Sometimes advertisements have a language of their own. Some gimmicks are obvious: phrases like “sale”, “call now” and “free”. Others are more subtle. Here are some of the marketing and advertising cliches that annoy me the most.
“On the go”
This phrase really irks me, mostly because it’s only used in ads and marketing materials. Nobody says “When I’m in the go” outside of an advertisement. Then there’s “on the run”. I remember once at the supermarket, I heard an ad that asked “What do you eat when you’re on the run?” Unless they’re targeting escaped fugitives, this kind of language just sounds silly.
In this case, it’s not so much the word that’s obnoxious as the concept. Whenever advertisers say that their products are “irresistible”, or something I can’t resist, I want to change the channel and boycott their product. I hate the insinuation that their product will break my willpower and make me a slave to the flavor.
Whenever an ad promises you a “free gift” you can be certain that it’s neither free nor a gift. It’s a bonus, or maybe an amenity, but if it’s included in your purchase, it’s just not a gift. Furthermore, since you’re spending money with the company, you know that you’re going to pay for that free gift, directly or indirectly. I’d rather skip the gift and pay less to begin with.
“The next 10 callers”
You hear this one a lot in infomercials. “The next x-number of callers will receive a free gift.” I remember seeing that as a kid and wondering how they kept track of the exact time that each ad ran, so they could track the first 10 callers for each ad. Of course, they don’t do this. Everyone gets the “free gift”, and everyone pays for it.
There are a million other bad advertising cliches out there. Which ones bug you the most?
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