Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Got Melty?

Marketers tend to be pretty keen on the latest trends in linguistics. For example, milk marketers introduced "Got Milk?" after tapping into this popular phrasing that had been used by people from all over.

Or, as I discussed here on BizPizzazz a few days ago, QVC has started to market itself as just "Q" or perhaps "the Q". Popular venacular has a funny way of driving our malleable English language. Even Federal Express changed its name in ads because commonfolk referred to them as FedEx.

But it gets interesting when multiple companies try to position themselves as hip, using the latest pop culture terminology. Case in point: "melty." (Editor's note: from here on out I will be italicizing the word melty, or any derivative thereof, because the italics just make it look even melllllllllltier.)

Before this year, I don't know that I've ever observed the word melty being used in an advertisement, but I would hear it on occasion when with friends or overhearing others talking about their food. "I love when ice cream gets all melty and gooey," might be one usage.

But lately, melty is everywhere. Wawa, the Philadelphia-area king of convenience stores, has used the word melty in its radio commercials ad nauseum to promote its new ciabatta sandwiches. And Oscar Mayer, of hot dog and deli meat fame, is using melty in its ads and on its web site to promote its Deli Creations. And I know that I've heard another company use the word melty in a TV commercial but I just can't recall who it was... Quizno's perhaps? (Sorry, it just melted out of my mind.) (Editor's note: This article from The Onion cleared my memory and reminded me I heard melty in a Taco Bell commercial. I was close.)

So what's the lesson for marketers, then? If you're going to try to capitalize on a trendy word, be it melty, felty, welty, or whatever, go out and own that word! Don't just be a copycat and use it because everybody else is using it. Otherwise your message will just melt into the background...

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