Wordification Part II

Comcast’s word, Comcastic, while not exactly genius, is an invented word that does a nice job of leveraging the brand name.

On the other hand, I see an awful lot of invented words in ads that merely tack some general purpose suffix onto the end of a word that relates to the product or service being advertised. Ask.com has based its campaign on getification, for example. This strikes me as lazy. You name the service. It wouldn’t take much effort to –ificationize some word that sums that service up.

And how often have we seen the writer stick –icious or –umptious or some such suffix at the back of their chosen descriptor for a snack or cereal or whatever. Whatz!?

Another reason writers make up new words, especially when they are elaborate compound words, is that the message/promise/benefit from the creative brief is so unfocused, so multi-minded that, out of desperation, the writer tries to condense that multi-faceted promise into one word in the hope that it will now seem more single-minded.

One reason I know this happens is that it happened to me when I was an ad infant. Working on a campaign for the now long defunct York Steak House chain, when I was still just trying to understand how to process a creative brief, I wrote a jingle lyric that consisted of their
four-pronged, all-things-to-all-people promise, rolled into one word. That word was “BetterMoreBiggerNicer.” Let’s see if I can reconstuct the lyric from memory:

SINGERS: BetterMoreBiggerNicer
York Steak House is

The client was orgasmic. We did a TV spot and a print campaign based on this “idea” and I added it to my stack of one other tagline. Now I look back and try to laugh, but mostly I wince, whimper and reflect gratefully on the mercifully impermanence of advertising.


Littlejohn said...

Another reason we make up words is so we can talk about ourselves, and our products differently. We want to sound fresh, and unique, and totally clip. And as you have pointed out, making up new words, or nords as I like to call them, is the easiest (perhaps slayziest) way to do that. I think nords are fun, but I greeze with you. Nords can't make up for a lack of insight. Thinking differently about a product is the best way to talk differently about it. But while we are at it, we might as well all throw some nords in the bodycopy just to chunkle things up a bit.

Lefthand: haven't you invented several nords in your day?

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