I noticed this unintentionally hilarious piece of copywriting from an advertorial section in today’s Times—it was for products from the “New York Times Store.”
In quite large type, the ad said:
“Gifts Just for You”? Think about that for a second.
As an editor, I’m constantly working with writers to purge what I call PR-speak from their writing. It’s like a garden vine that constantly creeps in, no matter how diligently one tries to uproot it. And so I laugh/cry at the rest of the copy, which says things like “Just in time for the holidays are two must-have fashion accessories from none other than Isaac Mizrahi, the renowned fashion designer.”
Such a wonderful sentence, in its own train-wreck sort of way. Consider it. These bags are not really just in time for the holidays, a phrase which implies that someone was actually waiting for them. (Oh! Look! Here they are…and just…in….time!)
And whatever these fashion accessories are, they are clearly not “must-have,” as by definition a fashion accessory is not a “must-have” item. Insulin is must-have. Food, oxygen are must have items. Fashion accessories, not so much.
I also love that “none other than Isaac Mizrahi.” As if it’s some huge surprise that Isaac Mizrahi is putting his name to something…other than, oh, what he sells in Target. It’s as if they’re saying: None other than…Jesus! The renowned son of God.
But wait—there’s more: “Isaac Mizrahi designed this tote while taking inspiration from the unique colors used by Renzo Piano, the architect of the New York Times building.”
The colors in question are red and orange. I leave it to you to assess their uniqueness. But having been in the building in question, I can tell you that these colors were used in kindergartens and grade schools throughout the 1970s, and are not what one might call “attractive.”
The Times, finally, claims that “quantities are limited” (until they make more); customers can only buy three at $249.95 a pop.
(That word “quantities” is essential—exchange it with “supplies,” say the whole thing in a TV announcer voice, and you instantly see how cheesy the whole shebang is.)
Go ahead, I dare you—try to buy four. (Because that’s what everyone needs, four tote bags.)
I’m pretty sure the Times will sell you that elusive fourth “must-have” Isaac Mizrahi tote bag.