The G-Tech AirRam advert is the perfect example of a phenomenon of our times, namely making something utterly banal and everyday sound sexy and dangerous by giving it a stupid name.
The G-Tech AirRam is, perhaps, the perfect case in point. It is basically a hoover, albeit one of those souped-up hoovers that sounds like the world is ending whenever you fire it up, runs on a battery that lasts about ten minutes and can pack as much as 100g of filth into its dirtbox. It’s digital, which is a fancy way of saying there’s a battery in it, and it probably has some glowing lights on it. But, fundamentally, it’s your grandparents’ vacuum cleaner with some fancy branding.
Not convinced? Let’s deconstruct this name a little. G-Tech. Sounds like military hardware, although in actual fact you use it to hoover Hobnobs crumbs out of the crevices in your much-used couch. AirRam? Sounds like some monstrous sex aid, even if the closest it ever comes to nookie is sucking up the short-and-curlies from under your bed.
In this advert put-upon housewives are ‘tethered and shackled’ by their old hoover, in a line that sounds like it comes from a lesbian prison sex drama.
And when you put your boring old-fashioned hoovers away ‘more mess appears’. I’m unclear how the cordless G-Tech AirRam helps with this particular problem, but OK.
“Do we really want to touch the dirt?” the man who designed the G-Tech AirRam asks us, presumably rhetorically. I have never met a hoover whose dirt you did not have to touch, unless you’re happy to spend ten minutes trying to shake the compacted fluff out of the vacuum’s every nook and cranny.
Adding to the cognitive dissonance here is a man who looks like he’s a curate on his day off, wielding something that you acquire to blast aliens in Halo.
The AirRam will help us break free, we’re told next, in what might be a cheeky reference to the classic Queen cross-dressing music video. It’s all deeply silly.
But what do I know? It might be the best hoover you’ll every buy. As you lie on your death bed, you may look back on the moment you took delivery of your new G-Tech AirRam and consider it the finest day of your entire life. The product and the advert don’t especially bother me. What does irk me is the branding.
Cast your eyes around the retail world these days and you’re assailed by brands that sound like they should be selling bulletproof vests, assault weapons or cruise missiles: Under Armour (vests); Gel Speed Menace (cricket shoes); Airblade (hand drier). If something can be sold it can be branded in such a way it sounds like it should be reviewed in a weapons magazine, regardless of how innocuous the product is.
A quick glance at the other hoovers on the market is testament to the small-penis boasting of these brands: the Dyson Cyclone V10; the Philips SpeedPro Max; the Shark DuoClean… I’m not even making these up.
Want more? You can buy a vibrator called Bullet, a pick-up truck called Warrior. Herbicides evoke wild-west notions. T20 Cricket? Blast. Big Bash. Football boots? Predator. If we eat avocado it must be ‘smashed’; meat must be ‘pulled’ or ‘shredded’. Energy drinks? Monster, Relentless, Red Bull.
It’s like we can’t allow ourselves to be impressed by anything unless we’re snarling at it or it’s snarling at us; a whole race of people angrily throwing cash at gadgets with stupid names as we accelerate towards our own ma-made doom. Maybe if we called climate change HumanFuck we could get behind doing something about it.
In the spirit of such clear insanity, I’ve a few suggestions of my own for how to brand a stupid cordless hoover – and if any of them are ever used I claim my 20%. Feel free to join in.