Remember back in 1998 when Wrangler started running it’s Real. Comfortable. Jeans. commercials? Maybe not. But what about just a few years ago, when Brett Favre started pitching Wrangler using the same tag line? Well, it seems a lot of people started noticing about then, giving rise to one of my ongoing pet peeves. Or as I call it, the Real. Annoying. Meme.
Clever. Wrangler. Meme.
The Wrangler tag line is based on a clever play on words. Those three words taken together describe the Wrangler product: “real comfortable jeans.” But here’s the clever part. Each word, by itself, also describes the product. Wrangler jeans are “real”—natural, not gimmicky. They’re “comfortable”. And of course, they are “jeans”.
But cleverness runs deeper still. The words can be taken in pairs and each pair also makes sense, subliminally presenting mutually reinforcing messages: “real comfortable”, “real jeans”, “comfortable jeans”.
I’ve always appreciated the craftsmanship behind this clever, wrangler meme.
Real. Annoying. Meme.
Beginning around the time the Brett Favre commercial started airing in 2009, I started noticing the Wrangler meme was being used frequently all over the place. This was (and remains) especially so in social media, where most people fail to duplicate the cleverness that made the original meme work so well. Rather than crafting a set of words that work both individually and together, the popular variant is to simply Stick. A. Period. After. Each. Word. in some phrase you want to emphasise.
By 2011, this new, rather popular trend had become, for me, the Real. Annoying. Meme.
Here’s a quick sampling from the Twittersphere:
We. Don't. Need. More. Twitters.
— Dave Winer ☮ (@davewiner) March 24, 2011
Best. 404 Page. Ever. http://iplanwebsites.com/404
— Kevan Gibbs (@kevangibbs) April 9, 2011
Happy Easter!: They. Have. RISEN. Be afraid. (via Joe Chignola) Read the comments on this post… http://bit.ly/gobjRv
— PZ Myers (@pzmyers) April 24, 2011
@GodsDontExist remember when the earth was flat & was the center of the universe? Science. The. Story. Changed. Dude. It's. A. Religion. Ha!
— GM Know (@GMKnowBoulder) April 27, 2011
I. Love. My. Work.
— Dammit Jeff (@jeffjochum) April 30, 2011
No. More. Words.
— David Armano (@armano) August 26, 2011
Shoot. me. Now .
— George V. Hulme (@georgevhulme) December 2, 2011
It’s Still Happening
Now that it’s been pointed out, you’ll probably notice the real annoying meme popping up all over the place. But here’s the question… Is there anybody out there, other than Wrangler, who is actually following the pattern of the clever Wrangler meme? If so, I’ve not noticed it. If you run across one, let me know.