Tuesday, December 02, 2003



Elastomeric crescents


Several months ago, author Dave Barry ran a humorous article on the "sneakerization" of the shaving industry. For decades, razors worked fine with one blade. 1971 ushered in the era of the twin-blade razor. According to Barry: Currently we are up to four blades, and it's unclear how much farther this trend can go...

One thing that Barry notes is that the new razors come with things like "ergonomic handles" featuring "knurled elastomeric crescents." KECs are simply little pieces of rubber on the handle, but you have to give the marketing department points for creative naming. It's like calling the cap on a felt tip pen the "media hydration maintenance system", or the cord on a toaster the "power induction conduit". The military is famous for this kind of thing, as are patents. For example, Pop Rocks is the famous candy that pops and sizzles in your mouth. Its patent calls it a "gas-entrapping confection". A Popsicle is a "quiescently frozen confection". And so on.

Since I read Barry's article, I've come across many examples of this kind of marketing spin. Here are three of the best:
  1. This site advertises a watch that uses an automatic winder. According to the ad's description of this winder: "On the basis of terrestrial attraction, a rotor turns and transmits energy." The phrase "terrestrial attraction" is marketing-speak for gravity. What's even funnier is that it would appear that this ad is plagiarizing this page.
  2. If you look at the ingredient label on lots of sports drinks and energy bars, one of the main ingredients is "glucose polymers". The phrase "glucose polymer" is a fancy way to say "sugar". (Good recipe for homemade Gu here)
  3. Last year my mother gave us a fancy showerhead that's about a foot in diameter as a gift. Two weeks ago I got around to installing it. As I was opening the package I noticed in the blurb that this showerhead offers its users not a shower, but a "drenching rainfall experience."
You look at things with a whole new perspective after you start your day off with a drenching rainfall experience, let me tell you....

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