This comes from the Shakespeare was absolutely correct department. English, we are told, is the hardest language to learn. It is difficult because of the many words, phrases, and idioms that come from other languages and also a full smattering of verbs that have completely irregular conjugations.
This should not pose a problem for those who use the language as a tool to make their living, or so you might think, because correctness and precision should be key to the making of said living.
Advertising does seem to be the odd man out, however, because subterfuge and misdirection are tools of the trade for those people. A story from TechDirt let’s the unsuspecting know how there must be double and even triple checking in cases of advertising, as what appears to be said is not what is really said. As sometime songstress Cyndi Lauper once said, “Money Changes Everything”. That was right before she penned the tune, “She Bop”.
The mobile phone business seems to have a serious problem with taking words that have a pretty clear meaning in English, using them in advertising and marketing promotions — but meaning something entirely different. For example, various mobile operators claimed “unlimited” broadband, but to them “unlimited” meant “really, quite limited.” Well, it seems we’ve got another situation like that, such as MetroPCS’s widespread marketing campaign that loudly proclaimed “No Contract.” Well, guess what, it actually meant that there absolutely is a contract, and any customer who signed up for MetroPCS after seeing the “No Contract.” advertisement would obviously know that, because in the welcome kit it sent, it pointed users to a URL, and at the bottom of that URL there was another link to a terms of service, and in the terms of service there was another link to “start a service request” which included some boilerplate about how you were agreeing to a contract. And, apparently, this is all very legal.
And the legality of subterfuge like this is the problem. The above example makes the case not only for clear, and unambiguous speech, it makes the case for removing the subsidy of cell phones from the situation. No subsidy, no contract necessary.
Imagine what a breath of fresh air that would be… Now make it happen.
By the way, the Shakespeare reference was to the statement, “First, kill all the lawyers!”
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