I don’t know if you remember the old Zanussi ad?

Zanussi – The Appliance of Science

This always struck me as a very clever slogan, instantly sticks in the mind because of the whole rhyming thing, and always made me think Yes, Zanussi apply cutting edge scientific methods to produce the very best equipment. It was always right up there with For Mash Get Smash.

It was only yesterday, as I looked at our ageing washing machine, I realised that appliance doesn’t actually mean “the application of” at all.. it is in fact a noun, meaning (in this context) a machine performing a domestic role. This The appliance of science becomes a description of the machine itself!

I suspect the clever marketing folk at Zanussi fully intended both meanings (or indeed may have even intended the single meaning that it’s taken me a good 15 years to grasp, in which case you could say their slogan failed dismally). I guess at one level it’s good marketing, in that I still remember the advert… but it hasn’t made me any more likely to buy a Zanussi appliance – good old Which helps me out when making those sorts of decisions!