“when it comes to…”

When WHAT comes to what??

Often commercials open like this:  “When it comes to conservatories / cheap meat / luxury spa breaks, you need look no further than Our Fantastic Company blah blah blah…” It’s as if this little phrase acts as a springboard from mindless nothingness into the sumptuous cornucopia of the script; perhaps it’s a cunning device to lure the listener into the wonderland of the radio commercial, teasing the audience through the gateway of the sales message in such a way that the pathway to the marketing solution will be willingly trod.

But when I get a script that starts like this I suspect the copywriter’s not given the issue much thought.  I just think he / she couldn’t think of a cool way to start the ad…because what does it ruddy MEAN?  “When it comes to…” –  what does the ‘it’ refer to??  Is it the third person?  Is it being used as a syntactical determiner?  Indefinite article?  Definite article?  What?  Often, dear Reader, we never know because the ‘it’ is left hanging and doesn’t appear, linguistically, to refer to anything at all.

Here are some alternative opening lines:

“When the process of appropriate selection naturally comes to choose a conservatory…”  Dreadful, clearly.

“When one’s very existence, the meaning of life and the oneness of this great universe comes to choose cheap meat…”  Not much better, is it?

“When a big grey brain, its neurons and the consciousness of the sentient being in question comes to consider a luxury spa break…”  Appalling…

“When the ongoing situation regarding conservatories comes to a head…”  Shocking!

“When the procurement of cheap meat comes to mind…” Eeewww!

“When the dog comes to consider a spa break…”  Now it’s getting silly…

How about this?

“When a half-arsed copywriter can’t come up with anything fresh, it comes to the point where they always pull out hackneyed, meaningless drivel…”

Cruel?  You decide!


Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

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Emma Clarke

Emma is an award-winning voiceover, broadcaster and writer. Want to find out more about Emma?
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