When it isn't signifying "autonomy," choice may be a marketer's code word for "specialness." One of Pepsi Cola's most famous ad campaigns, which ran from 1984 to 1991 and starred Michael Jackson, was "The Choice of a New Generation." (Translation: Hello, young person! Why would someone as hip as you drink a stodgy, old-fashioned soda like the one that rhymes with Shmoka-Shmola?) "Natural" choices bloomed in the 1990s, when unnatural choices fell out of favor: You could choose Natural Choice pet food, funerary urns, disposable diapers, non-dairy creamer, chemical preservatives, coated paper, or cheese.
Choice is most flattering in its adjectival sense — select, superior, elite. That's how we're meant to perceive Ohio-based Choice Brands ("a wholesale appliance distributor for Brands of Choice"), Choice Hotels International (an economy-to-mid-market chain that, naturally, offers a Choice Privileges program), and President's Choice, Canada's largest private-label brand (food and consumer products, mostly, but also financial services). With President's Choice, we get a double whammy of elite-ness: If the president (of the company) chose it, it must be really special! But here's a little secret: All of these Choices are wishful thinking. Truly elite brands never broadcast "elite" in their names.
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