Mountain Dew, the neon-yellow-green soft drink brand owned by PepsiCo, evidently failed to consult anyone in Scotland before it introduced its new ad slogan, “Epic thrills start with a chug.” If it had, it would have learned that chug is Scottish slang for masturbate. (Jelisa Castrodale for Vice, via Language Log)
That word: It does not mean what you think it means. Not in Scotland, anyway. (Via @jaysebro)
Limerence: “The state of being romantically infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.” (Oxford English Dictionary)
Christopher Nolan’s Inception, released by Warner Bros. [in 2010], based on an original script by Nolan, is one such film that many in the industry doubted would open at the time, as it had no famous title or comic-book hero to hang its hat on. But it opened liked gangbusters due to a brilliant marketing campaign. This is why people like Warner Bros. president of worldwide marketing Sue Kroll are the new Hollywood stars.
“[T]here is good news for Moses and Noah fans,” wrote a New York Times book reviewer in her brief review of Obst’s book: “Hollywood has recently realized that Bible stories have preawareness.”
The earliest citations I found for this marketing sense of “pre-awareness” are from 2009. This one is from a November 17, 2009, post on the Adaddinsane blog, which is written by an anonymous web developer and screenwriter in London:
“Pre-awareness” is the movie industry buzzword it’s fashionable for writers to hate. It’s the word that gives us endless sequels, remakes (“re-imaginings”) and adaptations, and an apparent fear of original ideas.
There is an ordinary word that covers the concept: familiarity.
For reasons best left undisclosed*, I recently found myself looking up facts about California cities. I wasn’t searching for nicknames or mottoes, but somehow I ended up on Wikipedia’s List of City Nicknames in California, and … well, there went the afternoon.
The list doesn’t include one city nickname I’ve always liked: Manteca, in Central California, is known as Fat City. (Manteca is Spanish for “cooking fat.”) But it does contain plenty of nuggets, many of them new to me (a California native). I learned, for example, that Chatsworth, in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, is sometimes called San Pornando, and that San Francisco has more nicknames (ten) than any other California city.
Then there are all the “X of the world” cities and towns. A lot of them.
I’d known, of course, that Castroville is the Artichoke Center of the World and that Gilroy is the Garlic Capital of the World; indeed, I’ve attended the Artichoke Festival and the Garlic Festival. But some of the other world capitals surprised me:
Fallbrook: Avocado Capital of the World and Raisin Capital of the World. (But also see Selma, below.)
Forestville: Poison Oak Capital of the World. (Hey, I’ve been to Forestville. It ain’t that bad!)
Holtville: Carrot Capital of the World. (I had to look up Holtville on a map. It’s a town of about 6,000 in Imperial County, about 10 miles east of El Centro.)
Indio: Date Capital of the World. (I have fond memories of spring vacations in Indio. It’s in the hot, dry Coachella Valley, near Palm Springs on the map but worlds away in style. We’d always stop at Shields Date Gardens to order date shakes and watch a grainy black-and-white documentary called The Romance and Sex Life of the Date.)
Watsonville: Strawberry Capital of the World. (Don’t tell Oxnard.)
Willow Creek: Bigfoot Capital of the world. (Had to look this one up, too. It’s in Humboldt County, near the Trinity River. Population about 1,000.)
I understand the inclination toward superlatives, but where city mottoes are concerned, I prefer the poetic: Modesto’s sublime “Water Wealth Contentment Health,” Del Mar’s much-imitated “Where the Turf Meets the Surf,” Redwood City’s briskly reassuring “Climate Best by Government Test.”
I’m drawn to dark mottoes, too, like San Francisco’s “The City That Waits to Die.” But no California city beats Colma, just south of San Francisco, which Wikipedia reminds us was “founded as a necropolis in 1924.” One of Colma’s mottoes is “It’s Good to Be Alive in Colma”; it’s also known as “The City of the Silent” and as “The City That Waits for ‘The City That Waits to Die’ to Die.”
So far, the She’s is – I can’t believe I just typed “She’s is” –available only in Japan. But you can buy lady-wine right now, right here in the U.S.
Be. wines at my local supermarket, Piedmont Grocery.
Be. wines were introduced earlier this year by Beringer, the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley (established 1875).
“Get in the mood.” Be. point-of-purchase poster at Piedmont Grocery.
The brand is targeted at “eighties babies*,” according to Beverage Underground, an industry blog. A Beringer spokesman, Stephen Brauer, explains:
“Be.is about inspiring Millennial women to open up to the exciting world of wine without taking it too seriously. … This launch of this brand is particularly important to us because the women behind its inception are among the most curious and influential in the industry right now. We want to make sure they feel inspired to explore and are rewarded with a small but exciting indulgence.”
The name is a truncation of Beringer; I’m guessing that’s why it’s punctuated with a period. It also also works as an imperative, and it’s easily extended into other brand language: Pinot Grigio is called Be.Bright; Chardonnay is Be.Fresh. The store locator, I regret to inform, is labeled “Find your Be. Spot.”
