Tales of the Tape - June 1990

by Dennis Daniel

Dennis Daniel jun90Ad-hoc phraseology. I hate it. It's uncreative, pandering, ludicrous, boring, typical and, horror of all horrors, something that we Production Directors have to put up with every day! What do I mean by ad-hoc phraseology? Those annoying "catch words" that have been used in most radio commercials ever since advertising began! Here's a list of some of the ones I hate the most:

1. "The hottest"

2. "The wildest"

3. "The greatest"

4. "That's right!"

5. "It sizzles!"

6. "Conveniently located at...."

7. "That number again is...."

8. "You'll be amazed...."

9. "It's unlike anything you've ever...."

10. "The number one...."

11. "Hurry!"

12. "It's unheard of...."

Behold the terrible twelve. Not a day goes by that I'm not uttering one of these lame, retail oriented, non-creative garbage phrases and words. Of course there are many more than these 12, it's just that I hate these the most. I'll explain why.

"The hottest": Everybody says their "the hottest." "The hottest club," "the hottest sale," "the hottest fashions." The phrase is used so much that it practically doesn't mean anything anymore. Do you think there's one human being out there who is actually going to go to the specific place or product advertised because some announcer says it's "the hottest?" Okay. Maybe one or two people.

"You'll be amazed...": No I won't. I've seen it all.

"It's unlike anything you've ever....": Nothing is unlike anything. It's just a commercial for God's sake! Do they really think anyone is buying this crap? (I know...those same one or two people.)

"The number one": Here we go again! Who's tallying up the votes? Unless there's some kind of legitimate statistic like, "voted number one by Road and Track magazine," it's all crap. Besides, what's wrong with being number two? If I had a nickel for every time I've said "the number one...."

"Hurry!": Has this ever made you hurry? "It's the biggest sale in our history, don't miss it! Hurry!" Nah. "Dennis, the building's on fire...let's get out, hurry!" Yep. (By the way, "Don't miss it" and "The Biggest" also annoy me to no end.)

"It's unheard of....": Then I'd rather not hear it.

Okay...maybe I'm being a bit to harsh. Maybe it all really doesn't matter. Look at it this way: to the average listener, all these phrases go in one ear and out the other. It's audio wallpaper. But, to poor saps like us, who probably cut about 3000 commercials a year, these ad-hoc phrases ring in our heads! The only thing we can do is try to avoid using them whenever we can.

Editor's Note: Since we picked on club spots in this issue, we couldn't resist adding a few overused club spot phrases to Dennis' list. If you can think of more, you're welcome to add to either list!

1. "If you're looking for the hottest party in town...."

2. "...playing your favorite dance tunes all night long."

3. "...the best in live entertainment."

4. "...rocks the house...."

5. "Dress code strictly enforced."

6. "Bring your dancin' shoes...."

7. "The party never stops at...." ♦

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