copy posts

ChittahChattah Quickies September 2nd, 2010
  • [from steve_portigal] Laptops Look like Race Cars — And Not in a Good Way [NYTimes.com] – [Pogue on the ridiculous sticker-on-laptops package] As A.M.D. points out, it’s like buying a new, luxury car­ and discovering that it comes with non-removable bumper stickers that promote the motor oil, the floor mat maker, the windshield-fluid company and the pine tree air freshener you have no intention of ever using….A.M.D.’s research shows that consumers hate the stickers (duh). But they’re not going away, for one simple reason: There’s big money involved. I(Apple famously refuses to put Intel stickers on its computers, even though there’s Intel inside. In doing so, it leaves millions of dollars a year on the table.)…In 2011, A.M.D. will switch to new stickers that peel off easily, leaving no residue; after that, it’s considering eliminating the sticker program altogether. In the meanwhile, it’s going to make affixing its stickers optional. If a computer company chooses not to use the A.M.D. stickers, A.M.D. will still pay it the same marketing dollars to use in other ways.
  • [from steve_portigal] DROID DOES – [Of course this advertising copy is at least partly tongue-in-cheek but I really have to wonder why – even as a joke – this is the sort of thing that we supposedly want out of our devices. The radio ad goes even further, giving voice to the implicit message here by promising to turn you into a machine. Verizon's raison d'etre is to sell phones, I know, but ulp, people, ulp. As we grapple with where we're at with this digi-firehose, Droid is putting a mecha-stake in the ground for us] Turns your eyes into captivated apertures of ecstasy. Its web-busting speed turns your arms into blistering, churning pistons. It’s power, intelligence and intuition. It’s not a better phone. It’s a better you….Its power, ability, brains and skill turn you into a web-rocketing, message-crafting super-you…with web-browsing speed that shoots you from zero to sixty in nanoseconds. It has an intuitive QWERTY keyboard that turns your thumbs into twin, text turbines and steaming diesel email engines.
  • [from steve_portigal] Robert Krulwich on Wondering [Frank Chimero] – Noticing is tough, yet rewarding work, and it begs to be documented. We’ve more tools than ever to do so…Maybe if the noticing started to arrange into larger patterns or there got to be a lot of documentation, I could maybe even print up a book of all the things I had noticed. And wouldn’t that be a nice thing to have on the bookshelf? My Year of Noticing and Wondering — 2010. As a person constantly in a position to produce words or designs or ideas, or whatever it may be, it feels good to give myself permission to kick back and inquisitively absorb things as they come. Part of noticing isn’t seeking, it’s highly reliant on serendipity and unexpected relevancy.
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“Very Loud Please Cover Ears!” March 1st, 2009

Here’s the Nine O’Clock Gun in Vancouver’s Stanley Park
cannon

The cannon, safe inside a cage, fires every night at 9:00. And there are warning signs, of course. One is fairly straightforward
warning

And the other looks like a parody example of Bad Visual Design.
zanywarning

Although the entire sign is hideous, confusing, hilarious yet disturbing, the bad copy, perhaps to cross cultures, is my (for lack of a better word) favorite. I love the phrase “Very Loud Please Cover Ears!” — note that the unnecessary quotes are actually included in the copy. It trumps the bad colors, the confusing icons, and the abysmal visual flow. I picture some bureaucrat, for whom English is not a first language, shouting out the copy to the sign designer, who took it down verbatim. Although just a comma would help a lot, but it still just reads embarrassingly wrong.

See more of my Vancouver 2009 pictures here.

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Needs January 28th, 2007

Booking the hotel for our event at the IASummit I found this rough edge on the confirmation screen.
5ad36d41.jpg
Circled in red, about halfway down. “Need copy.” Yes, you do still need the copy there. Sad that you launched this with the memo-to-self still intact. It’s smart to use a different tool for marking up content, lest the markup gets confused with the content itself. Proofreading can catch some of those mistakes, but not all of them. And here, we the end-user get a small reminder of the hands at work behind the scenes.

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Okay, this amused me October 28th, 2006

gw1_10_16_06_m_01.jpg
Norm Thompson is an online clothing catalog, where many of the images belie their naively breathless copy.

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Rewriting history – a good thing? November 23rd, 2005

This is a new at&t ad (pdf) for the SBC merger/renaming thing that’s going down now (and filling the off- and on-line press with stories about deaths of logos, competition, brand, and the like).

The text in question:
Historically,
mergers come with a winner and a loser.
This isn’t the last time we’ll rewrite history.

seems pretty messed up. Doesn’t rewriting history mean that one goes back and changes the written record to reflect what is more preferred to think now (wasn’t that what Winston Smith did in 1984)? It’s an accusation of dishonesty when we speak of rewriting history. Yet at&t is proclaiming that they are going to head off and do just that. In some ways, the rebranding is indeed rewriting history, pretending that the split from Ma Bell and all the other mergers and splits didn’t happen over the decades, and that this company you’re doing business with is the same company back in the good ol’ days.

But that isn’t what they mean, is it? I think they mean that they’ll be making history – dispensing with the old truths and breaking barriers and doing great things. Making history, and rewriting history are two very different things.

Is this doubleplusgood quacktalk? Or just really really lazy agency work (and dumb-ass clients)?

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