|WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS AD? Poor grammar turned this HITACHI ad into a flop. 1981.|
Writing for advertising involves writing for effect, so it is expected that rules of grammar are intentionally not observed—like starting a headline with a conjunction, splitting infinitive, and removing punctuations. But obviously, the copy for this HITACHI REFRIGERATOR print ad was not done for that purpose. Clearly, it was just written poorly, and the result is a very awkward headline.
In an attempt to draw parallelisms between the beauty of a woman, a rose and a ref, the copywriter wrote: “Two beautiful things, A Rose and a Ref, things that make women have something in common.”
Oops, say that again?
We sort of get the drift that the copywriter wanted to convey: that beauty is something that women have in common—which can be had by having a beautiful rose—and a beautiful refrigerator, in this case, HITACHI. The body copy is similarly mushy and wordy. Crafting this multi-message thought in a one sentence headline proved to be a challenge for the copywriter.
Apparently, someone took note of the headline’s wrong grammar that the ad was hastily pulled out and revised. The rewritten headline now read: “ Two beautiful things…A Rose and a Ref, things that women have in common”.
|THE AD CORRECTED a few issues later. Note the shorter headline that has |
been grammatically fixed.
The addition of ellipsis (…) to separate the thoughts, and the straightening of the wrong grammar in the next line were the quick fixes done by the copywriter (or perhaps, her creative boss) on the headline. The body copy has also been streamlined, and made more concise. Better, but, oh well..you be the judge.
|THE CORRECTED HITACHI AD, clearer but is it better?|
Here is a saying that goes: “A lawyer’s mistakes are in jail, a judge’s mistakes are in the cemetery, but a copywriter’s mistakes are shown on TV every night”. So copywriters, be warned.