Sunday, 6 July 2008

The best Whatever this side of Wherever

In an attempt to come up with yet more superlatives to praise their products, vendors should not have reason, or geography get in the way of a punchy tagline.

Since I try to distribute my patronage of caffeinated drinks amongst all the coffee providers out there, my way leads me to Caffe Nero every so often. Apart from the fact that I usually forget my loyalty card and start collecting stamps from anew (leading to a rather large pile of loyalty cards that are nowhere near being redeemed for a free beverage), they also have the slogan:

The best espresso this side of Milan.
Whilst it didn't strike me as being overly silly, despite being difficult to either verify or falsify, a business lunch to Chez Gerard revealed their tagline as:
The best steak-frites this side of Paris.
Apparently, there seems to be a pattern in this. Maybe it is my failure that I have never read a textbook on advertising, which might reveal this to be a classic style feature, not dissimilar to alliterations and tautologies.

Logically however, I was wondering - where is this side of Paris? Or, assuming we are on this side of Paris (since Chez Gerard is obviously here), what's on the other side of Paris? Is it merely a matter of latitude and longitude? If so, is Berlin, although equally north of Paris but further east, this side of Paris or the other side? Which steak-frites have they compared it to then to get a comprehensive sample of steak-frites on this side of Paris?

All these things going through my head whilst waiting for the dish to be served, which, at the end did not turn out to be that spectacular after all. Then again, I never had steak-frites in Paris (neither on the other side of), so maybe they are all equally unremarkable.

But, a line that is good enough to praise espressos and steaks should have enough life in it to be used for so many other products as well. What about Whole Foods marketing their fruit as
The biggest apples this side of New York.
Or a brokerage in Canary Wharf describing their traders as
The biggest swinging d***s this side of the Square Mile.
Although maybe this ends up being too measurable after all.