This week I saw an article with the headline “Which Chocolate is a Secret Weapon Against Sunburn?”
I didn’t read the actual article because I’m guessing just about any chocolate can help prevent sunburn if you spread it on thick enough. That being said, I think hot fudge sauce would be easier to apply to the skin than say, a Snickers bar, but you might wanna let the sauce cool just a minute.
And a great feature about using chocolate as a sunscreen is that you don’t have to bring snacks. Just lick your arm. And if it’s hot enough outside you become your own chocolate fondue pot for you and your friends. “Hey, Cathy, pass me one of those strawberries on a toothpick.”
A museum of questionable wordings
I confess to being a collector of strange advertisement headlines and unfortunately worded newspaper headlines.
I saw a print ad last week for a furniture and appliance store promoting their “Huge Scratch and Dent Sale.” It made me wonder if it’s the sale that is huge or is it the scratches and dents, as it might make a difference to some customers.
Customer: My gosh, this refrigerator … it looks like someone ran into it with a car.
Sales Clerk: Well, this IS a huge scratch & dent sale.
Customer: Yea, I know, but I thought that meant …
Sales Clerk: Wanna see a leather couch with a really nasty gash?
Headlines of irony & the obvious
You have to imagine that reporters and editors often write headlines with a smirk on their face. For example …
“Spartanburg Man Charged with Assault After Hitting His Girlfriend in the Face with Anger Management Notebook.” The article goes on to say that the girlfriend responded by slicing his hand open with a box cutter. Both were arrested. Chances are this couple won’t be featured in an eHarmony commercial but they sound pretty compatible to me.
“Missing Boy Found Alive in His Home.”
(Well dang, who would’ve thought of looking there?)
“Man Interrupts Mating Bears, Pays the Price”
A standard piece advice often give to writers is “show, not tell” which urges the writer to enable the reader to see, not just hear, the story. This headline gives us the visual of a 3-act play in just seven words.
Act 1: Bears are mating after a romantic dinner.
Act 2: Man of questionable intelligence interrupts mating bears.
Act 3: Mating bears become mauling bears when interrupted.
And beware of headline typos
“Is Iran Hiding Nikes?”
(Personally, I think that being sneaky with Air Jordans is just Iran’s ploy to divert attention to their secret nukes program.)
“Will Nobel Peach Prize Be an Albatross for Obama?”
(It sounds like the Noble Prize committee has expanded its work to include judging produce and livestock at county fairs.)
Email ads ad nauseam
Email ads must get your attention with their subject line. Some do succeed in snagging my attention but often for the wrong reasons:
“Liecnesed Pharmacy Ofefers High Quality Pharmaceuticsal” (I think the subject line tells you everything you need to know about this company.)
“Want to Start Your Own Law Firm?”
(You bet! In fact, I wanted to do this years ago but a really uptight lady at the state attorney general’s office said I must have a law degree first.)
A similar one: “Have You Ever Dreamed of Starting Your Own Daycare Center?”
(No, but I’ve had other terrifying nightmares almost that bad.)
From business coach, Cathy Godwin: “Frankly, the word “goat-setting” turns on my personal snooze button …”
(Apparently, proofreading doesn’t light Cathy’s fire either. But I do have to admit that goat-setting does intrigue me more than goal setting or even cow tipping.)
A Groupon Ad: “Range Time + Gun Rental + Targets for Two People”
(Can I nominate two people to wear the targets?)
And lastly, here is one of my all-time favorite ads: “Shamanic Boot Camp in Beautiful Montgomery, Alabama”
(There are so many oxymorons in that phrase that I hardly know where to begin.)
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at email@example.com. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson