Call someone your “bae” and you will most likely encounter a look of utter confusion. The few, mostly young, people who use the term in common parlance are talking about someone or something they really like or love, as in “she’s my bae”.
However, a growing number of marketing departments have hijacked the term, or similar youthful slang references, in a bid to attract “millennials” – teenagers – and promote their products.
Social media has been quick to pillory companies for showing how desperately out of touch they actually are – and how they clearly don’t have a clue what they are talking about.
@MyFablife_D You tell us! Are our pancakes on fleek or nah?— IHOP (@IHOP) November 19, 2014
Bacon Stuffed Crust. Bae-con Stuffed Crust.— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) August 29, 2014
A Twitter account called Brands Saying Bae has earned tens of thousands of followers for exposing such corporate desperation, highlighting the best, or worst, examples.
Inevitable confusion has arisen with BAE Systems, the British aerospace and security firm, with telecoms company AT&T using its Twitter profile to ask one follower “Are you saying we can’t be Bae, Brent?” after tweeting about the company.
The parody account is not short of material and despite the tacit underlying message – please stop – firms seem to have evolved into ever more wince-inducing campaigns.
McDonald’s asking people to take #mcflurry selfies and a financial services company asking whether “your bae compares rates for you” are other examples of the trend.
Last month’s entry from Jiffy Lube, the Texas-based chain of over 2,000 businesses in North America offering oil changes and other automotive services, broke new ground. A sign outside one of its sites read: “Yolo, your oil light’s on its lit fam.”
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