Top copy nightmares of 2010 Monday January 3, 2011

Photo of man wearing clown shoes for copywriting blog

Here’s a quick round-up of some of the most notable content bloopers of 2010…

An attack of gibberish makes the headlines

This was a horrible copy oversight that made the front page… It’s amazing to think that this one managed to slip through the net. Here we have yet another reminder of the perils involved with creating copy. This mistake succeeds only in drawing attention to itself. I’m guessing that very few people took the actual article seriously.

Exploiting Google turns customer pain into ‘negative advertisement’

If it wasn’t a true story, someone would have made it up. This tale of a truly delightful ‘eye wear’ seller is a modern parable about greed and the power of Google. The person in this story is comfortable with his online reputation being poor – because it’s boosting his sales. Most people now recognise the value of maintaining a good online reputation with positive copy. But somehow this character keeps on winning customers thanks to his Google rankings. Perhaps karmic justice (or angry customers) will catch up with him soon.

School typo proves a painful education in the US

Children. Take note – this is how not to spell the word! This next copy error illustrates the impact of the wrong wording in the right place. Not surprisingly, it was a mistake that went around the world. These kinds of errors in public copy happen from time to time. Yes, we in the UK have seen our fair share of copy catastrophes on the road. But this particular example by our US friends was so unfortunately appropriate. Now class, can anyone spell ‘cringe’ for me?

Grammatical errors are a sign of lost money

Ok, not strictly a 2010 copy nightmare. But it’s such a big one, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the cost of mistakes made with the written word. Reports have revealed that poor public writing has had a serious impact on the public purse. Repeated errors on public signs have created a financial headache for local councils. Going back years, it turns out that replacing signs with rogue apostrophes and other mistakes has cost us all quite a lot of cash. Let’s hope there’ll be fewer signage copy mistakes to start with in the future.

Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, January 2011

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