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January 4, 2008

Vodacome caaan’t spell

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You’d think that Vodacom would hire a top-notch advertising agency to help it with its advertising. And, you’d think that agency would in turn hire top-notch staff. Here’s an example from its recent advertising campaign. As you can see by the picture, 100 BMW’S  should be 100 BMWs. Either the advertising agency is hiring copywriters and editors that can’t read their own diplomas or it was a genuine mistake. It seems that most of the English-speaking world doesn’t know when and how to use an apostrophe.

I’m sure that Vodacom knows about this mistake and someone has been called up on this.

In mitigation, I find that when one uses capitals, it is a lot harder to check the spelling because our eyes are used to lower case, serif fonts (like Times Roman).

Have you noticed that three people can proof read a piece of work and it is only when it is printed that the mistake is self-evident. Your gut falls through the floor, doesn’t it?

I’ll never forget when I was a rookie advertising man, we had a disaster with Premier. We produced Premier’s newsletter (a tabloid newspaper). The headline was supposed to be "Premier changes its identity".

When 100 000 copies were printed, it came out "Premier changes its indemnity". Thank goodness I was just a spectator in this balls up. However, my boss aged overnight. We still don’t know how it got changed because our proofs were correct. This was, of course, before Apple Mac 😉

Jacques de Villiers is a persuasion architect specialising in sales and marketing.

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