Monday, February 25, 2008

Forget about make sense

In the spirit of Windier's write-up yesterday, I'd like to add on to the list of advertisers who value "cuteness" and "presentation" over "being clear" and "grammar." Behold a print ad from Quaker Oats that will confound the ages:

"Forget about use your words.
I know he likes it."

First of all, what the fuck are you trying to say. This is the opposite of a "quick read," which is what you'd want if you're trying to grab the attention of someone thumbing through ads in Real Simple magazine. I'm thinking maybe this ad was originally made in Finnish, and the Quaker US team just Babelfished the copy into English and ran with it. Is this ad truly comprehensible without someone walking you through it?

Let me take a shot at rewriting this ad to what I think Quaker was trying to say:

Forget about "use your words."
I know he likes it.

Here's a free lesson on quotation marks: they don't go around every headline. It's so much clearer when you just use them around a colloquialism or phrase, like "use your words." Now, you can argue whether or not "use your words" is still a common phrase. I know my mother never said it to me. I guess the concept here is that this oatmeal is so good, a child can communicate his preference with the elegant gesture of holding up an empty bowl. It's a weak, tired idea as is, but when it's veiled in an ungrammatical clusterfuck of quoted words, it's damn near impossible to understand.

The visuals aren't stimulating, either. What is appetizing, I ask you, about an empty, dirty cereal bowl that takes up half the page? What about that makes me want to buy oatmeal? And, is that little boy wearing eye shadow?

Quaker, you get an "F" on this one-- "F" as in, "Forget about make ads. I know you're ignorant clods."


Windier E. Megatons said...

Also, do we really want to be forgetting about "use your words?" I think I'd rather be raising an eloquent picky eater than a kid who failed to ever learn basic English because he was too busy cramming his face full of oatmeal.

c12h22o11 said...

It's extra confusing because one says "use your words" when a kid is doing something bad, like punching or whining or stomping, not holding up a bowl. Why forget it? Why would you even think of it at all?

judyneric said...

I'd never even heard the phrase "use your words" until I just read this, and your commentary didn't make clear what it actually means, but I figured it out after a few moments of thought.

What makes the ad even more confusing and pointless is that the first thing I thought was that the kid looks reminiscent of Mikey from Life cereal, and the phrase "I know he likes it" reinforced that thought. Therefore, I was wondering what the hell "forget use your words" had to do with Mikey.