• Writing about language with language is like designing about design. Or coloring about color. It’s also a bit like performing an autopsy with a severed head. But at the intersection of perspective and experience we find a small space to talk about the language used in advertising, specifically for our interest, the language used in social marketing and advertisers looking to tap into the vein of green consumerism, sometimes called prosumerism.

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January 02, 2007



Considering the significant influence one's propensity to utilize language has on the ability to convey perception; do language and reality inherently become interdependent?

Language can be both liberating and restrictive to reality. Yet, the notion also lends a vice versa.

Language inspires by initiating new potential and meaning to the passé; but it also holds the power to extinguish collective thinking by generating multiple meanings of a singular word.

In turn, interpretations are shaped which can both unite and intensify the deviation of perceived realities. For this reason, our methods to both express and absorb stimulus differ, effecting reality and some may say its authenticity.

Reality also employs language, and even more so, communication...For it is the ability to interact and communicate which serves as our common denominator.

No Bones

I'm not sure Luntz is manipulating language. Language manipulates people. It's the "guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people" NRA argument. Or, maybe it's more like the joke "gun's don't kill people, bullets kill people."

Luntz is just choosing the right bullets.

Michelle Lewis

This is quite interesting, and makes me think of how we don’t tend to get behind the politician, for instance, who rails about something abstract such as “we’re for clean air” whereas if we hear the guy who has got a story, such as “we’re going to protect your child from death/illness” then we’re sold. So then does the variable interpretations that threaten the authenticity of language lessen? I.e., what did we really mean by “clean” and “air” and “are”, vs. Were we saved from death? Is our child ill? What’s the relationship between the lexicon and the demonstration of its terms – the story that it purports to tell – which seems less vulnerable to divergent interpretation? Might the “brand” be more “authentic” because it tells a story that speaks to our individual truth, without enigmatic explanation, even though it does not support a collective reality?

No Bones

There's a nice analogy to Buddhism here. Buddhists talk about not talking about being authentic, but rather being so and not talking about it as a more powerful way to explain authenticity. That may be how we should live, but I'm not convinced it is how we learn.

Patagonia may be an example in advertising about this.

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