Unlike a certain proportion of my fellow countrymen, I’m not in the slightest bit anti-American.

Nevertheless, Americanisms entering the language do irk me somewhat (although I do confess to being guilty of overusing the word ‘cool’), and as such the below ad for VW, spotted in that bastion of Britishness, The ‘London’ Times, did annoy me slightly.

Not the message it’s trying to convey. Nope, no problems there. In fact, yes, Mr. VW, I am a little worried about fuel prices and I do often contemplate what new and ingenious ways may be emerging to slash my petrol costs.

But I have never, ever, in my entire life, called anything clever ‘neat’. Unless I am referring to the laying of a table, or, going back a few years, my efforts at ‘colouring in’ at school. At the very least I have certainly never described, an admittedly admirable feat of engineering, neat.

Perhaps I’m being over-sensitive. Perhaps I’m very much in the minority and the word ‘neat’ is being used regularly in this context on our side of the pond. Or perhaps I am actually succumbing to that jingoistic middle-Englander mentality that I profess to loathe so much.

But really, is it too much to ensure that an ad contains copy that actually reflects the language of the audience?

Click to enlarge image


One Response to “Neat!”

  1. Charles Frith Says:

    Its easy to forget how the Marshall Plan was responsible for the recovery of Europe after the second world war. I’m a big fan of lots of the U.S. but fearful of how things are there at the moment.

    I sense a reluctance on the part of many people to criticize their govt. online. A whiff of fear in the air.

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