Archive for May 10th, 2006

Copywriter wanted: must understand basic grammar

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Take a look at this miserable excuse for an advertisement. (The word in the middle is ‘shirt’, not ‘shit’).

Why am I so down on it? Forget the layout that means the key word is lost in the fold, forget the weak weedy typography, forget the far-too-subtle joke, or the fact that the washing machine appears to be unplugged and in the living room. Take a look at the headline.

Spot the mistake?

It’s ‘fewer creases’, not ‘less’! It’s wrong, no matter what you might say about “well everyone says ‘less’ these days”. I don’t care. It’s inexcusable. It’s up there with apostrophes in the wrong place, ellipses with two dots or more than three, ‘I’ instead of ‘me’.

(Marks & Spencer, the leading high street retailer in the UK, changed their checkout signs from ‘Five items or less’ to ‘Five items or fewer’, I’m told because of a customer complaint. Sadly no other store seems to have followed suit).

If I were Ariel or Hotpoint I’d be having serious words with my ad agency…

But it’s not as bad as this example of piss-poor proofing. The cheese company Leerdammer recently launched a new brand extension complete with inappropriate apostrophe. I first noticed this over a year ago and they’re still doing it!
I mean, I might expect it of a greengrocer, but not an international food company:

Unbelievable. Who approves this crap?

View from my office window

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006


Every year the ‘Lady boys of Bankok’ turn up, pitch tent in front of my window, only to disappear several months later leaving nothing but a patch of brown grass.

As this is my last summer in Brighton, it seems, I might have to go and see what this is all about.