Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Barely Passing Grade in Advertising 101

While driving through the High Five this morning, I saw a billboard for the Verizon Droid phone, with the caption describing it as a "BARE-KNUCKLED BUCKET OF DOES" (example here), and the point of the ad completely missed me for a second.

If you've seen other Droid advertising, you may have noticed the shorter catchphrase "DROID DOES," and such ads go on to list all the features of the phone, especially in comparison to their main competition, the iPhone. (Even as an iPhone owner, the description of the latter as the "iCan'ttakepicturesatnight" cracks me up.)

But here's the thing: "Does" (the verb) isn't usually found in buckets, so when I, the casual driver keeping at least one eye on the road (being on a very tall bridge and all), saw the phrase "bucket of does," I didn't immediately think of "does" being a form of the verb "do," but rather as the plural form of a female deer. And for a moment, the thought going through my head was "Why would you want a bucket full of deer?", along with "Wait--deer don't even have knuckles."

So what do you think--does (as in the verb, not the deer) this ad miss its mark? By the time I got what they were talking about, I was well past the billboard and thus lucky to remember who made the phone in the first place. Would this ad work better on TV or radio, where you could hear the word "does" pronounced? Or does everyone else in the world get the context, and I was just way too tired on a Sunday morning. Talk to me in the comments.

UPDATE: It appears that The Language Blog beat me to the punch on this subject a few months ago. Great minds think alike...

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