7.27.2006

Adbominations

You can't ever go wrong with excretions and emissions, can you? I mean, you're bound to get a laugh from someone. Be it a dog peeing on someone's leg or some spirited farting around the campfire, it all works for someone. It's because those things are impure and dirty and a little taboo and that's good enough for most twelve year-old boys and Freud.

When I was twelve, and this shouldn't surprise you, I had a hard time relating to the humor of my peers sometimes. I had already begun to relish Lenny Bruce and George Carlin and I'd probably read Woody Allen's Side Effects about five times. I don't say this to show I was precocious, but to demonstrate that generally I was pretty inept at being a kid. I did not always play well with a demographic for which "Your epidermis is showing" is the gold standard of high brow. There is one particular afternoon, however, which I remember quite clearly and to the contrary.

A friend of mine and I had decided that modern English, replete though it is with language both clinical and flowery for individual bodily functions, needed more exacting terminology for combined, simultaneous emissions. The game then became to pack as many references to as many functions as possible into a single, compact term. The resulting neologism? "Farburdivomshiss." Please parse it at your leisure.

GI Joe didn't have shiss on Lenny

It's not a pretty word - it's pretty stupid - but we thought it was freakin' hysterical. And, to be fair to us, it is functional and rolls off the tongue once you get used to it. I still love this kind of wordplay, making up words to unite ideas, though not necessarily ones having to do with, say, a sextet of corporeal seepages. For instance, referencing someone who has one parent in the Tribe and one who is a gentile as a "Jewlatto" is one of my current favorites. It's descriptive and a partial pun. Very tidy. But that's neither here nor there. We must move on to Mars.

* * * * *

TBWA/Chiat/Day is no slouch in the ad world. They've got accounts with the likes of Apple and adidas (whose +10 ads for the World Cup were pretty damn good in my book). TBWA has done the unbelievably successful Absolut Vodka ads for almost two decades, leading to a reported 14900% increase in sales. They also do Skittles, which I find super-annoying, but I like to think that there are thousands of homophobes out there who won't touch a Skittle because they think "Taste the Rainbow" is slang for some unholy man-on-man act. These ads are all well and good, but I am not the first blogger to point out that their current street ads for Mars Candy are shit.
You've seen them on cabs and buses for Snickers. The Snickers logo with absurdly unwieldy linguistic conjurings such as: Satisfectellent, Substantialicious, and Hungerectomy.

There are two that I don't really have a problem with: "Peanutopolis" and "Nougatocity." These two have a few things going for them: they are clean(er) sounding, they describe the product, and they, somewhat accidentally, identify the product with a place: "-polis" actually meaning city and "-ocity" sounding like city, though the etymology is a false one. You know like San Francisco is identified with Rice-A-Roni or New Orleans with chocolate. The others...horrible.
Doctors are split on whether the hungerectomy
is best performed with local or general anesthesia.


AdRants points out that a Hungerectomy may not be the best approach to woo people to your product. One online medical dictionary defines "-ectomy" as:

"A surgical suffix referring to the removal of something. For example, a lumpectomy is the surgical excision of a lump which may be benign or not, tonsillectomy is the removal of the tonsils, a partial colectomy is removal of part of the colon, an appendectomy is removal of the appendix, etc. From the Greek "ek" (out) + "tome" (a cutting) = a cutting out."

Snack foods and the excising of lumps may work well in theory, but rarely mesh well in practice. A less obvious consequence of this ad might come with a bit of creative parsing, which leaves you with: "Hung. Erect. O My!" Taste the rainbow.


I believe that similar hints of unpleasant medical experiences plague the term "satisfectellent." The "fect" sound elicits too strong an association with "infection" for me. No candy bar of mine should have to be washed down with a spritz or two of Tough Actin' Tinactin.

The last one here, "Substantialicious," is just bad. Sorry. I may want my chocolate rich or velvety, but substantial? Where's the sexy appeal of that? That ranks up there with the time I told an ex-girlfriend that her ass "had personality." No sale.

In the end, my gripe is grapey...and sour. Why don't I get paid to make words up? One can make the argument that I would be if I hadn't been lazy and dropped out of grad school (I studied under an unabashed neologist). Still, to the Mars Candy company I say, next time you want your products to sell like fungal infections or cyst removals, please call me.

1 Comments:

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