Everyone makes mistakes. The occasional typo is prevalent in all forms of writing, from job notices to news articles. It is often missed during proofreading, and is an understandable mistake, given how busy copywriters and ad campaign managers can become. However, not everyone can afford to make a typo when there is a multi-million dollar national ad on the line.
Ad campaigns go through many edits, and careful consideration is taken so that every letter of every word counts. However, although uncommon, grammatical mistakes in advertising can happen. When they do, the company runs the risk of the gaffe negatively impacting the product and the brand, with consequences ranging from general disapproval to large financial burdens. It can often be swept under the rug, but with the prevalence and sheer usage of digital technology, a small mistake can leave a long-lasting mark. Below are some recent examples of typing errors and grammatical mishaps found in the marketing world.
Victoria’s Secret’s Apostrophe’s Mistake’s
A sharp-eyed friend informed me of the recent Victoria’s Secret “Body by Victoria” ad that raised quite a few…eyebrows. The slogan, “You’ve never seen ‘Body’s’ like this” was meant to be a clever play on words, but instead it had the adverse reaction of confusing viewers. Although the name of the new line is Body and therefore using the plural term “bodies” is not correct, neither is using the term “body’s.” Instead, the slogan should be “You’ve never seen ‘Bodys’ like this.” This improper use of an apostrophe may not exactly harm the commercial success of the “Body by Victoria” line of bras, but it is enough to elicit a few giggles and many facepalms.
Majic Mik iz Abov Spellling
The 2012 summer hit movie about male strippers called “Magic Mike” had many promotional television spots. Targeted mainly towards women, the film had mixed, but generally positive reviews, with a 6.1/10 rating on IMDb and an 80% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the ads were perfectly fine, and enticed many people (both men and women alike) to see the film. One ad, however, made a mistake by misspelling the word “boyfriend” as “boyriend.” Although the ad copy had tried to say that the movie could make boyfriends seem inferior to Magic Mike, I can only hope that many were comforted to know that their boyfriends could at least spell properly.
Romney’s Better Amercia
The 2012 presidential election was very heated, as it often is with political campaigns. Both the Obama and Romney campaigns utilized a mix of online and mobile platforms to gain approval and support. Romney had a minor gaffe during the process, however, when mobile users noticed that his campaign app had misspelled one of the most important words in political advertising – “America.” Was this the mistake that led to Obama’s reelection? That idea is highly unlikely, but it is something that I am sure his campaign manager was not very happy about, to say the least. Apple was asked to rush an update to the app fixing the typo, but the damage had already been done. “Amercia” had already found the mistake too funny not to share across every social network.
Why does it matter?
I do not mean to say that the copywriters and other ad campaign staff failed at their jobs or were being lazy – quite the opposite. They tried to create clever, funny, and interesting copy for the respective campaigns. The moral is simply this: Double-check your work before submitting it for distribution, and if you are able, get someone else to take a look at it. It is something many of us fail to do at all times, but it does not hurt to take the time to look over possible mistakes, especially when there are very few total words involved. In addition, when a fresh set of eyes takes a look at the copy, they may see something that the original writer had inadvertently missed. Marketing is, or at least should be, a team effort. Everyone has the responsibility to making sure that their work is in the best condition possible.
Advertising already has a fair number of skeptics and critics. Therefore, as marketers, we should be presenting the best work that we can to avoid stirring up even more criticism.
What do you think about typos or other mistakes in advertisements? Do you know of other marketing mishaps, and if there were any solutions taken to resolve them? Did I ironically leave a typo? (I did double check my writing!) Please comment below!