Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Words Matter

I was reading about the latest salvo in the razor wars this morning and did a double take when I came across this quotation from Brad Harrison, a Schick brand manager:

“So instead of more blades, we’re providing a more lubricious, smoother, more comfortable shave.” 

Now I know what smoother and more comfortable mean. And since I majored in Latin way back when at the University of Michigan, I could take a stab at lubricious, since it's derived from lubricus meaning slippery, smooth, and deceitful.

That's where it comes from, but what does it mean today? According to Webster's, the primary definition of lubricious is: marked by wantonness; lecherous; salacious, and on Dictionary.com its synonyms are: lascivious, libidinous, pornographic, obscene.

Does Mr. Harrison really want us to think that the new Hydro 3 is a dirty little razor that fondles our skin with salacious intent? While that might be an interesting marketing position, based on their creative, I think not.

My guess is he was looking for a word that is more interesting than slippery. The next time he should be more sedulous in his selection of product descriptors.

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