Nobody Does It Like Sara Lee?

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Apr 19 18:01:08 UTC 2005

On Apr 19, 2005, at 10:39 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> Speaking of negative concord in TV commercials, I recall that Burger
> King
> had a mid-'90s ad campaign for the Whopper using Marvin Gaye's song
> "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing."  That struck me as an unfortunate
> choice,
> since people might provide the interpretation "It ain't nothing like
> the
> real thing" rather than "There ain't nothing like the real thing."

i think you're underestimating people's ability to get the intended
message in this case.  and there's a widely-known model in "Ain't
nobody here but us chickens."

> A more recent example of unfortunate burger-chain sloganeering is "You
> gotta eat!" for Checker's/Rally's.  As King Kaufman wrote on,
> this could be interpreted as: "(What the Heck), Ya Gotta Eat! (or
> you'll
> starve, and eating our burgers is marginally better than starvation)."

now, this one strikes me as not so effective.


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