How Do You Advertising?

There's been an annoying and disturbing trend in advertising recently.

Agencies take a noun—sometimes brands are cocky enough to use their own name—and turn it into a verb, defying the laws of Merriam AND Webster. Wiping their lower halves with the pages of the dictionary, brands usually force the noun-verb transformation as an explanation of how to use a product or as a way of asking people how they already use it.

Here are a few very recent examples:

How Do You KFC?
How do I KFC? it. Right? I'm not sure how many ways you can slice it. It's chicken. You either use a fork or your hands. And you eat it out of a bucket.

To continue the KFC theme of odd requests, there is currently a push on their website to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge using the KFC chicken bucket. Their reasoning isn't to help create awareness of a horrible and debilitating disease in the hopes of a cure. It's because they, and I quote, "know a thing or two about buckets." The redeeming aspect of this is that they do promise to donate $100 for every person that uses a KFC bucket for their ice bucket challenge. The donation is great, but there's still something greedy and gross about trying to piggyback your brand on the ALS coattails. I guess that's just how the Colonel does KFC.

This is How You Sonic

I'm typically a Sonic commercial apologist. Most people hate them. I love them.

Usually someone that offers cheesy tots can do no wrong. But here we are.

I'm not quite sure what Sonic is trying to tell me though. They end their commercials with this instructional tag. So TV spots are laying out explicit directions on how to enjoy food? Trust me. I don't need help in that category. It's food. All I have to do is eat it. I'm going to love it. It's really that easy.

As for their drinks — when the clock strikes 2pm, I'm already rushing out the door to save $1 on a gigantic cup of crushed ice, cherry, and lime.

me on my way to Sonic Happy Hour

How To Dad

Oh my.

Nothing says "Good Parenting" quite like picking up your iPhone and bragging about how you care for your kids on Twitter to your 11 followers. THIS guy knows what I'm talking about. I can paint the social picture of the dads who are participating in this. Their Twitter bio is probably just as bland as their beloved Cheerios:
Man. Husband. Father. Sports enthusiast. Blessed. These thoughts are my own. 

There are countless other "How Do You..." or "This is How You..." examples. Sure, maybe it works well for some. I guess it has to work if brands are scrambling to emulate it everywhere. But isn't it lazy? Yeah, you don't necessarily have to be the most creative person at the table, just the first one there—at least in the beginning. There's a point, though, where it just starts to annoy people. I've gotten to that point. Maybe you will too.

Once you realize that there's a template being used, you're going to notice it everywhere. Let's just add it to the list of lazy copywriting and move on.

The Sacred Vault of Copywriting Templates:
[insert brand name or category] 101 
[insert brand name or category] Nation 
[insert brand name or category]-ology   
The official [insert product category] of [insert an event or holiday] 
The Art of [insert product category] 
Of course, I haven't necessarily written anything in my career that sticks quite like anything I've been calling out here. That's called being a critic, I guess. It's not like Chris Berman could even physically run the bases. So back back back back back off.

Some brands are always going to pander to the lowest common denominator. There's no escaping it. That doesn't mean I have to embrace it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go. There's a Route 44 cherry limeade calling my name.




  1. Would you say it's similar to "This is how we Jardieu it?"

    And by similar, I MEAN YOU ARE SUCH A HYPOCRITE..

    Glad you're writing more frequently these days, gives me more opportunities to offer constructive criticism :)

    1. You caught me. The post was 100% self loathing :(

      I actually named it that 1) as a Montell Jordan pun duh and 2) as a way to remind people how to pronounce my name. Despite the reasoning behind #2, people still pronounce my name incorrectly. Because, as you know, this is how we Jar-doh it.

  2. Thank you for introducing me to #howtodad. I've spent way too long scanning groundbreaking nuggets of insight, such as (please notice the tiny url):

    RT @thefatherfactor An Awesome Dad Spends Time with His Child #howtodad :

    1. Good advice there. That advice is very good and not bad.

      It reminds me of the Chris Rock bit where he's referring to a certain "demographic" about wanting credit for doing things they're supposed to do. LANGUAGE WARNING:

  3. Wow, that KFC bucket challenge is not okay...who would approve that?

  4. That Cheerio's ad picture is making me cringe just looking at it. I can't even bring myself to actually watch the advertisement.

    Fred | O'Malley Hansen Communications

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