Saturday, March 13, 2004

Advertising Follies

Driving to work I heard a radio ad with a sentence that raised hairs on the back of my neck. I will attempt to reproduce it here, and then shred it. You will have to imagine the annoying announcer’s voice on your own.

“Please buy a grill from Frank’s Grills, the company who literally invented home grilling.”

Problem No. 1. A company is not a person or an animal with a name, and therefore should not be referred to as a “who” or “whom.” Please use “that.”

Problem No. 2. How do you figuratively invent home grilling? If you can’t figuratively do something, then a reader has to assume the action is literal.

Otherwise, you would write, “He literally walked to the neighborhood grocery store. Then he literally bought a bag of groceries, literally paying for them with cash. After that, he literally visited a strip club.”

Don’t use “literally” as a garden-variety intensifier.

(And yes, I know this entry has shown up later than the 13th, but that's when I wrote the thing. In the interests of chronological accuracy, if not blogging preciseness, I've bumped it back.)