Superfluous Matter
Global Warming Sells Out

I walk by the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts every morning on my way to work and they always have a billboard or two advertising upcoming shows and such. Today was new billboard day (or maybe it was yesterday, I only see it on my way to work). The new billboard proclaims the new show to be "So hot it probably contributes to global warming!"

I know that it can be a good marketing idea to latch your product on to current events/issues that are popular with lots of people. And global warming is definitely a big issue right now. But it seems wrong to me to exploit an issue like that for marketing purposes.

The other problem I have with this is that it's not very clever. I mean, if you're going to sell out global warming at least do it in an amusing manner. At face value the statement is only amusing for a couple seconds, and not very amusing at that. There is the possibility that the statement is in fact much deeper and subtle though. The word "probably" in the tag line may be just hedging, but it could also be a sly reference to the dispute about whether or not global warming is caused by the actions of people, or whether it is a natural phenomenon. However I sincerely doubt the marketing people thought of this. I think they just didn't want to say that the play DOES contribute, since that would turn it into a negative, while saying "probably" implies a more joking tone.

Which leads to my final point. I find that in my writing and talking I often use words like "probably" or "possibly" and others that leave wiggle room in the interpretation of my communications. I don't like when other people do this so I'm going to try to stop doing it myself. If you aren't sure about something, then I think you should say that you are not sure and thus cannot make a definitive comment. It is still fine to communicate any information you have, but to say something like "X is PROBABLY a result of Y" is about as useful as saying nothing at all. Instead it would be better to say that "things A and B relate X to Y but I do not no if X is a result of Y" and then allow the person you are communicating with to make up their own mind. However, it is hard to change the way you communicate overnight, and of course I answer to no one here, so I'll write however I want. I only said I'd TRY to change, heehee. :), that got a bit long and random. Maybe I shouldn't read signs as I walk to work and apply my mind to something useful.

Previous post | Next post