The Marketing Pop Talk Pop Quiz
Written by Leslie Savan, based on her book SLAM DUNKS AND NO-BRAINERS: Language in Your Life, the Media, Business, Politics, and, Like, Whatever

You can't sell a thing if your words don't have that zing. Pop language--the words and phrases that practically pop out of the screen or page to connect with the consumer--is instrumental to all marketing, whether you're selling cars, political policies, or your own branded self. But you gotta know the territory.  

To test your pop chops, answer the following questions and find out if you've got the right stuff or need to ramp it up a notch.

Which of the following phrases does NOT appear in an ad or on a package for a product?
"This stuff really works."
"Boy, this stuff is good!"
"Stuff--for the baby in you."
"Now that's the stuff."

Want to add some wild side 'tude to your brand? Just replace a final position "s" with a "z." Which of the brandz below is fake?
Tweenz Turnz
Nitro Battlerz
Zoog Weekendz

From Eating Raoul and Educating Rita in the early '80s through Being John Malkovich, Judging Amy, and Waking Ned Devine more recently, "inging" titles has been a favorite way of marketing movies and TV shows. Of the following progressive participle verbs, which one has appeared most often before a proper noun as a movie or TV show title?

What with the reality shows Joe Millionaire, Average Joe and The Joe Schmo Show, the name Joe has been in revival. One TV spot had several real-life Joes riffing on their moniker ("Hey, Joe." "Yeah, Joe?" "Have you seen Joe?" "No." "Cup of Joe?" "Thanks, bro"). What product was this spot for?
Sports Illustrated
Ragu Rich & Meaty sauce
GI Joe action figures
Maxwell House coffee

Movie studios like to borrow a Yesss!--often with a thrusting arm gesture--from a movie for the movie's trailer. Which statement below is NOT a quote from a studio marketing guy explaining why they do this?
"Yesss! says it all with the arm motion and the one word."
"'And just when you thought all was lost--Yesss!' It fills a beat right between two lines."
"Yesss! invites the viewer to say, 'I'll see this movie, Yesss!'"
"You have shot, shot, shot, then exclamation point."

A "clam" is sitcom-writer talk for an overused pop comeback, like "I'm putting you on decaf," "Houston, we have a problem," or "Did I say that out loud?" OK, but why are they called clams?
Clams is an acronym for Catchy (but) Lame Attention Maximizer.
Clams is short for "exclamation."
Because clams stink when exposed to the air too long.
Because sitcoms have used lines like "Steve won't be in today. He had some bad clams."

Which company has identified itself as a "good corporate citizen?"
Philip Morris
All of the above

The pop phrase no-brainer is a no-brainer for ads, especially, it seems, in ads for telephone calling plans. For which brand below has no-brainer NOT been used?
Sprint calling plan
Nextel calling plan
ATT calling plan
Telecom USA

Each management phrase below has been used to market something, but only one has also served as a euphemism for a form of torture at Abu Ghraib. Which one?
Weight management
Sleep management
Time management
Air management

Solution often graces the names of products. But it's not always clear what the product is a solution for. To wit: Proactiv Solution. What is it?
An acne treatment
A Bible study guide
A spyware blocker
A closet organizing system

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