Brands and mavericks
I’ve read several articles claiming that the word most people hate most is “moist”. The word I hate most is “brands”. Well, one of the words, anyway.
Consider this, for example, 10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts:
Realizing that millions more people are scratching their heads, wondering what to read and where to spend their subscription dollars, here are my top 10 large journalistic brands where I believe you can most often find real, reported facts:
The use of “brand” in that article is the main reason that I don’t trust it. Yes, I agree with the criteria mentioned in the article, but I’m not looking for reliable brands, I’m looking for reliable news.
Do you go into a shop and say “I’m looking for a brand?” or “What brand should I buy?”
And the shopkeeper might say “Brand of what? Screwdrivers, sticky tape or light bulbs?”
The use of “brands” in that article inclines me not to trust it, because it betrays the mentality of the profit motive.
Take a newspaper.
What is the primary purpose of a newspaper?
- To make a profit?
- To publish and disseminate news?
“Brand” is a marker word for those who take the first attitude — the primary purpose of a newspaper is to make a profit. So when considering whether to publish a story and how much space to give it, the main criterion for the editor is not whether it is true, or whether it will inform, but “How many papers will it sell?”
So when people talk about “brands” instead of newspapers, journals, magazines or broadcast news programmes, I really don’t trust what they are saying, because they are using marketing speak rather than English. “Brands” suggests smoke and mirrors, a con job, all image and no substance. The important thing about brands is always to be polishing their brand image, rather than improving the product.
Which brand do you prefer? Sunlight, Volkswagen, Dulux or All Gold?
Doesn’t that depend on whether you are buying soap, cars, paint or jam?
Which brand do you recommend?
Try this one sir, it has seven cupholders.
But how well does it spread when you take it out of the fridge?
The word “brand” comes from cattle ranching in unfenced territory.
Cattle keepers would mark their cattle with distinctive brands to show which belonged to them and which to someone else.
An unbranded beast was called a “maverick“, because no one knew who it belonged to.
So which news outlet do I prefer?
The Daily Maverick, of course.