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Why women like ads about sofas… and other neologisms

2010 October 28
by Paul Vallely

Women, it seems, best remember adverts about sofas. Men, we’re told, most recall laddish beer adverts. So what breaks down the gender divide? Simples. It’s that pesky meerkat from the insurance price comparison advert.

Both genders were surveyed and it turns out that, for men and women alike, the Compare-the-Meerkat insurance ads are the most memorable of the last year. Which perhaps explains why its irritating Simples catchphrase has just entered the über-trendy Collins English Dictionary.

But you can tell a lot about a word by the company it keeps. Other new entries, thanks to the advent of micro-blogging site, include tweetheart  (a person much admired by other twitterers) and tweet-tooth which describes an uncontrollable urge to post a Twitter.

Will they last? Bigotgate, describing Gordon Brown’s unfortunate encounter with a thitherto Labour voter in Rochdale, sounds long gone already. So, equally unsurprisingly, does Cleggmania. While David Cameron’s contribution, broken society, some would suspect a word of fiction rather than fact. Likewise funemployment – a noun purporting to mean the condition of enjoying being without work. It could come to some dictionary editors sooner than they might suppose.

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