Swearing. It isn’t big and isn’t clever, but it could be of interest.
In our endless quest to build stronger brands for our clients we spend a lot of time quantifying what we say and supporting it with evidence. So it’s always interesting to come across new research or studies of any kind. Especially those that attempt to unravel those most basic of human instincts.
And this is excatly why we were curious to come across some research regarding the human benefits of swearing. More specifically that swearing and cursing makes us stronger. Or even more specifically, according to the researching scientists, it focuses and channels our energies to enhance our performance. Which of course all makes absolute sense when you think about it.
Ponder the scene — you’re moving into a new top floor apartment and it’s time to get the sofa up the stairs. At a glance the stairs are just about wide enough, but there’s a turn in the middle that looks tricky. Half-way up and yes, you’re stuck. Pausing you assess the impassible situation. Your conclusion — brute force. Push, grunts, groans, nothing — it ain’t moving. Frustration seeps in and swiftly turns to ‘bleep, bleep, bleep, you bleeping piece of pleeping pleep’. A jolt, movement ‘son of a bleeping, bleep-bleep!’ And it’s up, you’ve done it. Achieved the unachievable and all it took was a healthy burst of expletives.
But the research goes deeper than this, removing the emotional context of specific situations, it also found the same effects were present when curse words were added to less stressful situations and repeated by volunteers in an even tone. Meaning — with no additional rise in heart rate or chemical releases noted, the research is as conclusive in its inconclusiveness — swearing, when we need to, helps but why is unclear.
So, how exactly is this useful?
Perhaps in a practical sense it’s potentially relevant to a health market that is bombarding consumers with energy boosts — the genuinely 100% natural option — be your best — swear your head off!
Though perhaps in a less practical sense it more simply serves as a good reminder that some things aren’t fully explainable and can’t be completely rationalised. And to us pondering the future of a branding industry that continually seeks to innovate and create new, new, new, maybe there is a deeper meaning. Think. Next time something doesn’t quite add up, but feels like it should - dig deep, swear and curse then be a bit brave. Maybe illogical is the new logical, perhaps today’s unexplained is tomorrow’s blueprint.