Friday, October 12, 2007

Rich Hall must be rolling around in his grave

Hey, remember Sniglets? You know, "words that should be in the dictionary, but aren't?" I can't tell if Comcast is hoping you do or hoping you don't:

Oh man, Comcast. Let me see if I can identify all the reasons this commercial is absolutely retarded:

1) It fails to get to the point for the first 23 seconds of a 30 second ad. Instead, we get treated to a discussion of "cankles" - also a Sniglet of sorts! - and a guy looking annoyed because, you know, women and the way they talk on the phone to other women right when something manly like a big movie explosion is about to happen.

2) It becomes approximately the 45,372,986th ad in history to use a ludicrously broad stereotype of one sex or the other for laughs. (I'm sorry, "laffs.")

3) It suggests that the ability to use a TV and phone at the same time is somehow a feature that is only made possible by Comcast service. Here are some other things besides the Comcast Triple Play that I'm pretty sure will get the "entertainment + communication" job done, however:

* DVD player, cell phone
* VCR, rotary phone
* Betamax, tin cans with a string between them
* Zoopraxiscope, Aldis lamp

Those wacky females! Always tapping away on the telegraph while I'm attempting to watch the latest Edison short! Worse still, the pause button won't be invented for nearly a century! I'm never going to find out whether the moon gets that rocket out of its face or not.

4) The ad was clearly written by someone with a minimal grasp of the rules of English. Let's take a look at what's on that definition screen:

Phoruption (phorup•shen) v.
1. Pausing an On Demand movie to take a phone call.

The only problem One of the many problems, but the most glaring when it comes to the fact that the entire commercial is building itself around this faux dictionary definition, is that "phoruption," if it were a real word, would not be a verb. The obvious basis for this is the word "interruption," which, in case you didn't pass third grade, is a fucking noun. Then, of course, the definition is worded as if for a verb. Would it have been that hard to make this "phorupting" instead? What about this was difficult? Don't college graduates work in advertising?

Oddly, this may be the least obnoxious ad of the three I've seen in this campaign, if only because they don't try to actually have the actors work the fake word into conversation as though it were some interesting new bit of slang.

Haw haw! We crammed the three products we offer into one awkward word that's so long and clunky no one would ever, ever use it in real life! We're geniuses! Note that in this ad, they don't even list a part of speech, like they couldn't figure out what it was supposed to be and were unwilling to risk a wrong guess. Maybe the slightly smarter people at the agency worked on that one.

Please also note the Youtube username that posted these clips: "comcastslanguage." These aren't just goofy one-offs. They would seriously love it if people started using these fake, stupid-sounding, unfunny and unnecessary words to describe the wholly mundane activities in which they can partake due to - unusually! - having a television, computer, and phone in their house. Maybe we should coin a new word to describe such awkward attempts at hipness. I'd say it's a tossup between "lamebarrassing" and "stupathetarded."


Quivering P. Landmass said...

When you Google "Phoruption," it first asks "Did you mean: Corruption" which I heartily enjoy. Why, yes, yes I did mean "Corruption"! Corruption of the motherhumping BRAIN.

Also, currently, our site is the 5th unique site listed for Phoruption. The first two returns are other places to watch that ad, and the 3rd and 4th are in Russian. Hey, what do you know! NO ONE is using that term!

Good work, Comcast. And a special "well done" goes out to all the English Professors Emeritus who work at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Andrew N.P. said...

As bad as it is to confuse two fundamental parts of speech, the thing that sticks out to me on the dictionary graphic is the pronunciation guide. First off, it's \pho*rup*shen\. The stress is on RUP, not just UP. Secondly, Televisi-whatever is missing fully half of its syllable separators and the -ing at the end. So the word you're telling them how to spell is not the word you're telling them how to pronounce! I can only hope that the ghosts of Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster haunt these idiots \ID*ee*yutz\ for eternity.

Windier E. Megatons said...

Yeah, that's true, syllables need to begin with a consonant unless it's a syllabic vowel, which "phoruption" lacks. Also, the pronunciation guide doesn't actually use any IPA symbols so you don't learn how to pronounce the word. And I would have put a schwa in that last syllable and not just an e. For the record, I didn't mention any of this in the post because it's kind of nerdtacular.

Andrew N.P. said...

Eh, I can forgive them for not using IPA. Their target audience has probably never heard of the International Phonetic Alphabet. And if they did manage to get that part right, it would just make their other mistakes that much more brainsplodifying.

Also, on the subject of bizarre agglutinations, have you seen The New AT&T's latest campaign? Apparently their wireless service works in cities now, and in places like Virgicolomento, Flag Antonio.