Monday, September 14, 2009
Sloppy, lazy language.
A lot of my posts, like my previous one decrying the use of the word "love" to describe the feelings one has for Clorox liquid bleach, are about how we misuse language because we are sloppy, lazy or have given up caring or fighting.
Just now I came upon a banner ad for the Ford Flex and noticed next to the blue Ford oval the tagline: "Drive one."
As an industry we regularly imbibe in the insipid. But "Drive one" as a tagline for a struggling car company? Why not "Drive two"? How about "Park one," "Wash one," "Dent one," "Lose your shirt in one," or "Get rear-ended and immolate in one"?
Over the past few decades a couple of automakers have used the word "drive" to convey power, passion and energy.
Ammirati & Puris coined the line "The ultimate driving machine" for BMW and Arnold wrote "Drivers wanted" for Volkswagen. Since the word drive was used effectively in the past, you'd better measure up to the past if you choose to use it in the present.
You would not re-write Avis' old line "We try harder" this way "We attempt with some fervor." Not only does my re-write suck in and of itself, it sucks even worse because it makes you think of something pretty good. So it sucks by comparison.
Likewise, an athletic shoe company can't get away with "Just exercise" as a tag. It's both dumb and derivative.
What were they thinking?
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 11:05 AM