Proverbs in Advertising
Proverbs are frequently used in advertising, often in slightly modified form. Ford once advertised its Thunderbird with, "One drive is worth a thousand words" (Mieder 2004b: 84). This is doubly interesting since the underlying proverb behind this, "One picture is worth a thousand words," was originally introduced into the English proverb repertoire in an ad for televisions (Mieder 2004b: 83).
A few of the many proverbs adapted and used in advertising include:
- "Live by the sauce, dine by the sauce" (Buffalo Wild Wings)
- "At D & D Dogs, you can teach an old dog new tricks" (D & D Dogs)
- "If at first you don't succeed, you're using the wrong equipment" (John Deere)
- "A pfennig saved is a pfennig earned." (Volkswagen)
- "Not only absence makes the heart grow fonder." (Godiva Chocolatier)
- "Where Hogs fly" (Grand Prairie AirHogs)
- "Waste not. Read a lot." (Half Price Books)
The GEICO company has created a series of television ads that are built around proverbs, such as "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush": and "The pen is mightier than the sword"
Use of proverbs in advertising is not limited to the English language. Tatira has given a number of examples of proverbs used in advertising in Zimbabwe. However, unlike the examples given above in English, all of which are anti-proverbs, Tatira's examples are standard proverbs. Where the English proverbs above are meant to make a potential customer smile, in one of the Zimbabwean examples "both the content of the proverb and the fact that it is phrased as a proverb secure the idea of a secure time-honored relationship between the company and the individuals". When newer buses were imported, owners of older buses compensated by painting a traditional proverb on the sides of their buses, "Going fast does not assure safe arrival".
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