Friday, October 14, 2005

Adwatch - No 71

If I were on the Board of W.H. Smith I wouldn't be too happy with a commercial for part-work publisher Deagostini's latest opus. It carries the caption:
"Available at all good newsagents and WH Smith."

The unfortunate implication could have been avoided if they'd said:
"Available at WH Smith and all other good newsagents."
Or:
"Available at all good newsagents including WH Smith".

But maybe few of us notice such things. The proof-readers clearly don't.

9 Comments:

At 9:23 AM, Blogger cello said...

As ever, Willie, you prove that you would have made a better copywriter than most. But maybe they were just observing the 'legal, decent, honest and truthful' principle a bit too scrupulously.

 
At 9:56 AM, Blogger patroclus said...

Ahahaha, copywriters of the world unite! The other day I was having to explain to a client why "Brand X, the product chosen by some of the world's largest companies" didn't sound too good.

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger zaphod said...

Was that the ad for the great boxing matches dvds ? I am seriously thinking of ordering them from my local newsagent, who is not W H Smith.

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

cello: I almost made the same joke. That I didn't might be because I once slept with a WH Smith sales assistant. So the phrase 'F**k WH Smith' has a rather different resonance for me.

patroclus: I think the problem is that people don't put themselves in the place of another reader. They know what they mean and don't realise that they may have conveyed something else.

The trouble with criticising copywriting is that you then have to check your own post about twenty times and it's notoriously difficult to spot your own errors.

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Merkin said...

I recently stayed with a friend in County Kerry in Ireland, and the advert in the local paper from the regional tourist board genuinely said "Come and climb Carrauntoohil - Ireland's (and also Kerry's) highest mountain". How wonderfully ... Irish!

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger Helzepops said...

This will be because the copywriter is working for Deagostinis'agency and has been forced into it by Smiths who wouldn't stock the product unless they got a mention in the ad. Common retailer negotiation ploy.

 
At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Graham said...

What about bad Newsagents then don't they get a shout..??

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

merkin: the trouble with those Irish ones is that they make sense in a perverse kind of way. Or maybe that's because I have some Irish in me.

helzepops: I had wondered whether Smith's had paid for a mention in the ad. I didn't realise it worked the other way round. Sounds more like blackmail than negotiation to me.

graham: I think the implication is that any newsagent that stocks their product must therefore be a good newsagent.
But if they only used 'good' newsagents they wouldn't have many stockists.

 
At 5:21 PM, Anonymous judas said...

"I think the implication is that any newsagent that stocks their product must therefore be a good newsagent"

No - I think it implies that any newsagent which does not stock their product is an inferior newsagent.

So, next time you go to pick up a few daily necessities at the corner shop, you should ask if they stock "Brand X,* and if the answer is no, then you had better find a better newsagent to buy your milk from.

 

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