Monday, April 23, 2007

Oh, the humanity!

I consume a lot of business media, so I’m seeing a lot of human-ness lately.

Cisco is running a campaign about something called “The Human Network” which must be what I’m on right now because my wireless connection speed is dial-up slow.

And a few pages later, Dow (aka Dow Chemical) brings us “The Human Element,” which I guess is...them?

These two outfits must have gone to the same focus group, in which they found out that people think big business is cold, impersonal and amoral. Hence the need to “humanize” their respective brands.

“Human” is one of those words that, when you see it in the context of advertising, is best understood by putting the word “not” in front of it. So, for example, when Dow says it’s all about “The Human Element”, what they mean is “The not-Human Element.” It’s Dow Chemical, for Chrissakes. Better living through chemistry!

Here’s some other terms that, like “human,” pretty reliably mean their exact opposite when used in advertising:

State of the art

Feel free to add your own to the list.

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