Apple has an all-new Mac Pro. Toyota has an all-new Corolla. Marvel has an all-new X-Men. ESPN has an all-new Sports Center app. Amazon has an all-new Kindle Paperwhite. And, sometimes, episodes of your favorite TV shows are all-new.
Now, I’m in advertising. I understand the use of hyperbole. I’ve used it myself, like a gazillion times. I even know how to stretch the truth. But I didn’t think we were allowed to out-and-out lie.
Not one of the items listed above is all-new. Perhaps it would have been accurate to say that the very first Apple Macintosh was all-new, but every one since then has pretty much been built on a previous generation. The 2014 Corolla may look a bit different from its predecessors, but it’s instantly identifiable as a car, and, not surprisingly, bears exactly the same Toyota logo as the 2013 edition, which, by definition, disqualifies it from being all-new. And while I haven’t read a comic book in decades, I am informed by Wikipedia that All-New X-Men…
“…centers on the five original X-Men, brought from the past to the present to confront their future counterparts. The series replaces Uncanny X-Men vol. 2 as the flagship book of the X-Men franchise.”
How the hell can it be even remotely all-new if the original X-Men are in it?
If you’ll allow me to get all philosophical on your ass, can anything really be all-new? Even babies aren’t all-new; they have genes from their parents. And, on the atomic level, protons and neutrons date back to the big bang, so nothing is all new. Is a painting all-new? No, it is not. Even if it’s a totally abstract vision you plucked from your brain, you still had to use colors that have been used before, possibly even in a velvet Elvis picture. That all-new symphony you just wrote probably uses some of the very same notes that were in “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, which wasn’t even a real group, so get down off your high horse, Mr. Snooty Composerpus.
I guess an idea can be all-new, if it truly didn’t build on any existing ideas, but, frankly, I can’t even imagine what that might be. Right now, I’m trying to have a deep, original thought that doesn’t use any words, or letters, or images, and all I keep thinking about is what I’m going to have for lunch.
So I don’t know how advertisers can claim that anything is all-new. When they say “all-new,” they really only mean “new,” as in “just out.” Somehow marketers have gotten the idea that consumers think all-new is better than new. Personally, I’m more apt to buy something that’s moderately old. I say, let someone else try the all-new electric vehicle with the exploding battery, or the all-new weight-loss pill that causes uncontrollable diarrhea, or the all-new sci-fi adventure series that gets you all involved with a mysterious mythology and gets canceled after three episodes.
To me, “all-new” just means “untested.” I like to wait until the next all-new thing comes along, and then buy the old all-new thing that the new all-new thing is replacing. That way, the bugs have been worked out, the price has come down, and the cause of the initial wave of product-related deaths has been found and corrected.
You can say I’m not a very adventurous person, but, really, I’m getting too old to be new.
See you soon.