Maybe it’s been happening for a while, or maybe I’ve just noticed it: but I’ve seen a pattern emerging in the way brands are starting to talk to consumers.
They’re speaking to people in increasingly obscure language.
I think I know why, but it needs to stop.
What do I mean?
Last night I saw an ad which ended with the line ‘A new TV experience awakens’.
It was a very pretty ad (closer to art than advertising, which is also becoming the norm), but… what on earth does that line mean?
What’s a ‘TV experience’? I don’t have a ‘TV experience’ – I just ‘watch TV’.
Climbing a mountain is an experience.
Bringing a child into the world is an experience.
Watching TV is not an experience.
And how can an experience ‘awaken’?
What is this utter guff?
Ad language is becoming increasingly abstract. My hunch is that brands/agencies have run out of original ways of saying things, so they’re just making shit up.
But while they’re busy creating abstract phrases/straplines/endlines, they’re forgetting something: they’re still selling to people… who talk like, erm… people – not in abstract ad-land language.
‘A new TV experience awakens’ means absolutely nothing to someone walking into Currys to buy a new TV: ‘Hello, I’d like the new Sony Bravia, as I believe it’ll awaken my TV experience’ … said no-one … ever.
‘A new TV experience awakens’ is a line lifted straight off the ad agency’s brief. It’s a line mentioned in a closed room, by the account team, or the client. It’s a line that makes no sense to anyone outside of that environment i.e Joe Public… who you’re trying to sell a TV set to.
‘Colour like no other’ (Sony TV ad, a few years back) made sense.
‘A new TV experience awakens’ means precisely **** all.
But this nonsense is like an ad-land pandemic – affecting all sectors and platforms.
Yesterday I saw a POS stand for Godiva chocolates, with the line ‘chocolate never felt so good’.
What about what it tastes like?
I don’t want to ‘feel’ it – for one thing, my hands will be all gooey.
Okay, so I’m taking the line a bit literally, but it’s still a load of crap.
Then there’s L’Or coffee – ‘Why pursue anything less than gold?’
Bear in mind that we’re talking about coffee. Instant, freeze-dried coffee. Coffee not far removed from standard Nescafe.
And I don’t ‘pursue’ coffee – I buy it… online… sat in my boxers.
And I’ll end with my favourite: ‘Oral B – Brush like a pro’.
I had no idea brushing teeth was a competitive sport.
I had no idea it required such dedication.
Does a ‘pro’ go for a 4-minute brush, instead of the standard 2 minutes?
I can just imagine a conversation between myself and my partner, before bed – shouted between bedroom and bathroom:
‘What are you doing? Why are you taking so long to come to bed? Love Island is about to start!’
‘Sorry gorgeous… bear with me – I’m just brushing like a pro’.
Even ‘brush like a dentist’ would make more sense, or the line within the ad itself: ‘the toothbrush dentists recommend’.
Maybe agencies/brands are genuinely running out of original ways of putting things to consumers, but better to run with ‘bland but makes sense’ than ‘bizarre and nonsensical’.
Think about who you’re selling to: general consumers. Humans.