I was flipping through the colour magazine of a weekend newspaper and I was amazed at the number of ads using tortured words and misspellings. Here are three reason why I think advertisers just shouldn’t do it.
- I really think it’s counterproductive. They’re all so lame and amateurish. I mean Salebration! PLEASE! If there’s one thing worse than a bad spoken pun it’s a tortured written one. If you have to stoop to such depths what you’re saying is there isn’t much that the product or service has that’s worth writing about. I can’t even remember what this ad was for.
- Literacy among the whole population – not just young people – seems to be less than ideal. Partly this is a result of lacklustre education, partly because for some people English is a second language they’ve had to learn late in life and partly it’s because the written word – in papers, on billboards and websites – is tortured and misspelt. Why do we write LITE and TONITE? What was wrong with light and tonight? Written words in public spaces tend to have a de facto authority and people accept what they see as being correct usage. What a pity it isn’t!
- Professionalism. If you want people to take you and your products or services seriously then silly language gimmicks won’t do it. You can still be clever, amusing, eye-catching and thought provoking and use the language properly.
In the spirit of if you can’t beat them…
I’ve coined a new word to describe these horrible ads, which I think describes them perfectly and uses their own tortured logic – DAGVERTISING. (If you don’t know what a dag is check here)