The other day we were watching TV, as we are wont to do, and Mike was fast-forwarding through the commercials, as we are also wont to do (mostly because I feel, with all of the increasingly awkward product placement in the shows themselves, that I reach my daily limit for advertisers using words incorrectly by, say, 2 p.m. every day) but something caught my eye and I made him rewind so I could watch the whole thing at its proper speed. It was a commercial for Olivieri Pasta, which was relatively unimpressive on its own, but it featured an interesting tagline, displayed in quite a large font on the screen and mentioned at quite a loud volume by the voiceover guy. It said, “Now made with natural ingredients.” Er, now? NOW made with natural ingredients? Not “now made with 100% natural ingredients!” or “now made with MORE natural ingredients!” At best, this is a slogan that is a total snoozefest and a vague one at that … but at WORST, it is a damning indictment of the product they produced prior to the start of this particular ad campaign. Part of me wants to grab whichever advertising executive green-lit that by the lapels and shake him or her while shrieking, “Words MEAN THINGS!” but another more disillusioned (also entertained) part of me wants to spend some time brainstorming ideas for what exactly their pasta was made with before. Polyester? Latex? The radioactive cheese you get when you order nachos at a sporting event? Whatever it is they make artificial Christmas trees from?
I just checked their website, and one of the sliders on the homepage advertises that the pasta is “now made with Natural Pasta Ingredients”. Now, I know YOU know this, but I’m going to say it anyway: natural pasta ingredients is neither a) a proper noun, nor b) an actual thing that exists. It doesn’t need to be capitalized because it’s not a name, and one of the reasons that it’s not a name is that it’s not a concept that anyone uses, ever. I just … you know? Don Draper wouldn’t stand for this, and neither will I! You advertisers get off my lawn! Etc.! The day that Oreo starts running ads claiming their product is made with “Natural Cookie Ingredients” will be the day that I sell everything we own, book plane tickets for Mike and Ellie and I to a remote island somewhere, and then live a quiet but happy life on a secluded beach, drinking margaritas and using words the way our ancestors intended when they first chiseled them out onto stone tablets.