or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Monday, August 30, 2010

And That's An Order

There's probably a way to block ads from Facebook, but what the hell, they're small and unobtrusive and they don't blink or flash or move around the screen, so whatever. Those, I can ignore.

These two, one on top of the other, did catch my eye yesterday, though. The first one has a silly typo in it, the sort of thing that makes me think the product is likely worthless because the vendor couldn't even be bothered to make sure his ad copy is written in standard English.

The second one, though, is a doozy, because it's so tin-eared and badly worded. The verb "to deserve" does not operate well in the imperative mood, which is how it's used in the ad. If I start a sentence with the imperative "deserve", it actually means that I am telling you that you have to something else in order to deserve whatever I'm offering, which is not a sentiment often expressed in English, which is why the ad reads so badly and feels so wrong.

I suspect the copywriter intended the ad to suggest "Get more from a card," or maybe "Expect more from a card," but somehow had to get across the idea that the bearer deserves it. And if that is what the copywriter intended, then the copywriter failed miserably. If the ad had said "You deserve more from a card," then it would have unexceptionable, just more advertising flotsam, along the lines of "You deserve a break today."* But since it's pretty much commanding me to somehow be the sort of person who is worthy of having one of their scraps of plastic, and since I don't want a credit card that isn't as accepted in as many places as Visa or Mastercard but nevertheless wants to charge me a fee for being less versatile, my response is to laugh at them.

Still, the ad did make me notice it, so I guess it worked, if by "worked" we mean "made me want to poke fun at it".

* The old McDonald's ad campaign rendered in the imperative is an arresting idea, is it not? Sober, almost military. And that's the trouble with the American Express ad: it comes across as sternly authoritarian.


Blogger D.J. said...

Maybe the copywriter didn't realize the header was going to be separated from the body copy? "Canadian business owners/deserve more from a card" is pretty unobjectionable.

Monday, August 30, 2010 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger pyramus said...

You're right--and I didn't notice that that was even a possibility, because, I guess, the word "Deserve" was capitalized, which denotes the beginning of a sentence.

I'm still unimpressed, though, because it still looks wrong. Even a two-square-inch web ad should be proofed for these things.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 3:24:00 AM  

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