It was Alexei Sayle who said a good few years ago that there were too many adjectives in food. And so there are in marketing (of food especially). But these days it seems products are pretty much alive / human - and they're coming to get you! I do YouGov surveys and they occasionally include questions in their surveys that certainly hint at marketing people wanting to know what the old YouGov on-line panel (if that’s what it is) think of products.
So...a couple of examples.
Google Chrome is a search engine apparently. I’ve seen the logo. I think some Microsoft product or other will have tried to get it installed through some underhand method while I’ve not been watching. I’ve resisted it so far. Ordinary Google seems to work. But having an opinion on it is like getting on a train and having an opinion on the locomotive – for geeks only, unless it breaks down constantly I suppose in which case the name of the bad ‘un might eventually seep into some wider consciousness.
I was asked in a survey ‘which of the following words would you use to describe Chrome’. The list included a few that might make sense to someone who had an opinion – perhaps even someone who actually uses the thing. But for every ‘easy to use’ or ‘fast’ there was an ‘empowering’ or a ‘cool’. There was also ‘modern’, ‘elegant’ and ‘beautiful’. Blimey. Presumably there’ll be some wannabe marketing wonk somewhere who thinks a search engine can be ‘empowering’ but you would want to talk to them would you?
But even better than that...is Tropicana fruit juice. What do I think of Tropicana fruit juice? Well, I’m sure it’s OK, I’ve seen it in shops but it’s not with the cheap stuff so I’d be really surprised if it didn’t cost a lot. It’s fruit juice.
I drink fruit juice. Fruit juice by any other name would be just, you know, fruit juice. I don’t really have an opinion. Ask me if I have an opinion on the relative merits of fruit juice and I might tell you that one costs more and tastes a bit nicer maybe but I’d also say that the cheapest is usually fine so just buy that and get on with your life.
But someone wants to know how much I agree or disagree with no less than 19 adjectives relating to er, fruit juice. There are one or two where you can see that there might be some point in asking – so I’ll let them off ‘ethical’ and ‘natural’. I can see that you might see their juice as being produced in a nice cuddly ethically aware way (at least compared to some other juice perhaps) and perhaps one might form the opinion that it's less processed and in some way and therefore more ‘natural’ than other juices. All fairly reasonable so far. I might even let them off ‘responsible’, ‘simple’ or ‘boring’. But here are some more attributes of this particular juice on which to agree or disagree – how about ’arrogant’, ‘childish’, ‘creative’ or ‘straight talking’?!
I mean how many times does someone smash their fist into the wall and say ‘I’m sick of that damned arrogant juice and its childish attitude’ to be answered with ‘oh leave it alone Barry, it’s just creative and straight talking that’s all. If you get to know it you’ll find it’s genuine, friendly, innovative, intelligent and interesting’
At the risk of stating the obvious it's none of those thigns. It's orange juice. Anyone who thinks it's got a personality belongs in the deepest depth of despair and degradation where language and life itself has no meaning - Advertising...Or did it become 'marketing' at about the same time Personnel bloated out to strangle the company and became 'HR'? It'll have a swish new name by now won't it...