Talking to the Kids in Their Language

by Joey deVilla on April 20, 2010


When I was young, I used to cringe when adults made clumsy, if well-intentioned, attempts to speak in what they thought was “youthful slang” in order to make a connection with us.

Now that I’m one of those adults, I can’t tell for sure whether the message in this poster (which I saw in the Toronto subway yesterday) comes across to today’s net/text-speaking youth as clever or clumsy. I’m torn – should my reaction be LOL or WTF?

(And is it me, or does the expression on the guy’s face say BRB?)

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy April 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I have a problem with all the periods, no pun intended. Who puts those in txtspeak?

It might scare me a little bit that the people in the photo look like they could be about 12. Better safe than sorry, though.

Dan April 20, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I’m gonna go with “clumsy”. For starters, the whole point of txt speak (which most of those are) is to reduce character count, thus there shouldn’t be any punctuation.

Colin April 20, 2010 at 5:18 pm

The ‘D seems redundant too…

Chipolte Maximus April 20, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I was going to leave a little thought bubble next to the dude saying “am I supposed to give her a tip now?”, but then thought better of it.

Drew April 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm

It’s really bad. Like terrible. Even if the ad was well done, which it isn’t, even if it spoke in real txtspk, which it doesn’t, it would still be an ad about teen pregnancy that was trying to be “cute”.

There’s nothing fun or cute about being a teenager and pregnant. It feels like your world is ending. Whoever approved this ad is tone deaf.

Andrea April 21, 2010 at 11:30 am

I had the same reaction as you did when I saw it on the subway yesterday.

It sometimes irritates me when marketers try to be “cool” in talking to their youth demographic. Did they not do any focus groups, either formal or informal?

Kaleberg May 2, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Then again, those god awful, absolutely lame anti-smoking ads about five or ten years ago, which seemed to be rip offs of the Snapple mascot ads, were surprisingly popular, and more important, successful at convincing young people that smoking was nauseating.

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