May I Have Your Attention Please? - Bark Communications

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  • Feb13Fri

    May I Have Your Attention Please?

    February 13, 2015
    Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg


    I really enjoy etymology - the study of the origin of words and how their meanings change. It’s intriguing to see how language is a kind of living, breathing thing that evolves over time.

    Some words, like fantastic, sick, and awful have changed significantly, while others have only experienced a slight shift. But even those slight shifts can carry with them strong connotations.

    Take the word ‘advertising’ as an example. Following is the Wikipedia breakdown of the etymology of it:

    Etymology of the word Advertising

    What catches me in that is the idea that the original Latin meant: to “turn toward”.

    Today, I think the synonyms for advertising that people would be more likely to use (if they were honest), would be words like: manipulate, sell, push, and spin. Harsh words. Interruptive words.

    But to get someone to ‘turn toward’…that feels different.

    After all, don’t we all want that? Doesn’t every single one of us have something in our lives that we want others to ‘turn toward’? Perhaps it’s your brain child - that killer product or service. Maybe it’s an idea or a political bent. Perhaps it’s just you, yourself that you want others to ‘turn toward’.

    In any case, it seems to me that the original definition of the word ‘advertise’ is instructive. Advertising isn’t so much an opportunity to slap someone across the face with your interruptive ad about your product and it’s specs, it’s more about making someone ‘turn toward’ it. The question then is, how do you do that?

    The answer?

    Say something that matters to them.