Words That Naturally Catch Our Eyes

Posted By Debbie on January 24, 2011

This was an ad Facebook served me. Which word jumped out at you?

I noticed “Foursquare” out of the corner of my eye when this was served up to me. It then took a few seconds to realise that this was an ad for a church. I am assuming no church is really calling themselves Foursquare… partially because it’s irrelevant and partially because it would be a trademark infringement.

So I Googled, and found their website. They use the word Foursquare in the copyright line at the bottom of the page, but nowhere else on the page. So thing 1, prepare to hear from Foursquare’s lawyer! Thing 2, holy cats, this church is in my adopted hometown of Tucson, AZ. How odd.

OK, they got our attention, but did they really sell us on anything. Will you change what church you attend because they managed to work Foursquare (illegally) into it? This reminds me of how some of my 1990s web clients wanted “sex” all over their meta tags. When I asked why, their thinking was that lots of people are searching for “sex” on the internet, so wouldn’t it be great if they showed up among search results. I would then have to explain that someone searching for “sex” on the internet is unlikely to spend time on a website for pumps and filters for zoos and aquaria.

It also reminds me of how many people grabbed domains names with “Microsoft” or “eBay” somewhere in them. I used to try to explain that 1) they could hear from a lawyer, and 2) that may not really make anybody care more about their product or service, especially once they realise that they’re not connected at all to the corporation whose name they’ve hijacked.

The church’s ad is an interesting exercise in thinking about what words catch our eyes. I am clearly more likely to look at something that says Foursquare.