Placed in Commentary
I know its fashionable to laugh at badly used language, but I couldn’t decide whether this sign in my local supermarket was dreadful or genius. My writer’s reaction was to laugh out loud and look for the hummus juggling on a unicycle, but my marketer’s reaction was ‘Brilliant’! I stopped, looked and suddenly thought about dips in a new way (for a moment anyway). Perhaps they could have a whole new depth and an ability to transform a dull social occasion. If a wine can be amusing, why can’t a dip be entertaining?
Given the lack of invention on the signage in the supermarket I think it was probably not a deliberate attempt to reposition dips.
If you want to make an honest impression, use honest words
The same supermarket also had an interesting notice by the tomatoes. All the tomatoes were more expensive than normal and the notice carefully explained why they cost more: bad weather in the growing regions resulting in poor harvest. It would have been a nice piece of relatively honest communication if they hadn’t so studiously avoided using the words ‘cost more’ or ‘prices have gone up’ – like an eel wriggling in a net. Instead they talked about prices firming. ‘Firming’? It totally undermined the message of honest communication.
The evidence that the tomatoes had ‘gone up in price’ was there for all to see with the $12.99 per kg sign next to the explanation. So why ruin it with the word ‘firm’?
Nobody was fooled by it and many people would have be put off. I don’t believe anyone would or would not buy the tomatoes based on the notice, so its purpose was to built a sense of trust, not actually sell tomatoes. It failed, all because they couldn’t use honest words – They’d have been better off with no explanation at all.