Nothing cosmic today. Just a frustrating little topic that I need to get out of my system. Inane copy that tries so hard to be clever, it leaves a “clunk” where, if it were written better, it would resonate a bit.
For weeks, I’ve been hearing a radio commercial on Chicago stations for the new Four Winds Casino opening soon in New Buffalo, Michigan. It’s pretty typical casino advertising, but it does include one reference that drives me crazy. The female voiceover says,, as nearly as I can remember it….. “the stakes you can play for are almost as large as the steaks you’ll enjoy in our restaurant.” Now, think about that one a second. (That ‘s more than the writer did, I’m guessing.)
Oh, of course I understand the writer is trying to make a point of big, delicious steaks, and using the “stakes” wordplay to make it memorable. And any run-of-the-mill writer could have competently related the two. “Big stakes await you in the casino AND in our beautiful restaurant” or something like that. But the way it’s phrased here, it doesn’t work. It’s just dumb and doesn’t make sense to the listener’s ear.
“So, you’re saying the stakes I’ll PLAY for are almost as large as the steak I’ll eat for dinner. Um….let’s say the dinner steak is roughly as large as, say, a hardcover book. Therefore, my wagers on the gambling floor can be almost (but not quite) as large as a book. WHAT THE @ #$*)@DOES THAT MEAN?
It’s just lazy. If you’re a writer, care what you write and read it for sense before you produce anything. And if you’re a creative director or, God forbid, a client, care enough to FIX dumb little things like this. If you’re going to use words to try to influence a consumer, it is not too much to ask that they make sense and perhaps even a point! I know you’re out there rolling your eyes and thinking “Come on, nobody listens to it that closely.”
Well, you might be right. But it is sloppily-written copy like this that has trained our audiences NOT to listen closely. If the writer and advertiser don’t think the words really matter much, why should the listener?