Phrases That Don’t Make Sense #2

Posted: December 8, 2012 in Anecdotes, Christmas
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I promised I would return to this topic in due time and seeing as I’ve made a second promise to update on a weekly basis rather than monthly inevitably I’m going to run out of material at a slightly more rapid pace. Even the Mayans can see that coming (Ooh, an apocalypse joke. Go me!)

So I said I would keep this as a backup topic; something to fill the void until I can conjure up fresh and sexy posts to assist you with your dwindling love life.

This installment is a rather festive one. Though that’s not to be confused with ‘uplifting’. And I am willing to bet that everybody reading this has either heard or seen this phrase this week. Probably today. Fuck, maybe it’s bellowing in your ear right as you absorb this very sentence…

The perfect gift for Christmas!

Now, who wants to tell me what’s wrong with this phrase? It’s an add-on slogan that gets attached to the end of an advertised product and as a coherent sentence there’s nothing out of place about it. Also, ignore the fact that this phrase has become ubiquitous in the advertising realm and is now stagnant as a result.

My issue with this saying is that everybody is using it. Think about that for a second. You see an advert for men’s cologne: “It’s the perfect gift for Christmas!” The next advert is for women’s vibrating, stimulating, sensual clothes pegs (it’s been a while since I’ve watched TV ads…): “The perfect gift yada-yada…”

What I want to know is who their demographic is. Who is this mystical target audience for whom all products that are being shown fit squarely within the lifestyle of this all-encompassing consumer who enjoys celebrity hardback tales of seedy corruption and debauchery as well as a Fisher Price space shuttle.

Does this make sense to anybody else? If it’s the perfect gift, the heavenly ambrosia of retail goods, then surely it would just be one ultimate item. Not everything can be the perfect Christmas gift idea otherwise they wouldn’t all be clamouring for our money and misdirected love. If it truly was flawless then not only would we want it but we would need it as well and so advertising itself on TV would be superfluous.

It might be just me on this one but the logic in this phrase is automatically cut down when I see the advert and think “I don’t want what you are offering. That makes it fallible. And thus imperfect,” because I think in articulate sentences.

And it’s not just used at Christmas either. You will have seen it used during other holidays: Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day (always that same classic rock compilation CD!). And just recently I opened up my Gmail to see this sent from New Scientist:

I think this quick glimpse into my private inbox capsulates my life perfectly...

I think this quick glimpse into my private inbox captures my life perfectly…

There is no meaning to this statement. At least not anymore. Maybe it’s not meant to be meaningful and it’s just a simple default tag line that gets dumped at the end of the commercial with very little premeditation. Advertisers probably don’t believe that people will rush out and buy ten Rod Stewart albums just because it was said to be the perfect embodiment of a present. So why use it then?

I could go into a whole offshoot about how perfection is an idea impossible to achieve and open up all sorts of yummy tangents. But I won’t. Not now I’ve upped my post frequency, That shit I’m going to save for St. Patrick’s Day.

Also, as a side note: On my last entry I was criticised (in a nice way) by a friend of mine who said that I overthink a lot of things that don’t need thinking too much about. Well I’m here to say that not only do I overthink things but I also overthink the fact that I overthink things. And just like that the mystery of my shortened sleep schedule is solved.

What would you class as your own personal perfect gift?

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