My television has been banished indefinitely to the spare room, due in no small part to Nissan Micra and their current advertising campaign. It has become clear that I’m not the only one whose teeth and fingernails start screaming in protest every time I hear the words ‘simpology’ and ‘spafe’, but why?

The thinking behind these ads is obviously ‘this Micra is so original, radical and downright funky that we need to invent a whole new lexicon to describe it. Also, we are generally wacky and innovative, as reflected in promotional sidebars in national newspapers where we – get this – just go right ahead and make up words for random concepts that have so far escaped definition.’ Sorry Nissan, but Douglas Adams and John Lloyd got there (or somewhere similar but less obnoxious) twenty years before you, and did it with a light touch and an understanding of human nature that you can only dream of.

The main reason the adverts are so ground-breakingly annoying is that they utterly fail to grasp how language works. Yes, new words are created, and old ones adapted, all the time, thanks to text messages, pop songs, websites, TV shows, playgrounds, films… but they evolve organically, have an history, and will only survive if they are useful. No advertising executive can yank a hideous portmanteau word into existence just by willing it. And of course, the lack of any kind of wit or irony doesn’t help. If only that whispery, lubricious voice would intone “free… insurance… frinsurance!” at the end of the advert, but no. The Micra obviously takes itself deadly seriously, which is exactly why it’s impossible for the viewer to.