“This nouning of adjectives thing is really getting out of control,” Ben Yagoda tweeted earlier this month. As evidence, he attached this photo:
I did a little sleuthing and discovered the perpetrator of “Just Add Good”: Chobani Greek yogurt, which was using the slogan throughout its website.
By the way, although Chobani calls its product “Greek yogurt,” the company was founded by a Turk, Hamdi Ulukaya, who lives in upstate New York near one of the company’s plants. According to the Wikipedia entry, Chobani comes from the Turkish-via-Persian word for “shepherd,” chob-ban (literally, “he who carries a stick”). An archived Chobani FAQ claims chobani is a Greek word. I don’t know any of those languages well enough to weigh in.
About a week ago Chobani switched from “Just Add Good” to a new slogan that uses “real” as a noun:
But there’s still plenty of nounish good to go around. Not to mention nounish awesome. Naked Juice billboards all over the Bay Area proclaim that the product has “1 lb. of awesome in every bottle,” which makes it “worth its weight in good.”
The slogan plays on the familiar idiom “worth its weight in gold.”
Naked Juice is based in Monrovia (Los Angeles County). The company was founded in 1983; the juice was originally sold “towel to towel on the beaches of Santa Monica, Calif.”
During Sunday’s Oscars broadcast I saw back-to-back ads with nounified good. In both of them, good is something that goes. Here’s “Get Your Good Going” from Blue Diamond Almonds:
The voiceover says:
Good is in every Blue Diamond Almond.
From Whole Natural to Wasabi and Soy Sauce.
Good is a catalyst. Good is contagious.
It’s a wonderful feeling. A magical feeling.
And once it gets going, there’s no stopping what you can do.
“It takes all kinds of good to make a family.”
Good is, of course, a legitimate noun as well as an adjective: “the greater good”; “packaged goods”; “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” But Chobani, Naked Juice, Blue Diamond, and New York Life want us to think of good as a nounified adjective, the better to force an association with originality and playfulness – or simply to make us stop and pay attention.
This part-of-speech switching, also known as anthimeria, has become an established feature of contemporary advertising. If the trend continues, it’s possible to envision a future in which all adjectives have become nouns, all nouns have become verbs, and every adverb has been pressed into service as the name of a startup.