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The Art of Advertising Grammar and Style: Mangled Commercials Take to the Air?

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ANNOYING ADS AND WORDS OF 2012

Mass media
Mass media (Photo credit: ZaCky ॐ)

If you are as I am, you are no doubt tired of hearing certain things or seeing certain ads over the mass media (especially some radio stations where ads tend to be repeated over and over and constantly, ad nauseam, until you are sick of hearing the music, the hype selling tactics, and the politics. One category of ads that I have found most annoying are ads for automobile dealerships. Chicago area dealerships have background music that, especially around the “holidays”, can be very annoying and trite indeed. You can hear takes -off of Jingle Bells and “sleigh rides” and Nutcracker Suite, and jangling bells and blaring trumpets with a drum background only so many times before you want to turn off the media and go to read a good book. One company played “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” as their background music, and some stations played their ads two or three times in a row, until I thought that any time now, the movie “2001 A Space Odyssey” would begin shining forth from my radio speakers. And then the car ads, at the end of the ads where the disclaimers and the terms and conditions are put on, drown out the words and the fast speakers with music just loud enough that you cannot even hear all that is said. Plainly the companies do not want you to hear everything but just to believe that the deals are good and you will be drawn into the dealership to see if the data that you could hear is accurate. And ask any questions you might have regarding that “deal”.

One of the worst is the phone -in, message receiver -style ad Toyota is putting in for this so -called Toyotathon sales pitch. It just speaks to the lack of person -to -person customer service that is disappearing from the reatil and commercial areana as social media takes over with impersonal style and lack of actual contact. Wireless and answering machines don’t do it all, folks. And besides that, the voice over the message machine hints that there are three selections of car the customer can make but then after the button press there is only one that is mentioned, the Camry. Fine car and all, so the commercial goes, but what about the other models? Mention something in an ad, then talk about it, or don’t mention it at all. That is a mark of poor writing and advertising when a subject is spoken of but not talked about afterwards. Or if Toyota intends to talk about other car models, then have other commercials related to them, but not in that awful message machine format. Talk to the potential customers as though you are interacting with them and desire them to be in your dealership looking at the cars, finding them appealing, wanting a test drive, etc. Don’t over do the “social media” -style aspect that is taking over the commericial and financial worlds with their rob0-calls, the telemarketers with their dead air and automated gibberish. Be polite, be reasonable, be simple and to the point, not wordy and full of elaboration.

How annoying!

Another category of ads that are really a bug in the brain are anything related to hospitals and any ad with the word “cancer” in it. I mean, goodness gracious, “cancer this” and “cancer that”, and we have treatments for cancer, and the hospitals deal with advanced cancer treatments. Not to mention the talk about insurance companies, premiums, insurance providers, doctors not taking or then again taking some insurances, Medicare and Medicaid, this and that with Blue Cross and Health Spring… geez whiz already.  Seems that if someone is that interested in or needs to discuss the idea of cancer treatment they will have the appropriate talks with their health care providers; it is not an issue that needs to be blared out over the airwaves every day and every hour. And they yakety, yakety yakety yak over and over again for thirty seconds or more rehashing the same points, talking up the facilities, the nursing status, the pharmacies… This university’s “medicine”, that college’s “medicine”, this hospital, that medical center… OK folks, we get the point. We hear you, we see you, we hear about the millions of $$$$ the philanthropists and drug companies are investing in you.

It seems the ads for CDH Proton Center a Procure Center are among the most loquacious on the radio. How many times do companies such as these have to insert some phrase like “a Procure Center” for someone to get it? Are the producers of a mind that people listening are dunces or dummies or have to get words drilled into them to make a point? What point do the advertisers want to make – that we can get turned on to a concept or just as easily get turned off by meaningless repetition and trite, vague phrases?

We get it!

I suspect that if someone is really interested in it they will look it up or call the people concerned who deal with these issues.

Car dealership
Car dealership (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some local Chicago TV stations seem to play nothing but health ads; MeTV and Antenna TV for instance must think that their viewing audience during the hours encompassing late morning to late evening is made up of stay -at -home invalids, the sick or the old or the infirm. They run ads for cancer treatment centers, for insurance companies, for class action and law firms related to health products, for step -in tubs.If caregivers can find these useful then that is fine, but please, there are other people in other demographic markets who watch those classic television shows too, during those hours. We do not always find hearing ads for cancer, for surgical mesh, for insurance companies or for hospitals appropriate during meal hours. I find that the only word to describe some ad marketers is “inconsiderate”.And then there are the ads from GEICO, among the most annoying and in some cases useless features heard on News Radio 780 WBBM. The “Today In Time” feature is nothing but a bunch of yakety -yak that takes up a minute and says nothing worth hearing -only an ad for GEICO, really. If you want history badly enough you can research something. As for that “Maxwell the Pig” bit, nothing doing there, and the “bouncer” ad with the gecko, making insurance sound so exclusive and special, when it is among the most discussed and talked -about and hyperactive issues in the nation these days.

Quill.com also has some rather blase’ ads too, with that outdated phone-in style of commercia. The problem is that the speaker does not go right to something that deals with office supplies or business -related events. They go off on totally unrelated introductions that have the answering party on the spot to promote a product or service that will get the caller onto the correct subject. This takes extra time and is wasteful time, too. Then after the brief talk about what Quill could do for the caller the caller hangs up and you get this abrupt hangup tone, rather crude and not polite at all. Quill would do better following a more direct route to promoting its products and services in a timely fashion in order not to waste money or energy. Stick to the subject.

Yawner.

Foreclosure ads also take part of the Annyoing Ad Awards this year, and one that WBBM has been running is so “made up” and not very well done, for a company that assists the more successful people who are experiencing debt and owing more than their home is worth. They want it apparently to sounds as though the folks are of a higher class, with the accents and the monetary figures to go with the idea, but then the people who are going through these situations have plenty of private advisors and bankers to help them with the problems. Poorly constructed ads most likely will turn off business than inspire someone to shop at a company. A lot of these ads and also ads for banks and lending institutions have been popping up of late, and thus the warranting of getting out the caution flag!

Ads for BMO Harris Bank are getting into the “annoying” category too, with their latest string of grammar – based spots. Some little beep then a selling tongue using verb or adjective followed by a Thesaurus of words meant to generate interest in the services offered by the bank. Just remmeber, BMO, that the word “phew” can mean more than just a breath of relief; it can also be something said when a person senses something unsavory to the nasal passages, a stink in other words, that causes more of a negative reaction than a positive one. “Phew” might be some citizens’ reaction to the banks these days anyway, what with their suspicious dealings regarding the foreclosure crisis, the robo-signing, the hidden life they lead with the “Fed” and the officials who can’t seem to boost the economy but instead are so negative when they come on the mass airwaves to speak that many might begin to lost trust in them, the same loss of trust now experienced for Congress and many elected officials at the state and local levels.

How negative do we want to get? How low do we want to go in the realm of mass media and advertising and the heights of “trite-ness”?

On to the annoying expressions of 2012 and the past few years! How tired are you of hearing “social media”, “just sayin'”, “OMG”, “omigod”, know what I’m sayin’, whatever, and “like”? Like, ya know, I’m dashed awful tired of hearing these trite little phrases spiked into sentences every few words or so. Too many times of saying “You know”- how many times do the sports folks say that during interviews? Must be dozens. And it is worse when someone combines the little silly phrases, as in, “Like, you know, whatever… just saying.” Add another: baby bump. Who needs to hear constantly about “celebrities” already? Millions of women the world over go through that process of gestation and birth every year, so “bump” that useless phrase right into File 13.  And please, learn how to write properly (yes, manuscript and cursive) and learn to write an actual letter, before you learn to text, and please, learn to type, on a regular typewriter. I did, and I’m doing just fine, thanks. Didn’t have to learn to read and write and type on some tiny little glowing screen.

And “its’s on the web”, or “it’s on TV” – so what? Think it’s so excellent and grand, and great and wonderful just because it’s displayed on a venue of electronic media? Be careful of what you get on “the web”. Be careful of thinking it’s so good and right just because you “saw it on TV’. TV and the Web are only means of displaying and sharing information and images; radio can share information; books share information and images. But not everything someone says or does makes it “right” or valid or good or worthy.

And possibly the most overworked phrase of the past few months, fiscal cliff. Well if the nation goes over it, Congress does too, Republicans and Democrats and Independents alike, and they will take working families, school kids in need of their lunches, education programs, unemployment insurance, and tax hikes right over the cliff with them. Is it any wonder the approval rating of Congress is what, 11%? If we could rate them in the negative, I would put a rating of -.0000000000111111 on every member of that stubborn Congress of ours. They are out of touch, they do not listen to the people, they do not understand what these extreme tax hikes and spending cuts are going to do. There they sit, bickering, posturing, stubborn and hard -headed, cynical, hard -hearted, indecent, arrogant, full of pride and vice and malice. There they sit, politicians to the core, and they practice their deceptive arts very well indeed.

Take your “unsocial media”, your fiscal cliff, and your like whatevers and throw them out of your vocabulary. Learn how to be social, polite, and work together as a team for the completion of a successful plan and for a stronger nation. After all, we didn’t make it this far by sitting so close together but not talking to each other. We came this far as a nation by being team players, by working together, by standing side to side and face to face and using our combined strengths and intellects and wills and backbones. Let us keep it that way.

Original logo of Antenna TV, used until August...
Original logo of Antenna TV, used until August 29, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And as for the happenings in the Chicago Bears organization, look for a coach and a coaching staff that will provide your team, your front office, and everyone concerned, right to the fans and those who sit at home watching your team on television and listening to you on the radio every season, with a teamwork -oriented person who comes in every day, who shows up ready to take on each game as though it is the Super Bowl. Bring in someone with diplomacy, tact, and that right amount of firmness and the ability to draw a room together and get everyone working for that goal of a winning season.Other than that, AAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK! YIPE! What is happening to our grammar, our abilities to write and communicate and socialize face to face? What is the deal?

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

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Author: CAPCOM

Divi advocates practices that result from and are a daily part of learning and teaching the principles of good citizenship. Included in those principles are respect for others, understanding the importance of good hygiene, participating in the process of good government, and doing your part in community service. Our family business, EDUSHIRTS, gladly advocates dark sky programs, education reform, campaign reform, and anti-pollution programs. = DLL =

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