Insights for Destination & Leisure Marketers

Spelling and Grammatical Errors on Billboards Are No Laughing Matter

July 5 | Posted by: | Consider This, Design

Sure, we’ve all seen grammatical and spelling errors on billboards and other signs that make us laugh. The ones you look at when you’re supposed to be doing work. C’mon, you know you do it.

Well, it may be funny for you, but for every chuckle or guffaw that exits your lips, there’s a brand that’s crying – even dying – inside. Have you no heart? No soul?

Is it funny when a typo happens to a national beer brand?

Is it funny when it happens to a local “public” school system?

No, it’s not funny. It’s sad. Sad for me. Sad for you. And sad for America.

Here’s what’s really sad. When grammatical errors happen that no one (except a grammar geek like me) even notices. One of the more recent billboards for People’s Bank in my area reads, “Delighting customers for 169 years… now it’s your turn.” It’s my turn to delight your customers? Whoa. Now that’s asking a bit much of your target audience. Oh, you mean it’s my turn to be delighted? Well that’s an entirely different story.

Now since I’m probably one of about 5 people in New England who even picked up on this blunder, it likely won’t affect their brand. So no need to shed any tears for People’s. But you have to get a little choked up when you think about the marketing team for South Bend Public Schools. But probably a big win for South Bend’s Catholic schools – so it’s a wash.

I want you to take a good look inward next time you find yourself laughing at a misspelled sign.

And in the meantime, I ask you this: Is it funny when another marketing firm does it in front of everyone at the Cannes Film Festival?

Hahaha. Yeah, it is.