Thursday, May 24, 2012

Be good. Write well.

What's wrong with this picture? 

Nothing, really. In fact, I rather like the idea of fudge-covered caramel popcorn. 

And the boots? Well, maybe when I was 20 years younger. Nah. Even back then, I would've rather gone barefoot and eaten fudge-covered caramel popcorn than risk breaking my neck wearing stilettos on cobblestone.

What's wrong is not the picture, but the slogan: "Be bad. Snack well." 

OK, I get that the name of the product is Snackwell's and so someone thought it was a clever play on words. Maybe. 

But when you combine "Snack well" with "Be bad," it doesn't work. At least, not for me.

Why? Because "well" is an adverb, describing how an action (snacking, in this case) is being done. The ad is telling you to buy this product in order to "snack well."

The problem? "Be bad." "Bad" is an adjective, not an adverb, and therefore not the opposite of "well." It's the opposite of "good." But we all know that to say "Snack good" is wrong, right? (Right?) Well, with the exception of the Applebee's people, that is.

So if these aren't opposites, doesn't that kind of ruin the word play? And logically (granted, maybe logic shouldn't even enter a conversation about marketing), they're telling you to be bad, presumably by indulging in their product, which is supposed to make you "snack well." Wouldn't that be being good?

I think I'm reading way too much into this. But it makes me think of another topic that should be addressed: when to use "bad/badly/good/well." Hint: You are NOT feeling badly about the Minnesota Twins' pathetic season so far. Stay tuned ...

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