A rule good writers follow is never to waste words. Using too many words will make your writing boring for your reader. Too many words can take the punch or impact out of an article or book.
Marketing and advertising people can’t waste words either. Advertisers spend a surprising amount of time attempting to convey an idea, message, thought or emotion instantly. Less is more in the marketing world.
What if you can communicate a whole idea with only one word? How great is that?! But, what if we can’t find that perfect word? Then what?
Easy peasy lemon squeezy, we make one up!
This isn’t my favorite made up word but the source is interesting. In 2012 Old Spice launched the “Believe in Your Smellf” campaign for their Champion line of products. The TV and print ad campaign was built around a corny retro, comically over the top manliness theme. A champion in every man. It featured a skinny little guy with the confidence to break up with his girlfriend, Heather Graham, and then win a horse race – as the horse. No, it didn’t catch on.
“Secret ingredients” was a popular marketing theme in the 60’s & 70’s. When Certs mints were introduced to the market it was just another mint. It actually doesn’t contain mint oil. Do you know what it does contain? Retsyn!
What is Retsyn? It’s a trademarked name for vegetable oil that has made the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Well, to be fair it’s copper gluconate, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, and flavoring. The copper gluconate is responsible for the green flakes.
It was extremely effective at distinguishing Certs on a crowded confection shelf. So let’s agree Retsyn is awesome!
We all know what halitosis is, right? Nope, probably not. Halitosis kinda means bad breath. It also kinda sounds like a medical term. Listerine definitely made up the word. They took the Latin word “halitus”, which means breath, and added the suffix “osis”, denoting condition or process. Halitus + osis = Halitosis.
Listerine was a jack of all trades cleaner for decades after it was introduced in the 1880’s. It was originally used as a surgical antiseptic. It was also used as a floor cleaner, foot cleaner, and gonorrhea treatment. Swish AND SPIT for sure.
It was also marketed to dentists to kill germs in the mouth until the 1920’s when Listerine began marketing direct to consumer and changed personal hygiene forever. Using the medical-sounding term halitosis, and playing on new social standing and acceptance anxiety in the culture at that time, Lysterine turned bad breath into a medical condition with a treatment. They dominated the dental aisle for decades with that little made up word.
Angus beef is beef from Black Angus beef cattle which is the most commonly raised in North America. Angus beef doesn’t actually denote a quality, it’s a marketing thing – a successful marketing thing. Retailers and restaurants can increase their margins as consumers will pay more for the Angus name.
Certified Angus Beef (CAB) on the other hand can take at least some claim as a quasi-quality certification. CAB is a registered trademark, and company, to help market higher quality beef. By and large, they help market USDA Prime and USDA Choice quality Angus beef.
Because of the success of the Certified Angus Beef brand, many consumers believe Angus beef itself is of higher quality. Even fast food restaurants have Angus Beef burgers, though, they aren’t Certified Angus Beef. These fast food joints are capitalizing on the perceived higher quality – with higher margins on items with the Angus name. McD’s should be sending the CAB people flowers and a thank you note every day.
Always Drive Your Marketing Message
Made up words marketers use can be powerful. Not all catch on but many do. When a brand successfully introduces a new word and can attach an idea or exclusiveness to it, they create differentiation most brands and advertisers only dream about. This is the essence of cornering the market.
So if you can’t find the perfect word for your marketing, make up an embiggin word and enjoy the cromulent effects. (Click here to make sense of the last sentence – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_the_Iconoclast)