Advertising IQ

Listening to CablePulse 24, I encounter a cell phone text-messaging ad, selling daily horoscopes and other stuff, and I came away a little disturbed. Maybe it’s the fact that there’s something always a little flaky about ads selling psychic services and stuff. And there’s always a picture of a starscape and a cheapo profile of the Earth, while various astronomic symbols flash across the screen. This was no different.

But what synched things for me was the second part of the ad, where if you text “WIN” to a certain number, you’re entered in a daily draw for “prizes”. You see shots of beautiful people playing with their cellphones. Meanwhile, a deep-voiced announcer explains the deal and then says: “for one-point-two-five dollar per day.”


That would be a dollar-twenty-five, wouldn’t it?

So why doesn’t he say “a buck twenty-five”?

And, for some reason, I come away disturbed.

The other ad rant I have to make is against the producers of Axe body spray. Shopping with Dan on Friday, we came upon a selection, and I finally got a chance to see how they labelled their various scents. Let’s see, there were:

Apollo (Erin says “oh, yeah, you wish” — I say “would that be before or after the shower?” An important difference, I think)

Phoenix (Singed feathers smell?)

Essense (of what?)

And my personal favourite:


What the heck does touch smell like? Saying that, I wonder if Axe’s next “flavour” will be “one hand clapping”.

Oy vey! And to think somebody got paid to come up with these names.

What to do when Hurricane Season goes over the top

Tropical storm Rita has just formed near the Bahamas where it looks set to thread the needle between Key West and Cuba and head into the Gulf as a Hurricane, making for Texas (seems like you picked a good time to go on holiday, Jack).

There are still six weeks left in hurricane season, assuming that the hurricanes cooperate and go dormant starting November 1st. There are four storm name spaces left in the 2005 season: Stan, Tammy, Vince and Wilma. Remember, these lists get cycled over a six year period, and some storm names (like Katrina) get retired, and so letters which don’t contain enough names, like Q or U, X, Y and Z tend not to get used. Which is a pity, because Hurricane Zelda has a nice ring to it.

But I’m willing to bet that there will be more than four named storms within the next six weeks. What does the National Hurricane Centre do when they get past W (reaching W is itself a rare occasion)? Do they start on next year’s names? Do they bring in emergency X, Y and Z names? What?

In late September 2003, we were only dealing with Hurricane Juan. We may have seen Hurricane Stan by the time the second anniversary rolls around. Say what you like about global warming, but it has been a very bad year for hurricanes, hasn’t it?

(Update): Wikipedia supplies the answer to my question:

Should there be 22 or more named storms, the letters of the Greek Alphabet will be used to name storms after Wilma, starting with Alpha, then Beta, Gamma, etc.

Interesting! And also a shame. I would have liked emergency use of X, Y and Z names…

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