Sunday, May 29, 2011

Grammatical Errors in Major Ad Campaigns

Have you guys noticed that several recent ad campaigns feature messed-up comma usage?  I know it's seriously uncool to be a Grammar Nazi, but I can't help it.  I was an English major.  I worked as a copywriter and an editor.  I can't not notice these things.  What gives, people?

Exhibit A:
"Love.  It's what makes a Subaru, a Subaru."

Apparently, their copywriters still think their third-grade teacher's explanation that "you put a comma wherever you take a breath" is correct.  It's not.  Why didn't someone catch this?  I used to work in advertising.  Anything like this has to go through innumerable proofing meetings, getting approvals from the copywriter, copy chief, creative director, production director, and a VP, at least.  Does no one see that this is wrong?

P.S.: If you want to know why it's wrong, The Society Against Grammatical Boobery has a detailed explanation.

Exhibit B:
"The things we make, make us."

Makes me wonder if Jeep hired Subaru's ad agency. Same sentence pattern, same egregious error.

Exhibit C:
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

These fools trademarked their incorrectly punctuated slogan.

What's wrong with the world?  Theoretically, really smart people are hired to become ad agency copywriters, copy chiefs, and creative directors.  Are they producing incorrectly punctuated sentences on purpose?  Or does no one understand the comma anymore?  I'm not sure which disturbs me more.

As a writer struggling to learn her craft, these things upset me.  If the world doesn't value grammar, why should anyone be bothered to learn it?  Why should anyone be bothered to write?  Why should anyone proofread?  There are things that still matter.  This is one of them.

Maybe it's not that big a deal to the average viewer or driver or Vegas tourist, but this is my life.  It matters to me.  And I can't take these companies seriously anymore.  Not like I was going to buy a Jeep or a Subaru, but now, even if I wanted to, I probably wouldn't.  Just to show them that my puny savings account is reserved for companies that still know how to use the English language.  It's just one person and just one voice, but it's all I have.