Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why, Nationwide? Why?

Nationwide Insurance has fallen prey to linguistic trendiness. On my doorknob this morning I found a piece of litter placed there by my friendly neighborhood Nationwide agent. Nothing wrong with that; he's just doing his job. But this particular promotional literature trumpeted that Nationwide could save me "like $500" when I switch my car insurance.

Why would a good, solid company like Nationwide want to sound like a Valley girl? I'm like so thrilled they can like save me like $500, I'm going to like rush right over and call the agent like this minute!

This is not my first run-in with this particular silliness. Nationwide is using the same phrase on their television commercials, and it's equally annoying there. If the audience for auto insurance were teens, maybe this choice would make sense, but in general, it's adults who buy insurance, and I think it's a mistake to try to appeal to adults with teenspeak.

Now, if Nationwide has market research that tells me I'm all wet, then I'll slink away chagrined. But I doubt there's been a giant spike in their sales since they adopted one of the most irritating phrases in American English to hawk their wares. Who told them this was a good idea? And who bought it? It's not cool. Really.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Like' is also endemic with the youth culture here in the UK and it is a great irritant to me. If something is 'like' something, then please include the alternative! PS - what is the alternative to $500? Great comment by you.

gretchen said...

Glad you liked it. When my kids were growing up, I wouldn't let them say it. They were so annoyed with me, but now I hear them say the same things to their children, so I think it took. I love your observation that if it's like something, there must be another something that it's like. Wonderful observation, and one I hadn't thought of. Thanks for writing.

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