Friday, February 22, 2008

This post is solely the opinion of the author. It is presented as humorous observation and does not imply any bias or bigotry. All rights reserved.

One of my favorite differences between English and American culture is the discrepancy in the way we express ourselves in print advertising. In sharp contrast to the careful, over-analyzed, painstakingly worded, extensively-focus-grouped, legal-reviewed-to-death copy we seem to turn out in the States, the English seem much more focused on being witty and conversational than on being politically and corporately correct. There are exception in both cultures, of course, but overall I have found the writing in adverts here to be remarkably more candid, notably more relaxed and generally far wittier than in the ads I see in America.

(Did you notice that? I had to note the exceptions there. Couldn't leave that disclaimer alone. Might as well wave my own little American flag in the air now... no doubt which culture still exerts a prevailing influence over my instincts.)

It's ironic given the fact that our cultural stereotypes would lead one to expect much more formality on this side of the pond than on the other. But I have to think that the American advertising industry actually has a lot to learn about the merits of being informal from the British, improbable as that might sound. Just think how much easier life would be, not to mention how many more trees would still be standing in the US, if the legalese on American marketing materials looked more like this:

6 Comments:

Blogger denzylle said...

I was standing at a cigarette counter in a supermarket (not buying cigarettes, I hasten to add!) with an overseas friend (can't recall if it was a European or an American) and s/he said 'Wow! You don't pull any punches with the advertising, do you?' as we gazed at stacks and stacks of packets labelled with every of 'smoking kills', some of them very graphic.

11:49 AM  
Blogger denzylle said...

'every variation...' that should have said at the end.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Love your disclaimer! :) That ad is great, too.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Patois said...

Well, of course it would have to be Virgin.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I dare say that is correct.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Love it!

2:56 PM  

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