Back in July 2015, when I wrote about the spread of “as fuck” and its abbreviation, “AF,” my sightings were limited to tweets, rap-album titles, and small-batch consumer goods sold on Etsy and other online marketplaces. In a comment on my post, “Y” predicted a bigger future for “AF”: “It’ll be co-opted by the mainstream. In fifty years, Modern Maturity will have recipes for Scrumptious-as-Fuck Cupcakes, and Midwesterners will tell their minister that his sermon was def as fuck.”
Fifty years? Try 22 months. That’s how long it took for New York–based FoodKick to launch its cheeky-as-fuck ad campaign in subways and social media.
AF is officially dead AF. pic.twitter.com/u7IqzLNcDH
— Matt Zoller Seitz (@mattzollerseitz) April 9, 2017
FoodKick, which launched in January 2016, is a subsidiary of FreshDirect, an online food-shopping service that began delivering groceries in New York in 2002. FreshDirect promises one-day delivery; FoodKick rushes your order to your Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens address in under an hour. (“The vast majority of the marketplace actually aren’t planners,” FreshDirect’s CEO told the Wall Street Journal.)
And where FreshDirect’s marketing is earnest and reassuring (“Convenience shouldn’t mean compromise”), FoodKick’s is snappy and sassy (“jumbo-sized bluebs,” “Trend, hacked”). The “AF” ads lean heavily on double entendre.
April 1 presented an irresistible opportunity.
— FoodKick (@Foodkick) April 1, 2017
AF may be new in commercial usage — please let us know if you’ve seen earlier examples in advertising! — but in speech and literature it’s older than you may think. The earliest citation in Green’s Dictionary of Slang, which defines as fuck as “a general intensifier, the coarse synon. for ‘as anything’,” is from Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?, a novel by Alan Bleasdale published in London in 1977.
That’s one year earlier than the first citation in Jesse Sheidlower’s The F-Word (“sure as fuck,” 1978).