired the use so familiar today: unwanted or unsolicited e-mail. The first recorded  use of the word in this way is in 1993. It’s also become a verb in the English language, for the action of sending out spam.

And the word ‘spam’ itself, untranslated, is now a noun in French, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. The verb ‘to spam’ in German is ‘spammen’; in Czech the verb is ‘spamovat’;  and in Italian it’s ‘spammare.’ There’s a new Monty Python’s musical, SPAMALOT, currently playing in San Francisco.

And now, for our word of the day:

Spam. noun, verb, spammed, spamming.

1. Trademark. a canned food product consisting esp. of pork formed into a solid block.

–noun 2. (lowercase) a disruptive, esp. commercial message posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail.

–verb (used with object) 3. (lowercase) to send spam to.

–verb (used without object) 4. (lowercase) to send spam.
——————————————————————————–

Origin: (def. 1) sp(iced) + (h)am; 1990–95; referring to a comedy routine on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Brit. TV series.

Be sure to see our related posts:

Sources: The Writer’s Almanac, dictionary.com

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A while back, we wrote a post called “Breaking with the past …” in which we explored some rules for and exceptions to forming the past tense, especially with the “… ink” words.

Last night, we saw a TV commercial … for SLIMQUICK™ … that riled us up again.

slimquick

Here’s the quote from the not-so-slim cartoon woman on the TV ad … she says to/about her slimming male counterpart:

“We’re trying to lose weight, so we cut out junk food. I shrunk one size. He shrunk six sizes.”

Goodness! This is slim (actually, grim) grammar. Come on, the past tense of shrink is shrank

Just to make sure we heard correctly, we replayed the spot several times, in disbelief. Why are we always so shocked at advertising grammar goofs? (click here to see another example) After all, an advertising great (copywriter for such brands as Hanes, Walmart, Discover, and eTrade) once wrote to us, and we quote, “… honestly, grammar doesn’t mean much in advertising.” Still, it ruffles our feathers when we hear companies allow such blatant English language slaughter on the TV airwaves (and cable). Maybe our consolation must be that if there are not these gaffes, we wouldn’t have much to blog about?

Your thoughts?

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We have long been “Peppers” … fans of the 10, the 2, and the 4, the “King of Beverages” and “The Most Original Soft Drink Ever” … even basking in the soda pop celebrity of having met the owner of the oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant in … well, the world! Dublin, Texas (outside of Ft. Worth) is home to this plant that is the last holdout for pure cane sugar (instead of high fructose corn syrup) in their drinks. But, we digress …

This week, we were dismayed to hear a grammar goof in a TV commercial for the 23 flavors. The latest Dr Pepper “Trust me – I’m a Doctor” campaign may be a boost for Dr. Dre (rapper, record producer, actor) – their  spokesman, however, it has grammar protectors running for a remedy. Here’s the gaffe:

“Scientific tests prove … when you drink Dr. Pepper slow, the 23 flavors taste even better.”

Now, slow may produce hits for Dr. Dre, as he claims in this ad, and if we were, with an adjective, describing this tasteful treat, slow would be fine. In this case, though, the traditional and proper usage is slowly, the adverb.*

So, Dr Pepper and Dr. Dre, we would like to introduce you to Dr. Grammar (yes, there really is such a practitioner – click here to discover him).

We recommend prescriptive grammar, a couple of tablets (or a blackboard) and a sentence of “I will drink it slowly as community service, to avoid the GrammarGallows.

We will continue to “Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2 and 4 o’clock” because, truly, “One Taste & You Get It” and “Dr Pepper, nothing better.” However, the “Dr’s Orders” to “Drink It Slow will not be on our prescription pad any time soon.  

While you’re reading … why not “Be a Pepper” and take a drink of “America’s Most Misunderstood Soft Drink” as it is “Good For Life” even if its grammar may not be.

Dr Pepper

* We anticipate receiving comments that the adverb form slow is widely accepted, and has been in use since about the 15th century … OK, we concede its use, but … let us have our fun, please … we like the traditional.

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Recently, we called out an error in a TV ad and online catalog for Hanes t-shirts. The mistake we pointed out is “… a collar that lays flat…” in the voice over, and Lay Flat Collar” in the product description.

Please see our post: Just wait’ll we get our grammar on you …

We fired off an email to the copywriter (at the ad agency) who wrote the spot for Hanes. We thought you might like to be privy to the response we received from the ad’s author:

“I appreciate the catch. But I have to say that we knew what we were doing when we sent it out the door. The product had already been named. And, honestly, grammar doesn’t mean much in advertising. What sounds better is more important. And the ‘Lie-Flat Collar’ doesn’t sound too hot.”

Now, this is too bad. Even though we have mentioned the incorrect use of lay in our Lost causes? post, it doesn’t mean we’re going to let the subject lie.

We disagree that grammar doesn’t mean much in advertising. We have more faith in consumers than to expect them to tolerate poor grammar. And, while we do agree that what sounds better is important … for all of our fans who think good grammar is “hot,” we disagree with the statement that “… the ‘Lie-Flat Collar’ doesn’t sound too hot.”

We think it’s a shame that there are those who promote poor grammar and perpetuate the nerve-grating sounds of these language rules broken, especially in advertising to a public audience.

What are your thoughts? Take our poll:

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Oh, Hanes …

Gentlemen prefer good grammar. The lady prefers good grammar. Look who we’ve got our grammar on now!

You may choose to “Go Tagless” … we just hope you won’t continue to “Go Grammarless.”

We were shocked when we heard the announcer on the Hanes TV commercial say (when referring to their men’s t-shirts):

“… a collar that lays flat … that’s the comfort fit promise.”

Then, we checked the Hanes Web site, and sure enough, the error lies right there in plain sight:

Hanes Classics Men’s ComfortSoft® TAGLESS® Crewneck – Lay Flat Collar!

(click on image for a larger view)

hanes lay flat collar

So, we probably should not have been so shocked. After all, we did discuss “lay vs. lie” in our Lost causes? and Lie like a rug … posts a while back, however, we cannot just let it lie. And, it seems that the English language, at least the American usage of it, is evolving to include such deviations from what has long been considered proper. Ouch!

We’ll just say that this continues to lie on our list of pet peeves, and we remain hopeful that advertisers will lay off the mistakes and come to their grammar senses.

We’ll lead the charge by laying down the grammar law, arresting and citing the copywriters and sending them to word court.

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