It started innocently enough. Experience the amazing. Find your happy. Start your impossible. But these were just gentle probes to test us. Intended to lower our defences. Soften us up for the second wave.
Feel the feeling. Taste the tasty taste. Taste the feeling. These are all headlines on ads that ran. There are 171,476 words in the Oxford English Dictionary. Yet it seems inevitable that any day now a brand will tell us to Feel the feely feelings or Feel the taste or Feel all the feels while tasting the tasty taste of feelings.
For all the talk of engagement and metrics and brand affinity, what exactly did Hyundai expect us to do with the line ‘Feel the feeling’? What else are we going to do with a feeling? Apart from taste it. It’s like that bit on the brief that says ‘what do we want the consumer to feel?’ Clearly the answer was ‘the feeling’. It’s not obvious what that feeling is though. Confusion? Indifference? Nausea? Ridicule?
Advertising used to have headlines like…Before they’re roasted in garlic and rosemary they’re soaked in urine and excrement (RSPCA), You may get lost, but not in the crowd (Porsche) and Michael Jordon 1 Isaac Newton 0 (Nike). Exciting, provocative, curious, arresting. Lines that demanded your attention. Compelled you to read on. Entertained you. Made you smile. Told you something interesting. And importantly, treated you with respect. As someone who could work out what was being said.
Now we’re told to feel an unspecified feeling. Or taste it. Or to taste something that has a taste that can only be described as tasty. Perhaps more concerning is that ads like this are self-perpetuating. The more of them that run, the more they’ll breed. Because if everyone else is doing them, they must be right, right?
Part of me wants to ask those responsible ‘are you ok hun?’ But as usual, the cynic in me won. So instead I thought I’d get in one the act. The following lines are for sale at £5,000 each. Don’t miss out. Jumping on this bandwagon is a one-time only chance to feel the dreamy feeling of brand fame dreams.
Fragrence (well, Christmas is coming)…Smell the smelly smell.
Price comparison website…Save the sizzle. Save the sausage. Save the savings.
Theme park…Enjoy the enjoyment of riding the rides.
Soft drink…Drink the taste of the drinky drink.
Virtually identical rival soft drink…Drink the tasty taste while feeling the feels.
Beer…Drink the feeling responsibly.
Mobile operator…Talk the talk while walking the walk phoning the phone.