I spotted this ad for Little People Big World, a TLC reality show, in a magazine recently. I’ll save the matter of the exploitative (or perhaps self-exploitative) nature of the show for another rant. Or not; honestly I don’t really care. What does bother me is the copy on the ad. I mean: The. Copy. On. The. Ad.
I have loathed marketing’s overuse of the period for as long as I can remember. And I do distinctly remember loathing it when I was no more than 10 or 11, at least. In fact, I specifically remember seeing this usage on the billboard that used to be on top of the old liquor store where Oakland Avenue curves and becomes a one-way at 12th St SW, where now there’s a Kwik Trip, in my hometown of Austin, Minnesota. And I complained to my mom about it. Yes, I remember things like this. Forever.
But I think marketing’s abuse of the period has grown increasingly loathsome in recent years, resulting in utterly pointless examples like what you see here. I suppose “Live. Lived. Large.” does, perhaps, convey a slightly different meaning than simply saying “Life lived large.” But, really. Does it ultimately serve any purpose greater than annoying me?
I’ve come to realize, though, that there’s a very easy formula here, suitable to serve as the foundation for a Mad Libs approach to writing marketing copy. Observe:
I suppose I shouldn’t be using the Mad Libs logo without their permission, but come on… they claim it’s “the world’s greatest word game!” (Exclamation point included.) Take that, Scrabble! (I mean, “Scrabble BRAND Crossword Game”) Besides… does the world really need a Space Chimps-themed Mad Libs book?
Got a good marketing tagline using the Mad Lib? Post it below!