Monday, July 29, 2013

The maniacal use of “experience”

Many marketers today are trying to portray every mundane and trivial action as AN EXPERIENCE. This trend is becoming ridiculous. Here are four examples:
“To help simplify the login experience at, we are in the process of standardizing account login requirements.”
[L.L. Bean’s advertising used to be famous for a simple, direct style; that was before the company started adding frippery like experience and in the process of. If Mr. Bean were alive today, he probably would write “To help simplify login, we are standardizing the requirements.”]*
Kindle FreeTime... allows parents to create a customized content experience for each of their children.”
[A customized content experience is nothing more than customized content plus two meaningless words.]
“The Philips Norelco NT9110 Precision Nose and Ear Trimmer [pictured]... makes nose and ear hair trimming safe, fast, and easy. The ultra sharp, closed cutting system avoids pulling for a more comfortable trimming experience.”
[I don’t want to have an experience; I just want to trim my nose hair.]
“Scientists based in Boston, Massachusetts recently released Peak Life Prostate, a brand new natural supplement that is in demand by retailers across the country.... all you have to do is take it once a day at breakfast. Many men have reported a positive experience.”
[Does that mean swallowing the pill didn’t make them vomit their orange juice and coffee?]
The Takeaway: Don’t try to glorify every mundane and trivial action by calling it AN EXPERIENCE; the attempt makes you sound histrionic, indiscriminate and callow.

See disclaimer.

Thanks to Paul G. Henning for his assistance.

*Notice that the first version is fully one-half frippery: nine words out of eighteen. Nor is this unusual; writers who are fond of frippery never stop; they use it in paragraph after paragraph. No matter how long their copy gets, it is always 50 percent (or less) substance and 50 percent (or more) frippery (example here).

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