Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Hyperformance briefs, lowperformance ad copy

There's a blog ad on Althouse that should be nominated for some sort of reverse-Clio Award for lame advertizing. It's for a web-based research service called "National Data Support," that apparently offers, among other things, a legal brief-writing service.

I don't know how long those ads stay up there, so to be sure you get the visual effect, here's a facsimile of the ad. (I couldn't download the original photo from the ad, so I've pasted in a similar one from a Google image search for "dress shirt.")


The unintended suggestion that the briefs they produce would be a "hype-performance" or that their advertizing copy is mere "hype" is not a sign of good copywriting, but the intended play on words -- "hyper-performance" -- doesn't do much for me either. The whole reason I would be tempted to farm out my brief is that I and the people I work with are too hyper. Why would I want to compound my problems?

In the end, I think the real reason to inject the "y" was to suggest "high performance" while avoiding the phrase "high performance briefs." The fact they chose ad art that looks like a guy modeling a dress shirt seems only to underscore that other meaning of "briefs." Google "high performance briefs" and check out the number one search result here. ("Your briefs will be impregnated with great ideas"???)

UPDATE: Underpants! Did that make you laugh? See Wendy's comment.

The first meaning of that ad to me, was the "alternative" meaning -- not only because of the Futurama ad for "Light-Speed Briefs" (which were fancy space-age underpants). But my science-fictiony brain parsed the ad copy as "hyperspace performance underpants" and had nothing to do with hypertext or legal briefs whatsoever.

I suspect that the ad copy was written by someone on the cheap side of the elance freelancing website, and the company probably paid about 25 dollars to the writer. That's about what it's worth...

(and as an aisde, I learned from the Futurama DVD commentary that the word "underpants" is one of the funniest words in the English language - much funnier than "underwear" or "briefs")
Are you saying this ad is dragging me down?

Just figure out what "formance" is and all your questions will be answered.

Ever see the South Park episode with the Underpants Gnomes? I love that one. It has a lot about coffee too.
Ok, now there's something that I can agree with! The underpants gnomes episode was one of the funniest things I have ever seen on television. How can you resist this business plan?

#1 Steal underpants.
#2 ?
#3 Profit.
Okay, I've thought about it for two whole days, and I can't figure out what "formance" means.
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