In Advertising Land, parts of speech move freely across borders. Nouns become verbs (“Prepare to Pumpkin,” “Let’s Movie”); adjectives become nouns (“Welcome to Possible,” “The Power of True”). This functional shift, or anthimeria, happens in regular English, too – share and contact were nouns long before they were verbs – but it’s downright rampant in ad copy, as these recent sightings demonstrate.
Adjective to noun: “Extraordinary commits entirely’'; Cole Haan ad, New York Times, September 14, 2017.
Having gone to the trouble of reading “extraordinary” as a noun, I find myself doing the same to “entirely”—as if it were a kind of crime.— Q. Pheevr (@qpheevr) September 14, 2017
I’d add that the only extraordinary I see in that ad is the ugliness of the outfit, which probably costs a couple months’ salary.
Comparative adjective to noun: “What’s Your Greater/Achieve Greater”; Northern Trust Bank.
Adjective to noun: “Pretty Shouldn’t Stink,” outdoor ad for “healthy nail salons” from SFEnvironment, a department of the city and county of San Francisco.
Adjective/comparative adjectives to nouns: “Reboot Your Normal”; “Discover Bolder, Tastier, Crunchier.” Spotted in the UK by Ben Yagoda.
Sometimes plain old functional shift isn’t oomph-y enough. So you do with United did: attach a verbifying suffix, -ify, to an adjective.
This ad reminded me of two things: first, that names ending in -ify have been so trendy for so long that my colleague The Name Inspector created a Wall of Namifying to immortalize them. And second, unstopify made me think of the P-deprived Unstopables brand from Procter & Gamble, which I wrote about back in 2011 (scroll down).