Spotting Mistakes

I often write about errors in news writing and believe me, I could post a new story about them every day but I try to pace myself. 

The other part of my broadcasting career concerns commercials.  My little recording studio is humming most afternoons. Some days I record a dozen.  Some days it’s just one or two. I love commercials, the art of them and the challenge of bringing to life an idea or a product inside 30 mere seconds.

But you have to wonder how some of them make it from conception to reality without someone saying, hold on there, this doesn’t make sense!

Case in point, heard on the weekend:  “…is proud to have been voted the 2013 car wash of the year for the second year in a row!”.  Wow.  So last year they also named you 2013 car wash of the year?  That’s kind of odd, since last year was 2012.

But my current favourite is a PSA for a serious breathing condition called COPD.  Every time I hear it it’s like scraping fork tines on a plate.  “Since being diagnosed with COPD I have shortness of breath and trouble going up a flight of stairs…” Oh really?  It took being diagnosed for that to happen?  You mean you had no symptoms at all, some doctor said – hey – you have COPD and the symptoms magically appeared? It’s just poorly written.

I’m very picky about words.  Thesaurus.com is always at the ready.  In radio, sound is all we have and we should try as hard as we can to at least get it right. Have you heard any ridiculously written commercials lately?

On another note, making men out to be hapless idiots rescued by women has worn so thin it has become a stereotype in advertising.  For those who have had short lives or short memories, this is the pendulum swinging way too far in the direction opposite ads from the 1940’s and 50’s where women were fey, doe-eyed, brainless wonders always being advised by their smart, sophisticated husbands.  But it evened out long ago.  It’s way past time to let the men have their brains back.

2 thoughts on “Spotting Mistakes”

  1. Gloria Bryant

    If an advertisement portrays anyone of either sex as brainless, that product goes on my “Do Not Buy’ list. Poor advertising can result in poor sales and the idiots who approve those ads never seem to realize it.

    You’re correct, let’s stop the stereotyping of either sex and just have people who might be having real conversations. No more phony ‘News’ anchors talking about shoes, or cars, or…

    1. Absolutely!! I stopped buying Herbal Essence anything after their ad campaign that showed women writhing and moaning in the shower because of the shampoo. Seriously? If you insult me, I let you go.

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