Category Archives: catchphrases

Stop trying to make “Egg McMuffin” happen.


Like the hapless Gretchen in Mean Girls who wanted nothing more in life than to create a word meme that would take hold with her cohort, McDonalds has run into the ruthless buzzsaw of reality with its widely ridiculed spot:

Making your brand name (or variant thereof) part of everyday language is a quest with a long history, a few successes  (“Fedex it”) and some spectacular failures, like this epic Florence Henderson spot from the 70s:

This approach reached its nadir in the 80s with Jordan Case McGrath, whose Jim Jordan was a proponent of “nameonics” (which is not only idiotic sounding but also a play on the word “mnemonics”–a reference that nobody but a dork like me would know, or should). During nameonics’ brief, disgraceful reign, we got classics like “Deer Park, that’s good water!” and “Renuzit Doozit.”

The rise of social media seems to be prompting a nameonics resurrection, as advertisers try to “go viral.” But it’s not a good idea, as it was not a good idea 30 years ago, and for the same reason: an advertiser may own his brand, but the people own the language. Come up with a branded product or service that’s so unique and indispensable that there is no synonym for it, and the people will add it to the vocabulary with no prompting necessary.

Don’t believe me? Google it for yourself.


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And the winner for Next Bit of Hip Jargon Destined to Wind Up in an Ad for a Tired,Dated Brand is…

…”I’d hit that.”

The critical moment may have been when Gabourey Sidibe said it about Gerald Butler on the Oscar red carpet show.

You watch. “I’d hit that” will wind up being the new theme for Pepsi or Bud Light or KFC in, oh, 12-18 months. That’s the usual time lag.

The ur-moment for this type of thing was when Buick–Buick!–appropriated “It’s all good” for a while in the early 2000s. Although I guess car companies would shy away from this one. “I’d hit that” and unintended acceleration problems don’t mix, even in adland.