Friday, June 12, 2009

Advertising Writing! ! ! !

I found an Oriental Trading Co catalog and my mom's house and started reading.

Apparently they shifted their focus from "summer party stuff" to "teacher supplies". Who would have guessed? They look like great teacher products, too. (And, the company assures me, you can get the summer cool stuff catalog if you request it--it's not discontinued. What a relief!)

Anyway, the "watercolor crayons" on page 87 caught my eye and I started really reading. Unless otherwise noted, all these exciting quotes are from pages 82-89.

I've never seen so many exclamation points!

And I learned a few things. For example, the opposites of "bright" are not "dull/Dim" but "Tropical/Jeweltone"

And this: "50 Jumbo Duck Quills. These extra-long feathers would make a beautiful turkey tail".

How 'bout this magnificent claim: "400 Marvelous Mirror Tiles" which are described as "Exclusive! Each tile reflects light and colors!" Now, if you found a mirror that reflects only light but not colors, THAT might be worth the exclamation point!

In a big green oval on Page 87, it declares, "WOW! You get 12 boxes!" Amazing, considering the items are all sold by the dozen in that section. I believe 12 boxes does constitute a dozen still.

Under 6-colors-in-one-stick crayons, we get this gem, "Lets kids be creative anytime, anyplace." This must not be geared toward mothers. Anytime? Like during dinner? At midnight? And any place? Like the walls? Bathtub? Their clothes? And a rainbow marker is kind of anti-creative. What can you draw with it but rainbows?

Of course, you could buy this absolute necessity: '"What's the Answer?" Dry Erase Paddles'. Yes, ping pong paddles made from white boards. The text says, "Exclusive! Great for oral quizzes and games!" Yeah! We use white boards for talking with! "Pairs of Students can quiz each other for tests!" !!!!!!! Since they can't test each other on multiplication tables using, oh, pencil and paper? Or their voices?

Did it not occur to anyone that if you give a bunch of kids a bunch of wooden paddles, they will hit each other?

And every mother's dream product: "Window Chalk Marker Set". Why is this so great? "Easy to apply and remove from glass windows....chalk cannot be removed from non-glass surfaces." How many kids can really just keep it on the glass?

And there is an honest to goodness error in this sentence on page 64: "Specially designed to prevent spilling, these sturdy pots have tapered bases."

I think maybe they meant "flared"?

This is one of my favorite bits of advertising copy ever:

"12 Exciting White Board Erasers

People find all kinds of thing exciting, but I doubt anyone really gets that worked up over dry erase board erasers.

To be fair, I read a bunch of the rest of the catalog and most of it didn't have any gaffs like these--although there is a photo of a product--a picture frame craft kit with a camping theme-- where the crafter puts a foam fire on a frame for decoration--but the placement of the fire makes it look like you are burning the subjects of the photo in a roaring bonfire.

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