Messages. All ads have messages, no matter how subtle they may be. For instance, the promotional material at New Zealand Natural icecream has the message that if you eat their product, you will instantly transform into a slender 20-something girl leaping the bubbling brooks and climbing the snow-topped mountains of New Zealand. The ads for Eclipse chewing gum posted all over the city have a message that if you are an attractive young person, you will stand about wearing a shirt with an inane slogan on it (I don't think the chewing gum really has anything to do with this one). Previews for cars currently screeningg at the movies suggest that when you drive your car, you will for some reason start singing 1970s pop songs that were better left forgotten. It's all about the message.
But the message for a radio advertisement I heard yesterday has got me frankly baffled. The problem with radio advertisements is that you can't hear the commas, but this one is trouble enough with commas. It was a simple jingle, with innocuous words:
One three one
Double oh eight
These words were repeated at higher and higher pitches for what seemed like five or six times. It's simple, eh? But what does it mean? Perhaps it should read:
One three one, double oh eight. Silvertop taxis? Why wait?
(Why bother waiting for Silvertop taxis anyway?)
One three one, double oh eight. Silvertop taxis: why wait?
(People driving Silvertop taxis, why bother waiting for a passenger? They'll never come.)
One three one, double oh eight. Silver? Top taxis! Why? Wait!
(After typing in a phone number: Hello Silver! You have top taxis! I'll tell you why after the break.)
Why wait, one three one double oh eight? Silvertop taxis.
(Agent 131008, why are you standing around waiting? Catch the taxi!)
One three one double oh eight silvertop! Taxis? Why wait?
(There are one hundred million and thirty-one thousand and eight people with silver hair dye in this city. On a completely unrelated matter, why wait for taxis when you can walk?)
Won three! Won double! Oh, ate. Silvertop. Taxis? Why? Weight!
(I won three medals, one for a double event, at the recent track and field. Then I had a meal afterwards, of a fish called silvertop. Then I caught a taxi, because I was feeling a bit heavy.)
Or, then again, perhaps - but this really does seem to be stretching the interpretation into areas that it couldn't possibly go - perhaps the ad meant to say:
Our number is 131 008. We are the company Silvertop Taxis, and we have a speedy and prompt service. Why stand around waiting when you can use us?
Nah, couldn't be.
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