Need a snack with your vino, girlfriend? Cadbury (now part of Mondelēz International!) has just the thing: Crispello chocolate, “three curved crispy wafer shells, each one filled with a smooth creamy center, dipped in Cadbury milk chocolate,” according to a press release. It’s “a lighter way to eat chocolate,” says Cadbury, which is why it’s OK for XX types.
Because, as we know, women need a lot of coaxing to get over our well-documented hormone-linked aversion to chocolate.
Just one little question, Cadbury: If it’s for gals, shouldn’t it be Crispella?
Yes, consumers are more demanding, time-starved, informed, and choice-saturated than ever-before (we know you know). For brands to prosper, the solution is simple though: turn SERVILE. This goes far beyond offering great customer service. SERVILE means turning your brand into a lifestyle servant focused on catering to the needs, desires and whims of your customers, wherever and whenever they are.
Is that in fact what “servile” means? No, it is not. Unlike most Trendwatching lingo—keep reading for examples—“servile” is a real word with real definitions and connotations. It isn’t a neutral term meaning “of service”; rather, it means “abjectly submissive,” “slavish,” “relating to servitude or forced labor.” Its synonyms are “obsequious,” “toadyish,” “sycophantic,” and “fawning.”
Not a positive association in the bunch. Indeed, the strong whiff of slavery that attends “servile” should disqualify the word from the marketing lexicon. It’s an adjective best reserved for Uriah Heep, one of Dickens’s least admirable characters, and others of his ilk.
Trendwatching—which calls itself “one of the world’s leading consumer trends firms”—has a decade-long record of coining attention-getting names, many of them peppy portmanteaus, to describe marketplace phenomena. Back in October 2010, the company devoted a trend briefing to what it called Brand Butlers. From what I can tell, “Servile Brands” is just a more offensive twist on “Brand Butlers.”
Trendwatching’s motto might as well be “X Is the New Y.” One trend briefing was titled “Catching-up is the new looking ahead.” Brand Butlers: “Serving is the new selling.” Nowism: “Why currency is the new currency.” And Servile Brands? “Why for brands, serving, assisting, and lubricating is the new selling.”
(A few words about “lubricating”: Back in 2004, Trendwatching used “daily lubricants” as a category title for “the fast growing class of products and services that cater to consumers' need for simplicity, and that literally lubricate daily life.” Um, OK. Nevertheless, the juxtaposition of “lubricating” and “servility” can’t help sounding slightly smutty.)
Once in a blue moon, Trendwatching coins a term that catches on: Pop-up Retail (first used in January 2004), Massclusivity (November 2003). But for every one of those keepers there are 20 clunkers like Snobmoddities.
As for Servile Brands, off the top of my head I can think of several catchy-yet-more-appropriate alternatives: At Your Service, SuperServe Us, Serves You Right. Or, if they wanted to stay with the portmanteau theme, Servantage, Serveriffic, ServeAce, or Servalicious.
But “servile,” no matter how much you lubricate it, sticks in the craw.
It says here that “kah” means “life” in the Mayan language; the ceramic vessels are “inspired by traditional Calaveras (skulls made from sugar) which are used in Day of the Dead rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.” Click anywhere on the Kah Tequila text for a surprise.
McSteven’s Vampire Brew Blood Red Hot Chocolate.
Also on the shelf from McSteven’s: Spider Cider and Skeleton Brew.
I love the PoiZin name, which is extended on the website: PoiZin Pen, PoiZindex, PoiZin Us. The prose on the back of the bottle is suitably purple:
As she stands in the clearing the cold wind dances through the trees, swirling her golden mane over her diaphanous, silken black gown. The full moon melts into the paleness of her skin. As she stirs the cauldron of Zinfandel she chants an other worldly [sic] incantation. From vials as old as the echoes of time she adds minute pinches of her ancestry. Her slender fingers rub together as the grains fall...
If you can tolerate more of that sort of thing—I chose to quit after “minute pinches of her ancestry”—the full text is here, along with a video about how the bottles are etched.
“Pink” isn’t just a color, reports Natasha Singer in the New York Times; it’s a marketing strategy to raise money for breast-cancer prevention and research. And it’s a verb:
In marketing circles, “to pink” means to link a brand or a product or even the entire National Football League to one of the most successful charity campaigns of all time. Like it or not — and some people don’t like it at all — the pinking of America has become a multibillion-dollar business, a marketing, merchandising and fund-raising opportunity that is almost unrivaled in scope. There are pink-ribbon car tires, pink-ribbon clogs, pink eyelash curlers — the list goes on.
Call it Big Pink:
Like Big Oil, Big Food and Big Pharma, Big Pink has its share of critics. Some patient advocates complain that Komen and other pink-ribbon charities sugarcoat breast cancer, which kills about 40,000 American women and 450 men annually. Others complain that pink marketing, despite the many millions it raises for charities, is just another way to move merchandise and that it exploits cancer by turning it into an excuse to go shopping. And some pink-theme products have no relationship with any charities at all. (Consumers should check before buying.)
For a decidedly jaundiced take on pink-ribbon marketing, read Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2001 essay, “Welcome to Cancerland.”