The endemic use of meaningless slogans trying to sell us products

I looked around the kitchen. A loaf of bread had the words “dedicated know-how”. Salt said it “simply unlocks flavour”. A bottle of water was “made with parents in mind”

Share

It was a pretty slow evening at home, I’ll admit.

In the course of rearranging a kitchen cupboard I picked up a can of haricot beans and studied it, trying to recall why I’d bought it. On the label was printed the slogan “Chosen by you”. I winced. Yeah, I’d chosen that can of beans, but if I’d been glancing at it in a supermarket the slogan “Rejected by you” would have been more appropriate. “Chosen by you” meant nothing. It failed to bond me closely to the beans. The slogan may have been the cherished offspring of a boardroom meeting and a brainstorming session, but it succeeded only in filling space on the label. Badly.

Suddenly thrust into a state of low-to-medium alert, I looked around the kitchen. A loaf of bread had the words “dedicated know-how” written on the bag. A tub of salt informed me that it “simply unlocks flavour”. A bottle of water was, astoundingly, “made with parents in mind”. A can of sweetcorn promised “steam locked goodness”. A box of cereal was “honest, tasty and real” – yes, this cereal was tangible, in existence, present in the room. I started to lose it a bit. Nothing made any sense any more. I left the house to go for a walk, and as I passed my local cafe I noticed that the hoarding contained the slogan “Always more”. I inadvertently made a small noise. Always more what? More bacon? More chairs? More menus? Always? What does it mean? What on earth is happening?

The curse of “wackaging” – the cutesy copy that you see emblazoned on products that tells you, for example, to “keep me in the fwidge!” (or worse) – is well documented, but at least you know what wackaging is trying to do: strike up some kind of faux bonhomie between you and the product. The endemic use of meaningless slogans is far more irritating, because they actively pretend to mean something. I’ve seen some grim things, ladies and gentlemen. I’ve seen Premier Inn’s “More break-feast than breakfast”. Budweiser’s “Where friends become neighbours”. I’ve seen “Extended relax” emblazoned on drink packaging. “No Tampax, No Glory”. “Hand-fried crisps”. “Grow a vision with public transport”. “Fresh banking”. “The country that travels within you”. “Don’t believe everything you think”. “Know the weather before it knows you”. “Always up to 60% less”. “If you think our way, travel our way”. “Say yes to summer”. I’ve still got no idea what happens if I don’t agree to say yes to summer.

Of course, it’s easy to get all Lynne Truss on your ass, to rail against the supposed misuse of the English language and bemoan its perceived erosion. But apostrophe misplacement is a comparatively minor misdemeanour, and “Nuff mile on my sock” is, frankly, a beautiful way of expressing tiredness after a long walk. Meaningless slogans, however, and the way we unquestioningly accept the smugly delivered hooey contained therein, is a profound irritant that’s definitely made “without you in mind”.

Twitter: @rhodri

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot