WQTS 07

Advertising, as I understand it, is the art of making people aware of a product and convincing them they must have it. Sounds simple–especially the first part–but apparently not.

This advertiser is having trouble with the first part.
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With a what?

My first thought was that it’s with a boat, but I’m not totally sold on that idea. All of the boats are showing wakes. If Google can use barges for mobile “interaction centers,” why shouldn’t these people use shipping containers for mobile farewells to the dearly departed? Especially convenient if you’re going to spread the ashes at sea. OK, maybe not.

They’re obviously shipping something–“all kinds of goods”–to Eritrea. Maybe it’s “with a course”? I don’t know. I’d assume the ship’s navigator would know where he was going. Probably not worth advertising. Or, since it mentions “conveniently secured,” perhaps it’s “with a lock”. That might work. But if that’s the major selling point, you really ought to be more specific.

Then there’s this advertiser, who’s having trouble with the second part of the process.
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It’s clear they’re pushing cat litter deodorizer, an easily-understood product with a clear market. And yet they completely fail to convince me that I need to buy it.

I’m the first to admit that I sometimes snuggle the cats, which means I wind up getting a nose full of their scent. And yeah, some of them can be stinky at times*. But I don’t go shoving my nose into their “area“. It’s even questionable whether cats have an area in that sense. Millions of people my age grew up with that euphemism, and will make the same association. Suggesting that we want to sniff our cats that way isn’t likely to encourage us to buy the product. And, let’s face it, the cats–who routinely shove their noses into each other’s areas–don’t want to smell deodorizer. They want to smell the cat they’re sniffing.

* Not Ms. Kokoro, of course, who has the sweetest smelling fur of any cat I’ve ever met.

In short, advertisers need to consider all the connotations of the words they use.

Moving on.

Advertising encourages a certain amount of vagueness. In the case of some products–think perfume–it’s not just encouraged, it’s apparently a requirement.

Other fields aren’t as easygoing. I wouldn’t trust a navigator who told me to head “thataway”. Other professions require precision. Baseball, for example. Pitchers need precise control to get strikes. Lawyers spend their lives arguing over the exact meaning of words and phrases.

And there’s medicine. Would you trust a doctor who doesn’t know who you are?
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I had to fill out this form recently. I won’t ding whoever created the form too much over the redundancy in asking about drinking liquids (there aren’t a whole lot of solids one can drink or liquids one can eat–though apparently Jello is considered a liquid. But I digress.) I’ll also let the oddity of asking about my PCP at the end of the form slide (shouldn’t that be at the top along with my insurance information?)

It’s that middle question that stumped me for a while. I finally wrote “Second Base.”

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