Saturday, December 10, 2011

On ad-speak and poetry

On ad-speak and poetry shamelessly re-posted in toto from Harriet the Blog at the Poetry Foundation

Ian Daly — a “planning director and cultural strategist” at a marketing firm in New York called Anomaly — recently compiled a list of words and phrases that he titled “Shit I Never Said Before Working in Advertising.” A sampling:
Blow it out
Ladder it up
Tease it out
Bullet it out
Build it out
Build affinity
Soft launch
Hard stop
Fair push
Push back
Reach out
Touch base
Connect around
Loop in
Circle back
Share of mind
Are you tracking? I’m tracking.
And it goes on, reading a little like a weirdly intricate instruction manual, a little like half-baked inspirational literature, and maybe a little like… poetry?
We’re reminded of Robert Archambeau’s recent essay on the various ways that advertising has co-opted (unwittingly?) the language and approach of Symbolist poetry. Writing about Lexicon — the company behind such evocative product names as “Blackberry,” “Swiffer,” and “Pentium Chip” — Archambeau says:
The greatest of Symbolists Stéphane Mallarmé, in his Crise de vers describes the poetry he admires as… “verse that from its constituents makes up a total word, new, strange to the language and like an incantation”. For him, the poem itself was a single word. And like the words coined by the people at Lexicon, Mallarmé’s total word gives us “an array of specific, resonant meanings and associations” rather than something more defined and limited.

Read Ian Daly’s full list and Robert Archambeau’s full article.

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