Thursday, September 15, 2016

Copywriters' Coin of the Realm

I am a friend of neology. It is the only way to give a language copiousness and euphony.

—Thomas Jefferson 

While near the bottom of Madison Avenue's pecking order, copywriters do have one prerogative: to coin new words, or neologisms.

Just as everyday neologisms (for example, Spanglish, cattitude and entreporneur) empower conversation, copywriters' neologisms empower ads.

They can, in fact, be so forceful they're absorbed by English, and we forget they began life in an ad (for example, kleenex, astroturf and motel).

Neologisms come in handy because "they sound funny and weird, and have a catchy nature," says Ruta Kalmane in Advertising: Using Words as Tools for Selling.

They also arrive easily. (I'll coin one now: a cheesy telemarketing call is a Mumbuy.)

My favs include fabulashes, craisins and, last but not least, Corinthian leather.

Corinthian leather was coined by a copywriter to describe the upholstery in Chryslers of the 1970s. 

TV pitchman Ricardo Montalban made famous the line "richly-cushioned luxury seats made of fine Corinthian leather."

In reality, Chrysler's upholstery was vinyl and originated not in Corinth, Greece, but Newark, New Jersey.

The late Montalban admitted the neologism "means nothing."

Powered by Blogger.