Thursday, 15 November 2012

Words in Advertising

Advertising language Often, the words of an advertising slogan can be confusing, even for native speakers. Consider this, for instance: It will have your tongue and belly dancing. (McDonalds burger advertisement, seen on the back of a bus ). But what does it mean? Not what I thought it meant! Put a comma in the logical place, and you get “It will have your tongue and belly, dancing” ) yes, that's what it means. But as Belly Dancing is a particular type of dancing, when I first saw it, I was very confused. I did not realise that 'dancing' as used in this slogan, is actually a verb, and not an adjectival noun! “'We make the people who make it “ (UNITEC Institute of Technology, Auckland) What does this mean? I had a student ask me about this some time ago, and it's a good question! It uses the verb 'make' in two senses – the literal, and the idiomatic. We make (or form, teach and develop) students who achieve things. This is what their advertising agency said about the spot. “The campaign, created by Special Group with media strategy from Naked Communications, focuses on 'heroing' the Unitec graduates who helped build Auckland into the city it is today. The TVC, with a distinctly urban feel, shot by director Andy Morton of 8com, (who also directed last year's 'Change Starts Here' documentary campaign for Unitec)marks the cornerstone of the campaign and establishes the feel for a host of other elements that will roll out over the coming months” and “The directive of the campaign is to drive awareness and interest in Unitec's Faculty of Technology and Built Environment with a creative approach which continues to break the tertiary education marketing sector norm. This faculty encompasses courses including the traditional 'trades' such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical engineering, drainlaying, automotive mechanics and boatbuilding as well as civil engineering,construction management, surveying and property development” Here we can see that the verb 'make', makes another appearance – in the literal sense again, because it's about people who make things. What do you think of the noun hero being made into a verb? Does that happen in your language? Is it right, or does it, to use another idiom, 'set your teeth on edge'? There is a story, (one of many), that I believe, sadly, is not true, about General Motors, who had an advertisement for their Chevrolet Nova cars, which was spectacularly unsuccessful in Spanish speaking countries – because of the meaning of Nova, which was thought to be No va. Can you think of any spectacularly unsuccessful advertisements from your own countries?

1 comment:

  1. Oddly, years later, the trolls I warned followers of before have started linking to this post and ridiculing it. Bizarre.