The manners of society appear to be heading south at an accelerating rate, with our up and coming generations being increasingly sent the message from the culture, celebrities and even elected officials, that manners and civility in public conduct and speech is for snobs, nerds, dorks, and goons. It’s cool to be vulgar! I admit, I’m in at least two of those three categories, so I really don’t get it. Ethics dictates that one communicates with respect for anyone within hearing distance, and unless ugly words serve a material purpose, using them is not the mark of a good citizen, a good neighbor, or a trustworthy human being. Nor is spouting vulgarity witty, and unless you are 11, and employing obvious code words that sound like curses, epithets and obscenities isn’t especially funny either, since we pretty much exhausted the possibilities at summer camp. I have no idea why anyone would want to recast the culture as a place where professionals curse like sailors and the words “fuck” and “cocksucker” are as likely to issue from a debutante’s lips as those of a hip hop artist, but that seems to be the objective now. President Obama, the Fish Head, signaled his approval by repeatedly using the word “bucket” in a televised event when he obviously meant “fuck it.” First President ever to use fuck on TV! Yes, Obama continues to burnish his legacy. Small wonder that CNN’s John Berman thought his audience wanted to see him snigger over a colleague’s “big stones,” a testicle joke that always has them LOL-ing in the 7th grade. Making sure that there is nowhere for the civil and well-mannered to hide, all the other TV stations happily accept money from advertisers using code words for “ass” (Verizon), alluding to sexual intercourse (Reese’s), and evoking the word “shit” (K-Mart and DraftKings).
“This vacation has been a year in the planning.… The rest of your vacation hinges on the moment you walk through that door. The door opens, you hold your breath and then you realize: You got it right! You got it booking right. Because it doesn’t get any better than this. It doesn’t get any booking better than this! Look at the view, look at the booking view! This is exactly what you booking needed. Bask in the booking glory at over half a million properties. Planet Earth’s number one accommodation site. Booking dot com…booking dot yeah!”
Not only do they think I have the wit of a closed-head injury victim, Booking.com also thinks I’m stupid and gullible, too. Responding to objections from hyper-sensitive viewers who imagined a less than cultured intent behind that and similar pitches, the company responded with a classic Jumbo, saying that Booking.com ads featured “no ambiguity” regarding the word “booking.” The word was repeated throughout the ad, it swore, only to reinforce brand recognition; if there is anything amiss, it must be all in the complaining listeners’ dirty minds. Why, “booking” is used only in a positive tone in the ads, conveying “enthusiasm and joy,” rather than in the negative and derogatory tones associated with swear words and obscenity.
I mean, who ever says, “Fucking yeah!”?
Booking.com even denied that its commercials featured any words that sounded like vulgarities, and that it ads could reasonably be criticized as encouraging the use of rude language among children.
Lying must be cool now too.
11 thoughts on “Here’s The Thing, Booking.Com: If You Think Your Customers Appreciate Gratuitous Smuttiness, I Don’t Want To Be One Of Them”
It’s time for Jeff’s Hardly Relevant Story of the Fortnight!
At the movie theater where I work, we have this thing called Trailervision, which is a monitor held vertically that shows posters and some trailers (projected very small, since the trailers are still the right-way-round on a monitor that’s taller than it is wide.)
We had the Booking.com thing on there for a month or so, and it was just about the second most obnoxious thing we ever had on there. (The first was the trailer where the minions sing to Barbara Anne to promote Despicable Me 2. That was on there for months…) The most recent annoying one is the one for Pitch Perfect 2, which I swear plays every two-and-a-half minutes.
But that’s not the end of the story. I wasn’t there for it, but my coworkers told me about a time when the power went out. Now, a movie theater isn’t a very rocking place to be when there’s no power, but they might have got power back whenever, so the employees had to wait around in a building with no power.
The ONLY thing that still had power… was the Trailervision monitor. Only the sound worked. Nobody knew why. But that meant they got to hear the Booking.com thing over and over every three minutes for hours in a completely silent movie theater.
One of my employees said something to the order of, “I was this close to just smashing that thing.”
Maybe advertisers should consider repeat listenings, perhaps against their will, for whether an advertisement is actually engaging or just annoying. Hearing that pretend swearing over and over again makes me feel negative things when thinking about their website. I’m sure that’s not what they want.
I didn’t actually hear that they said the commercials weren’t supposed to sound like swearing. That also suggests that they think we’re idiots, and it’s best not to patronize any business that thinks its customers are idiots.
Is this company run by children?
Now that would be impressive. I’d give them a break if that was the case.
No, they just use a lot of Becel.
A lotta people just never grew up past being that 11 year old that thinks this is THE height of humor. It hit movies almost a generation back, and everyone said ‘Don’t be a stick, it’s only a movie!’ Then it crept to television comedy and now commercials. I reminds me too much of the old comment about ‘I didn’t protest when X was taken away…’ but I DID protest when the crude started.
I have to agree with Booking.com that sometimes when people do complain about something being amiss, it must be all in the complaining listeners’ dirty minds. But this is not one of those occasions.
Two Booking thoughts: 1) Somebody designed this ad and somebody else had a good long talk with their lawyers before they chose to run it, and 2) those somebodies will be long gone to other companies — oh, yes, they will be headhunted — before the Booking company is charged with multiple provable incidents of pandering, because that’s the service their main customers will be seeking.
Lowest Common Denominator. Mass communications has always operated largely on that principle. What’s changed is how low that denominator could get without being legally or socially squashed. When the means to do that were done away with, the media rapidly declined across the board in any sense of civility or citizenship. This example is actually a minor one, but indicative still of how far the rot has spread and how little the purveyors care.
I’m positive things will get worse. TV has already breached the dam; now we have the Internet. And shortly, very shortly, the two will become one. It’s a good time to work on your reading list.
That’s problematical, Al. More and more reading lists are for Kindle or Nook . . . .
This text shouldn’t be concerning the current use of the term syndication which in actual property refers back to the advertising technique used
by agents in promoting property.