Does the word you made up make sense.

4 Apr

The entire works of Shakespeare incorporate over 17,000 words. Of those, 10% were first used by Shakespeare. I’m not going to imply that  this gives anyone the right to extend the English language as they see fit. But what it does suggest is that, upon hearing a new word for the first time, it’s safe to assume an audience will gather its meaning. Context has a powerful role in communication.

A new TVC from Mercedes in which the word ‘infoxication’ is invented.

Infoxication. The overwhelming sensation that comes with being subjected to a flood of information, to the extent that choice becomes complex. Apparently Mercedes is the remedy for this modern ‘infoxication’.

Mercedes, please stick this ad up your bum. It is championing the exact opposite of what makes your product desirable.

I expect my $150,000 car to be extremely complicated. And I expect $150,000 to afford me a certain level of choice and customisation. I expect to decide what fuel my car runs on, what breed of cow comprises my leather interior, how many speakers my music spews from. I want to ponder the benefits of silver over gun-metal grey, to dictate the amount of torque I generate, the number of spokes on my mags. I expect total control over all of these things because I am spending $150,000 on a car.

When I buy this car, I will have all the information at my fingertips. That’s because I will be choosing between six other cars of equal pedigree, most of them far more impressive than a Mercedes.

So please don’t brush over the details. Don’t make my luxury purchase feel generic. This is advanced motoring, and ‘infoxication’ sounds great to me. I want to know every specification detail that makes my car one of a kind. I might not know what 500Nm means, but I want to be able to tell people I have it in my engine. Because being rich lets me have a unique car, and having a unique car makes me special.

N.B. For the record, I am neither rich or special.

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2 Responses to “Does the word you made up make sense.”

  1. Matt Dickinson April 5, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    I see where you’re coming from, but aren’t mercedes trying to say that there are so many choices of car you can have, however their cars are the only ones that you need? therefore advertising their company as a whole, not any particular car of theirs?

    • jonoaidney April 5, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

      Hi Matt. Yeah, I do think that’s more or less what they are trying to say. But I wonder how Mercedes would go about backing up that case?

      They would probably begin by telling you about the engine capacity, the economy rating, the safety and comfort features, and suddenly we’re back in a world where a lot of information is needed to sell this thing.

      What I personally believe is that, for the men likely to buy this car, the joy is in the details.

      I’d really like to see the exact opposite of this ad. One that focuses on the joy that comes when even the smallest, least significant feature can be customised to reflect the buyer’s taste.

      I could easily be wrong, but that’s what it means to buy a luxury car in my mind.

      The ad looks beautiful, and although the copy is pretty cliched in places, it sounds lovely – it’s just the logic that doesn’t stick for me.

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