Thursday, June 16, 2011

Open a Can of Snowclones

A new billboard advertising campaign began appearing across Michigan in the last couple of months.

For a closer look at the campaign, here is an image from an in-store ad.


Linguistically, two things strike me about this campaign.

1. Weed is a well-known slang term for marijuana so it seems obvious that the company is aiming this product at, shall we say, an edgier crowd.

and

2. The campaign tag line is remarkably reminiscent of the idiomatic expressions, "open a can of whoop ass" and "open a can of worms", especially since the forth word in the tag line and each idiomatic expression begins with a /w/.

As to number 2 - The former idiomatic expression is in all likelihood a snowclone of the latter, and whether the tag line is an intentional snowclone of either or just a coincidence, I couldn't tell you. I will say that I sure wouldn't want my product to be associated with creating a situation that causes trouble or involves taking a beating.



P.S. A snowclone is a phrase that is produced by using a clich├ęd phrase as a linguistic template. Open a can of (fill in the blank).

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