Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Annoying buzzword of the moment

Being a designer, I take notice of the advertising and marketing concepts I see daily. Sometimes I see some that I quite like, and other times I some that I feel fail spectacularly. Then there are those that irritate me because of my interest and knowledge of science. In this case, it's a buzzword that I've now seen three companies using. That word would be 'quantum'. Sure, it's a flashy, 'sciencey' term that my exude a feeling of high-tech.

However just like in old phrase 'quantum leap', the usage makes no sense. In that old phrase, the intention is to mean a huge leap forward. However, 'quantum' is a word that refers to the smallest of the small, a discrete quantity, or discrete amount of energy. So a 'quantum leap' wouldn't be a huge one, but one that is infinitely small.

So when Verizon was advertising their new FiOS service dubbed FiOS Quantum, I took notice. They were brandishing 'quantum' as if it was descriptive of the blazing speed of this new offering. But 'quantum' has nothing to do with speed. When I hear 'FiOS Quantum', I hear 'FiOS small'. And to me, describing something as small does not leave me with the impression of impressive speed. Then again, 'quantum' can be used to mean of discrete quantity, and from what I can gather, FiOS is barely available anywhere (especially anywhere in my area). So I guess it's rarity could classify it as 'quantum'.

Last week I saw another example of 'quantum' misused. This time it was from Duracell, who's new Duracell Quantum offering is advertised to stay good for 10 years in storage, and is their longest lasting alkaline battery yet. It actually looks to be a simple re-branding of a previous Duracell product with a flashy name to help sales. And maybe most will think the name sounds cool and but them because they think they sound more advanced. But remember, one definition of 'quantum' can be a discrete amount of energy. If you ask me, a battery with a title tacked to it that can mean 'hardly and energy', is the exact opposite on the message I'd be wanting to broadcast. Would you buy a battery whose name suggests that it's already nearly dead?

Yeah... That looks so tiny. More like the opposite of quantum.
Then there was the kicker I saw advertised yesterday. It turns out that Royal Caribbean has a new cruise ship. A ship that they are saying is by far their most innovative ship. So, what are they calling this monster of a ship? Quantum of the Seas... What? What! Quantum is the smallest of the small, and they plaster that name on a behemoth of a boat... It's glaringly obvious that no care was given to what the word actually means, and instead just looked for something that sounded high-tech for this high-tech ship. Oh, and remember that 'quantum leap' phrase I mentioned prior? That's right, Royal Caribbean scores a double-whammy buy using the  slogan 'A quantum leap forward in cruising' in their advertising. Great! They've made a quantum leap forward! So... that means that they've barely made any advancements at all then?

In my opinion, it's sad that we seem to be discarding the actual meaning and instead focus on what simply 'sounds' cool and hip. Purposely being wrong and even creating an oxymoron just to sound cool is a sad state of affairs if you as me.

-Brain Hulk

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