Today is "Cyber Monday," the day that retailers have anointed as the kickoff of the online holiday shopping season. "Cyber Monday" is a recent coinage, going back to a 2005 press release. "Black Friday," on which "Cyber Monday" is modeled, goes back to the early 1960s, and some newly discovered evidence illuminates its early use.  Continue reading...
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In mid-March the convention and visitors' bureau for Cleveland, Ohio, unveiled a new branding campaign for the city of about 400,000. The campaign, developed after "years of research" and many focus groups, had a theme, a logo, a website, and a hashtag. What it didn't have, the bureau insisted, was a slogan.  Continue reading...
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For about four decades in the 20th century, rhyme ruled American advertising. The period between the 1940s and the 1970s was the golden age of ad jingles and rhyming slogans. Today, ads rarely incorporate verse — and when they do appear, it's often awkwardly executed, derivative, or barely recognizable as rhyme. What happened?  Continue reading...
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From classic rock to Turner Classic Movies, from Classic Roast coffee to MapQuest Classic, we're living in a new Classic Era. What do all those classics signify, and what are "classic" brands trying to sell us?  Continue reading...
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Once upon a time, the verbs of advertising were need and want. Today you're more likely to hear a different verb. Poke around a bit, and you'll quickly discover that everyone — kids, young adults, teachers, you! — deserves "the best."  Continue reading...
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Some brands capture your attention with made-up words: Qajack and Squidoo, hungerectomy and splurjobbing. Other brands deliberately misspell familiar words: Klout, Flickr, Cheez-It. But some companies prefer a more traditional way to make an impression — one that might have pleased your third-grade teacher. They consult a dictionary.  Continue reading...
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"Plus" is a positive workhorse of a word. It can be a preposition (two plus two), an adjective (a C-plus grade), or a noun (the good weather is a plus). Until recently, though, "plus" has mostly stayed out of the verb column. That's changing, on the evidence of some recent sightings.  Continue reading...
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