Thanks to reader Steve Hall for bringing to my attention another advertiser playing the faux-comparative/superlative game: the golf-club maker TaylorMade. A new spot, Steve writes, has been in heavy rotation during ESPN’s coverage of the 2013 Masters Golf Tournament.
I admit I don’t understand why a golf club would be called RocketBallz. (The name of another TaylorMade club, RocketBladez, makes more sense.) But that’s just one of the many, many things about golf I shall never understand. For example, who are the guys in the ad? Advertising logic tells us they are famous golfers who are instantly recognizable to fans; to this viewer, however, they’re just a bunch of bad actors in dorky outfits.
I am somewhat more clueful about the ad’s language, which riffs on the comparative suffix “-ier.” In the space of 30 seconds we’re treated to huge-ier, smash-ier, long-ier, so-sweet-ier, money-ier (that’s “money” as in “so money,” as in Swingers), nothing-on-that-ier, way-better-ier, quieter-ier, good-to-be-you-ier, and, of course, RocketBallz-ier, a play on “ballsy.”
It gets suffix-ier: TaylorMade is using the #ier hashtag to identify and, um, “socialize” the campaign. From the TaylorMade Tour blog:
To help celebrate the official Tour launch of the RBZ [RocketBallz] Stage 2 fairway woods and Rescues, every TaylorMade pro competing in this week’s WGC Cadillac Championship will be using a new special edition staff bag featuring an “IER” panel – their names, plus IER – as well as wearing hats and visors with the hashtag #IER on the front of the hats.
I’m aware of at least two other brands that have created ad campaigns built around the “-ier” suffix: Perrier and Napier. In both of those cases, the connection between the brand names and the ad copy – which used real adjectives like “riskier” and “snakier,” not invented ones – felt authentic and boosted the brands’ memorability. It’s harder to make a connection between “good-to-be-you-ier” and RocketBallz. (Commenter Steve Hall remembered the advertiser as Callaway, a TaylorMade competitor!)
- TaylorMade uses a clumsy “X Just Got Y” sloganclone toward the end of the spot: “Our longest just got longest-ier.” (More “X Just Got Y” examples here, here, and here.)
- The hip-hop-inspired Z-plural of RocketBallz and RocketBladez was already old news when I first wrote about it in 2006. Which means it probably still sounds edgy and “urban” to the golf crowd.