My brother once asked me about something in an advertisement, and I translated it for him into plain English. I told him I’d been reading travel company catalogues and had thus had much experience with brochure, a closely related language. So here, for fun, are some brochure or other advertising phrases, and their actual meaning.
Some Conditions Apply = not precisely true.
asterisk, dagger, plus sign, any odd character = Some Conditions Apply.
as much as = definitely not more than
up to = as much as
more or less – when measuring real estate – = definitely less
about – when dating real estate – = definitely older
about – when estimating taxes – = definitely more than
all inclusive = exactly what’s listed in fine print is included, no more
plus taxes = you’d better look out, it costs more than this
best, most recommended, in fact most superlatives = it’s probably OK
recommended by doctors = they will prescribe it, but probably don’t use it themselves
combining the best of = we were not sure which to tout in our ad
all natural ingredients = our competitors make theirs in a cyclotron
no added preservatives = it could be in the packaging, read label
butylated hydroxytoxinlist = added preservatives
added preservatives = keeps longer; you may not need embalming
best before = not our fault if it rots immediately after
may contain = don’t sue us if you’re allergic to
best quality = same as all our products