October 5, 2008

New or Improved

"New and Improved!"—one of the most overused advertising claims, is so commonplace that it's easy to overlook the phrase's internal contradictions. By definition, only something that is already in existence can be made better. In other words, if a product is truly new, it can't be improved. Choose one or the other. You can't have both.

Sure, a product can have new improvements (the improvements of this year compared to the old improvements of last year, for example), but that's splitting hairs. Aside from to the logical contradiction it creates, the phrase's ubiquity has made it meaningless. Basically, no one believes it anymore. Let all companies banish it from their packaging. "New and Improved" is old and obsolete.

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