11 October 2007

The Roman way of shopping

Boots are the latest company to get into hot water for selling H20. In the wake of the Dasani disaster a few years ago, they reckoned there was room for one more player in the crowded Overpriced Goods For The Gullible market. The twist here is the delivery mechanism: Boots' "Expert Sensitive Refreshing Facial Spritz" offers its water in an aerosol spray format, which presumably justifies the price tag of nearly £4 a can.

At around £25 per litre, that works out at about 85,000 times more expensive than the version you can get in the convenience of your home. But despite its revolutionary “delivery system”, Boots are a little coy about admitting what their product actually is. So the ingredient listed on the side is called “aqua”, presumably figuring that plain old “water” would seem, well, a little ordinary.

I think this must be the first time a company has sold its products in a dead language since Roman times. You don’t often see Sainsbury’s trying to sell coffee in Coptic or its soap in Sanskrit.

Maybe it’s an idea that politicians will pick up on? When it comes to releasing disappointing economic figures or a rise in crime, maybe we’ll hear politicians in the future say: “We published the information on the internet in Atsugewi back in June, so it’s been public knowledge for quite a while”.


PW said...

Of course you could argue that the scientific language associated with shampoos, conditioners and beauty products is much the same kind of thing. "Now with Boswelox.." We don't know what the *&$! Boswelox is, but it sure sounds impressive.

It also reminds me of when people resort to foreign languages to provide elegant variation in a journalistic piece. Because they've already said "sleight of hand" in para one and are reluctant to repeat the same phrase, it becomes "légère de main" in the para two. Perhaps in italics.

Anonymous said...

I think one of your advertisements caused my internet browser to resize, you might want to put that on your blacklist.