Justin Bieber said he was going to repeatedly do it on people in his track Boyfriend; Jay Z claimed to have invented it; journalists have predicted the death of it since 1892; it has made it onto various lists of words that should die immediately; and now Spark has added the word swag—derived from swagger—to its marketing vocabulary.
It all started with a collaborative piece with fashion bloggers Four Eyes, which featured each of the members laying out the items they though best encapsulated the phrase ‘new swag’. And while the influencers do have a strong following among younger Kiwis interested in fashion, the campaign jarred quite a few Spark subscribers on account of the use the use of the word ‘swag’. As illustrated in the comments section of the post on Facebook, the Spark social media team had to deal with a few snarky comments from a few of the more vocal members of the community.
This has however not stopped Spark from referring to swagger in its promotional material. And in a new pair of spots for the telco, a voiceover refers to ‘S6 swagger’ in reference to the public dance moves of a couple of people who are fortunate—or wealthy—enough to have their hands on the phone that retails for $1,099. And while the continued use of the word ‘swagger’ will no doubt still grate a few online commentators, at least this ad doesn’t feature the usual trope of a spinning phones.
If anything, the use of the word in advertising in the 21st century serves as testament to William Shakespeare’s talent at expanding the English lexicon. Because a word he first used pejoratively in a Midsummer Night’s Dream to refer to the arrogant walking style of a few characters has travelled from generation to generation for over 400 years to annoy those active on social media in New Zealand today.
Executive Creative Director: Corey Chalmers
Creative Directors: Jordan Sky & Brad Collet
Head of Content: Jane Oak
Agency Producer: Joshua Forsman
Production Company: Sunday Punch
Director: The Downlow Concept, Nigel McCulloch, Ryan Hutchings, Jarrod Holt
Executive Producer: Esther Watkins
Producer: Claire Kelly
Audio Production: Franklin Road Studios
Engineer: Shane Taipari & Alejandro Chalcoff
Post Production: Blockhead
Animation: Flux Animation
Executive Producer: Sue Chambers
Animation Director: Brent Chambers