Thursday, February 1, 2007

Nothing Worse Than “Nothing Worse”

I heard a commercial on the radio that started out something like this:

"There's nothing worse than getting a call from a loved one telling you their car has broken down on the side of the road."

Yes. There is nothing worse than that. It's worse than getting a call from a loved one telling you they're in the hospital. Or on their deathbed.

Terrorism, poverty, hunger, raw sewage flowing into the Ganges River—these things all pale in comparison to my loved one being temporarily inconvenienced to the point of calling me to pick them up.

Advertising language has gotten so extreme that it has now officially rounded the corner of ridiculousness. Gordman's tells me they provide "savings [I] deserve." Deserve! I must have them! The savings are not optional!

Ken Smith wrote a marvelous book called Junk English a few years ago that I consider mandatory reading for anyone even tangentially involved in the advertising industry (which I am). It tackles this whole extremity issue with merciless hilarity. Also recommended along the same lines is Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves, the zero tolerance guide to punctuation.

And meanwhile, back to our "nothing worse" scenario: millions of people in this world would love to have an automobile, a paved road to drive it on, and enough consistent electricity to charge the cell phone they don't yet own. But those are pipe dreams—their real hearts are set on just having clean water, and even that's a long way off.

One more recommendation. The Progress Paradox is another excellent book that helped change my perspective on the world in which we live. I highly recommend it.

Okay, I think that finishes my rant. Thanks for reading it. I can think of nothing worse than it going ignored.

1 comment:

Mark said...

That IS kinda extreme to use "nothing worse" in a broken-down-car-commercial setting. I might say "What a bummer when...", or "Don'tcha hate it when...", but I'm not the clever ad writer they are.