Thursday, September 17, 2009

Advertising, these days, just really grinds my gears.

Oh, sure, I “get” being creative to attract attention. A creative license, however, does not give you the right to ignore English.
In fact, that “creative license” can really do a lot to screw up the next generation’s ability to use their native language.
In my hometown (and probably a lot of other towns across this great state), we have a gas station called The Kwik Stop.
Unfortunately, this is not a name change by the business to be hip and cool and use textspeak.
This place has been around a long time, much longer than the concept of the text message.
A second example, also from my hometown, is a now-closed car dealership’s “SALEABRATION.”
That’s right. It’s a “celebration of sales.”
The banner they proudly displayed with this exclamation must not have done any good; the dealership is now closed.
The best sign I’ve ever seen, though, is right here in Terre Haute.
“Worship is a verb.”
Of course it is. Just not in this sentence. Unfortunately for the creator behind this, “worship” is actually functioning as a noun.
This sign, however, is harmless. While amusing to an English major, this interesting fact is not going to “ruin” anyone for life.
It actually brings up one of the reasons it is so difficult to grasp the English language: words aren’t always what they (or you) think they are. But that itself is an entire other lesson.
Another, more damaging example?
I understand; it’s catchy – cellular becomes cingular. No harm done, right?
During Cingular’s reign as the best cell phone company around, at least half of my mom’s then-second-grade students misspelled the original “singular” on a spelling test.
Even Geico’s overdone cavemen commercials are more creative than intentionally misspelled/misused words.
This is not so much a lesson as it is a call for attention. These “creative liberties” are all around us, but it’s not doing us any good.
So take notice – and just say no to companies like “Muzik and Memories.”
Trust me; the world will thank us later.

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