What happens when you don’t bother to get a writer in

This, from a full-page ad for Hill & Knowlton, who describe themselves as “a leading international communications consultancy”. I spotted it in the “Thought Leader Series” supplement, which came with a recent issue of “PR Week”:

Knowing where to look? Sorry, but I can’t see beyond the glaring apostrophe crime . . .

Hill & Knowlton are, at least, in good company. In the same publication, another full-page ad from Echo Research, which bills itself as “the premier global specialist in reputation analysis and stakeholder research”, showed a similar disregard for punctuation (not to mention a predilection for nasty business jargon and an inability to spot an extra space between two words):

I’d put money on it that both these adverts were cobbled together by a corporate executive and a graphic designer, because they contain the sort of embarrassing errors that tend to creep in when you think you can do without a writer.

So if you’re thinking of cutting costs in these credit crunchy times by ditching the only literate member of your team, think very carefully before you do.

Especially if you claim to be an expert in “communication” or “reputation analysis”.

6 comments so far . . . come and pitch in!

  1. JH says:

    I recently received this poorly written release from Hill & Knowlton and was amazed that such a big PR firm could allow such illiterate rubbish to be issued in its name:

    “Between the 25th of October and 2nd of November, customers to the London Aquarium will have the opportunity to visit the London Aquarium for half price.

    “The London Aquarium will be extending its opening hours during the week, and between 0930-1030 and 1600-1900hrs (last admission 1800) customers who book online can enter for half the normal price.

    “The London Aquarium provides the ideal fun and educational experience, raising awareness of the importance of protecting fish in their natural habitat and stimulating children’s minds with its dramatic array of over 500 colourful marine species. Nowhere else in London can visitors come face to face with nature’ aquatic predators and during half term they will even get the chance to enjoy the Halloween ‘terrors of the deep’ theme. A specially tour written to include some of the Aquarium’s scarier exhibits and will be covering piranha’s, jellyfish, stonefish, sharks etc.

    “Situated on London’s South Bank, the London Aquarium is one of Europe’s largest displays of global aquatic life.”

  2. clare says:

    Gosh, that is sloppy – and could so easily have been tidied up if they’d just got someone literate to cast their eyes over it before sending it out. If I were their client at the London Aquarium I’d be livid.

    To any would-be PRs out there: sending the message that you don’t really care about basic grammar, punctuation and syntax is not exactly a great way to get journalists on your side . . .

  3. JH says:

    Some of the worst press releases that come my way are from the London College of Communication.

    Today’s missive was entitled:
    “Hip Hop Celebrates it’s 34th birthday at London College of Communication”


  4. clare says:

    How embarrassing. I think someone needs to go on the LCC’s proofreading course . . .

  5. Mary Cullen says:

    Wow, I wouldn’t expect to see an error with “it’s” in an expensive advert from a communications consultancy. I explained the grammar rules for “its” and “it’s” recently, because it’s becoming so prevalent: http://www.businesswritinginfo.com/?p=296

  6. clare says:

    Thanks, Mary. Amazing, isn’t it? I know we can all make typing errors from time to time, but you’d think the size of the font would have made the mistake obvious.

    Thanks for the link – it saves me having to explain the distinction!

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