Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bad grammar/spelling = Good advertising?

In class the other day we discussed Apple's advertising slogan "Think Different."  I guess it is plausible that Apple intended for the word "different" to be used as a noun which would make it acceptable. To me, it just grates on my nerves because I cannot read/see/hear it without thinking to myself that the word *should* be "differentLY." 

It is bad enough when a company misspells a word on an advertisement or use the wrong "there," "they're," or "their."  Why do national chains have to take that extra step and purposefully use the wrong spelling of a word?  For example, Chick-Fil-A is famous for billboards featuring the trademark cows painting misspelled words.  When and why did this become a good advertisement?  I can imagine that years ago, if a company attempted an advertising campaign like this, the signs would be laughed at and nobody would take them seriously enough to purchase from that company.  Now, it is perfectly acceptable to let these companies plaster misspelled words all over the place where even children learning to read can see them. 

I may not always use impeccable grammar but if I were going to create an advertisement that would be viewed nationwide, I would consult an editor or someone of the like in order to proofread anything I may have written. 
It seems to me that these billboards are just another sign of the times and of us "dumbing down" our children. 
It goes hand in hand with the language kids (and sadly enough, even some adults) use in text messaging or comments on Facebook.  I don't consider myself a grammar expert but I certainly don't see it as a waste of time to capitalize "I" or to write out the full word "and" instead of "n."  Is an extra five seconds really too much time for you(general) to use when you're typing something? 
I think it's time that it becomes the *cool* thing for kids to use correct grammar and punctuation.  It just becomes so much more enjoyable to have an electronic conversation when you don't have to spend 10 minutes deciphering what it is the other person is saying.  I spend time debating online with other members of a "hot topic" debate board and if I come across a post with awful "text speak" or something, I cannot even take them seriously which leads me to just skip over the entire thread. 

I cannot even imagine what the technology will be like in 10+ years when my kids become teenagers but I can assure you that if they are texting or IMing or chatting on the computer, I will hounding them to use correct English whenever possible.


  1. While I think you made some good arguements about the Chick-Fil-a slogans, overall I disagree with you. I think the Chick-Fil-a ads are catchy and effective. Everyone knows who the cows are that try to keep you from eating burgers. They are at sports games and events all over the country.

  2. Do you think that spelling chicken, "chikin" or spelling you're, "yer" make the ads more effective? I think the idea of cows trying to convert people from burgers to chicken sandwiches is a great idea but I don't see the need to use the bad spelling. I suppose I am just one of "those" people who don't see the comedy in someone(even a cow) not being able to spell correctly.

  3. I had to chime. I know this post is old, but I came across your site while doing some research for school about bad grammar in advertisement. I totally agree with you. When did it become the "cool" thing to do to misspell everything. Children, especially teenagers and young adults use the texting language so much that some of them have a hard time spelling the simplest of things, which is sad. Why are you in such a rush that you can't type the entire word. I go to school online and I just had a Professor that would not let you participate in the chat if you used texting language. I can't stand and I don't get it. I broke myself out of doing it years ago, like 5. lol I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 10 month old and I refuse to let them learn this nonsense when they get older, because I'm pretty sure that it'll be around. Parents need to get more on the children and make sure that they are doing things correctly.

    I do think the ad from Chick-fil-la are cute, but with their target audience seeming to be children you would think that it would come off a different way. Either way teaching your children the proper spellings should correct any issues with advertisement like that.

  4. I think this slogan is farfetched and it does create a visual mishap for children learning to spell. This is one of the weaknesses that americans have exposed to countries all over the world. Eventhough many trends have been exposed this one in particular has cause many problems for spellers.