Friday, 31 July 2009

Sneaky Words - another reason I should get rid of my television

The obvious reason I should get rid of my television is that it is far too easy for me to sit in front of it, watching the same old rubbish every day instead of doing something productive. But another reason to get rid of it is so that my brain isn't subconsciously assaulted by adverts every ten minutes.

It really bugs me how nearly every advert, whether it's about face wash or compensation lawyers, uses sneaky words like 'COULD', 'APPEAR', or indefinite quantities like 'THE AMOUNT YOU DESERVE'. Listen carefully enough and you'll see that most adverts promise NOTHING about the product they are trying to sell. Even phrases like 'RECOGNISED by the British Skin Foundation' mean nothing.

Words can be powerful things. Sometimes they seem like they are full of promises, but look a little closer and you'll spot the sneaky ones that snatch those promises away.


  1. Because of this post, I will dedicate the next three months to doing little else but watch television. Just to try and identify those sneaky little subtleties.

  2. Yep - in Politics they're known as "weasel-words". My Dad used to stab at the MUTE button when ads came on.

  3. Couldn't agree more. Quite cynical actually, aren't they?


  4. I like the hair-care products that say: "71% of people agree". Well you know what? I'd much rather know what the other 29% have to say!

  5. Haha, Robert! That wasn't my intention ;)

    Ian, my grandad does that. But then often leaves it on mute for the actual programs too... I've started muting adverts because I swear they increase the volume level when they come on!

    And yup, Nik, they are!

    Brian, totally agree. Also, often the '71% of people who agree' are often taken from a sample of 250 people or so. Not very representitive of the millions living in the country, I think.


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