Subbing the world

Righting copywriting wrongs, one word at a time

Experience Corner: No 1

For a long time, Private Eye ran a ‘Solutions’ column, collecting all those ridiculous uses of ‘solutions’, like describing cardboard boxes as Christmas Ornament Storage Solutions. They seem to have got bored of that now, and I can’t say I blame them. But it was fun while it lasted.

In similar spirit, I thought it was time I started ‘Experience Corner’. As I sat chewing my muesli this morning, my eye fell on the back of the Alpen bag, where I read this:

Alpen breakfast experience

And this:

Alpen taste experience

In both cases, you could drop the word experience without any loss of meaning. (Or perhaps, without compromising your reading experience.)

So why is it there? And why in God’s name is everything an ‘experience’ these days? I can’t go to a shop, I have to have a retail experience. I can’t eat at a restaurant, I have to have a dining experience.

I know what it means when people use it internally, as part of their business-speak. They mean the complete package: not just the food, for example, but the service, décor and ambience.

Fine. Use it internally. But don’t inflict it on the public. They’re happy enough to enjoy ‘that unique Alpen taste’, or ‘a deliciously creamy breakfast’, without unnecessary words floating about in it.

I’d be very grateful if you could send me your own examples of this silly and annoying copywriting habit. Thanks, and have a nice day experience.

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Filed under: Experience Corner, Jargon, Verbiage

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