So Tesco burgers have horsemeat in them. Not great news, but the supermarket has apologised and assured customers that: “We will work harder than ever with all our suppliers to make sure this never happens again.”
Harder than ever, you say? This is an example of a tic I see cropping up increasingly in corporatespeak: the use of phrases like ‘even better’ and ‘more than ever’ when talking about progress or improvements.
In their relentless efforts to put a positive spin on everything, some PR people have reached a point where they can no longer talk about something just ‘getting better’ because that implies that it used to not be as good as it is now. (If I say I’ve got better at Tiddlywinks, will people go away thinking I used to lose every time?)
The way around this is to say I’ve got ‘even better’ at Tiddlywinks, thus implying that I’ve always been pretty good at it, but now I’m the regional champion.
You see it in press releases all the time – a company unveils an ‘even wider range’ of products (two) with ‘even better performance’ (they definitely work this time).
And so we have Tesco working “harder than ever” to not put the wrong animals in the blender. I think that’s pushing it a bit. To illustrate the point, here’s a handy five-point scale of hard work:
1) Working really hard
2) Working quite hard
3) Not working that hard
4) Not working hard at all
5) Horsemeat in the burgers
So spare us the “than ever”, Mr Tesco. You’re going to work “harder” to keep your burgers free of horse. And so you bloody should.