When Apple held its latest product launch in San Francisco earlier this month, the announcement of the iPhone 5 hogged most of the media spotlight. But two other products got less-heralded updates: the iPod Touch and its diminutive sibling, the iPod Nano. And where the new iPods might not have gotten a flashy rollout, Apple compensated by mustering some dubious words on their behalf. The tagline for the new iPod Touch is “Engineered for Maximum Funness.” The iPod Nano, meanwhile, was introduced as “Completely Renanoed.”
Funness? Renanoed? It’s as if Apple’s marketers are working overtime to annoy the loathers of linguistic novelty. But they’re hardly alone. Why do so many advertising campaigns try to push our lexical buttons—and just what do they expect us to do with these artificial words?