Why puns? Take for instance a print ad. The most important element of it is the headline Its primary function is to communicatekey selling points to customers in a mannerthat attracts attention and stimulates them tobuy the product. A number of different headlinefactors affect the impact on memory: –the number of words –psycholinguistic characteristics –and the use of rhetorical resonance
PsycholinguisticsPsycholinguistic characteristics have to do with emotive factors—• Image-inducing words• Humor• Play on words making the ad or slogan memorable
Rhetorical Resonance• An echoing or doubledness of meaning— among two verbal elements, or a visual and a verbal element (headline-graphic linkage). More senses mean more memory cohesion.• Echoing implies that two elements are arranged to give new meaning to each separate element.• Puns and other similar plays on words are believed to be the most common rhetorical tools for creating resonance.
Keep it short…and catchy• Starch maintains a catchy headline "should be short, euphonious, rhythmical, alliterative"• Wells, Burnett and Moriarty note that "an unexpected idea can be one with a twist, an unexpected association, or catchy phrasing"
Tropes as Word Play• Word play in ads invites reader interaction and a demonstration of knowledge, cultivating a feeling of being part of an “in group.”• Tropes are processed more deeply because they rely on nonliteral meanings of words. Viewers must assign a meaning different from the literal, which necessitates deeper processing.• Deeper processing results in more favorable brand attitudes, retention and recall, and purchase intentions among readers.
Reader Involvement• Word play is also effective because highly involved audiences are more likely to invest the cognitive energy necessary to understand the message.
Good headlines avoid…• formula-written "adese"• clichés• superlatives• stock phrases• vague generalities• abstract concepts too complex to decipher
Types of Word Play• striking slogans or headlines• puns and other word play• creative spellings• coinages• unusual syntax• modified clichés (but not clichés)• unusual choice of vocabulary
Word Play• Allusion: references to famous people, places, or myths• Antanaclasis: use of a word as both noun and verb (Our frequent fliers can frequent other fliers. What becomes a legend most?)• Paronomasia: Use of homonyms (If you want to get read, get red. Or, Some like it haute.)• Periphrasis: Substitution of a generic noun with a proper noun (Packs like luggage. Carries like luggage. Cleans like a Hoover.)
Word Play• Antithesis: Juxtaposing contrasting ideas in parallel structure (Sundown vs. sun dammage.)• Climax: You’re in trouble. You’ve had an accident. You need a lawyer.• Alliteration: Repeated repetition of beginning consonant.• Anaphora: Repetition of beginning word in sentence. (We will fight on land. We will fight on the sea. We will fight in the air.)
Not only memorable, but catchy• If it is successful, ideally the line should pass readily into common parlance as would a catchphrase, such as “Wheres the beef?” (Wendy’s) or “Whassup?” (Budweiser)
Alliteration• Jaguar: Dont dream it. Drive it.• Fila: Functional... Fashionable... Formidable...
Puns• Moss Security: Alarmed? You should be.• Wyborowa Vodka: Enjoyed for centuries straight.• Weight Watchers Frozen Meals: Taste. Not waist.• Northern Telecom: Technology the world calls on.• Lea & Perrins: The Worcester Saucerer.• Bendix Appliances: Well do the homework.
Puns• Flowers Fine Ales:Always pick Flowers.• First National Bank of Chicago:First relationships last.• Kenco Really Rich Coffee:Get Rich quick.• Kodak Gold:Is your film as good as Gold?• Ritz Crackers:Nothing fitz like a Ritz.• John Deere Tractors:Nothing runs like a Deere• Deodorant:You just cant help acting on Impulse.
The Brand as Pun• Absolut Vodka: Absolut magic.• Citibank: Because the Citi never sleeps.• Frosted Chex: Chexellent• Cutty Sark Whisky: Live a Cutty above.• Comet Electrical Stores: Lowering prices forever, thats Comet sense.• Cadburys Wispa Candy: You cant keep quiet about a Wispa
Rhymes• City Link: City Linking, smart thinking• Haig Scotch: Dont be vague. Ask for Haig.• London Sunday Mail: A newspaper, not a snoozepaper.• Zanussi: The appliance of science.• Timex watch: Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.• British Rail: Let the train take the strain.
Plant the Key BenefitSince the tagline is the leave-behind, the takeaway, surely the opportunity to implant a key benefit should not be missed?• Brooks Hats: If you want to get ahead, get a hat.• Polaroid:The fun develops instantly.• Weight Watchers: Taste. Not waist.• Adjustamatic Beds: For the rest of your life.• Philips: The best way to get music out of your system.
A Slogan Should Be UniqueOne of the most overused lines is “simply the best”:• American Legend: Simply the best.• Amiga: Simply the best.• Aspen: Simply the best.• Nissan: Simply the best.• True Digital: Simply the best.• Woolacombe Hotels: Simply the best.
The Idea MorgueA COPYWRITER DIES, and Saint Peter offers him a choice of Heaven or Hell. The writer asks to see both. Leading him to a doorway, Saint Peter says: "Here in Hell, we have a room just for copywriters." Inside, the writer sees row upon row of faceless hacks, all scribbling frantically as giant red devils lay into them with heavy whips."The meetings in five minutes! The meetings in five minutes" the devils scream."Uh ... better show me Heaven," the writer says. So up they go."Here in Heaven, we also have a room for copywriters," Saint Peter says. Peering into the second room, the writer again sees row upon row of faceless hacks, all scribbling frantically as giant red devils lay into them with heavy whips."The meetings in five minutes! The meetings in five minutes" the devils scream.The copywriter protests, "But I thought you said this was Heaven!"St. Peter says, "Well, up here, the work gets produced."