Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Cuspidors and Catamenials

I've just read an amusing article from The Economist about euphemisms in marketing. It's about those products that most of the human race need at some time or another but we don't like referring to them - or the problem they solve - in polite company, or seeing lurid demos of the product's efficacy on our TV screens while we're eating.

I've never worked on the SanPro market (as we referred to it in the UK, aka 'feminine hygiene') but I have noticed that there's a bit of a movement away from the cliches in recent advertising, to the "heavily emotional and empowering" or to the "blunt and outrageous." But in other areas, twee euphemism still reigns. Nappies/diapers for school age children are called "sleepovers" or "pyjama pants."

I wonder, with the increasing number and purchase power of over 60s, whether we'll see a surge in acceptability of products and brands that were previously bought in plain brown wrappers or, at any rate, as discretely as possible, from constipation remedies to denture cleaners to incontinence pads.

Talking of which, I do remember being amused by P&G explaining that their collective term for SanPro and Adult Incontinence products was Catamenials. And, better still, my cabin crew friends at British Airways were told to refer to sick bags as Cuspidors.

Cuspidors and Catamenials. It sounds almost Shakespearian!

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