11 Copywriting Catastrophes You Have to See to Believe
Portent Staff Mar 25 2010
People overlook the value of a good copywriter because they think what we do is easy.
It is sometimes fun. It is not easy.
I’ve spent my entire career brainstorming taglines, crafting blog posts, and proofing paragraph after paragraph. Every marketing office needs an Ogilvy, a Leo Burnett, a Peggy Olson (ok, she’s fictional, but you get the idea).
One college creative writing class does not a wordsmith make. Do not attempt to run your business and write your own website copy. And please don’t delegate your content writing needs to some Joyce-worshiping intern who thinks writing is glamorous and a bottle of scotch makes him more creative.
Enter my copy house of horrors and see how one copywriting blunder could destroy your brand. Don’t let these copy fails happen to you!
1. Candy Store or Sex Shop?
Not only is it unappetizing, it gives sweet, innocent candy a strong sexual connotation. They get points for dotting the “I” with a peppermint – that’s clever. Always say your business name out loud five times before you hang up the sign, secure the url, or make the tee shirts.
2. Veterinarian or Robot Repair?
Copywriting 101: When you move in to a new building, don’t leave one word on your sign and replace the other words to save money. I’m honestly wondering if they’re repairing dog and cat robots.
Thanks to the Fail Blog for finding these amazingly bad signs.
3. Sexy Cab
4. The Road Less Traveled
Witness the power of an unfortunate name. The Crapstone looks like a gorgeous drive until you read the sign. I don’t know about you, but Crapstone makes me picture mounds of rock-hard, white dog poo everywhere. Pass.
Not only will a good copywriter help you avoid the name fail, they have an owl-like ability to hunt down misused punctuation marks and over-used exclamation points.
If you don’t think punctuation marks could destroy your signage, just check out these:
5. Snow Don’t Know Sh$t
Not only are these quotation marks distracting, I’m questioning whether Duane Snow knows anything or if he knows a juicy government secret. You can’t trust a person who doesn’t know how to use quotation marks.
6. So, is it on Sale?
I already distrust dealerships. But with the unnecessary quotation marks, I’m wondering if their cars are really on clearance and if the sales people made it past third grade. If I had $20,000 to spend on a mini-van, I’d go someplace with a better sign (and free doughnuts).
- Hungry for some “Steak”
- Now with “Real Ham”
- Juicy, finger-licking good “Chicken”
I know what I won’t be eating for “lunch.”
The blog of unnecessary quotation marks is an amazing resource for punctuation humor.
Just Bad Language
8. Balloon Blow Up
9. Nerd Word Confusion
Fashion Copy Catastrophes
10. A Juicy Apostrophe
11. Spell Check Isn’t a Proofreader
Misspelling your company name in your own ad is copy suicide.
The Red Inc caught these mishaps.
Remember, proofread, proofread, proofread. Spell check can’t find stupid mistakes. Comment below and share your own horror stories!
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