Is it Appropriate to Use Improper Grammar in Advertising?
It’s a question that has plagued marketers since the dawn of, well, since the dawn of modern marketing. And the truth, as so much else in life, isn’t a clear cut case of yes and no, black or white. In fact, very convincing and well formed arguments can be made for both points.
Yes, writing with a (small) disregard for grammar is okay.
The most common examples cited as advertising’s disdain for the English language are the popular ‘Got Milk’ and ‘Think Different’ campaigns. Two of the largest, most successful taglines of the modern advertising age, and both lines shake off the oppressive shackles of proper English in order to create memorable and poignant taglines that fit nicely underneath a logo. Just try to imagine for a moment Apple writing out ‘For those who think differently’ on the bottom on every single one of their TV or print ads or (worse yet) 300×250 banner ad. Sure, it could be done but the result would be a more complex and less compelling way to deliver a message. Brevity is the soul of memorable copy, and in the end making your message stick is all that matters.
No, writing should always be grammatically correct.
There are many, many, many examples of absolute marketing fails when it comes to spelling and grammar errors. They are so numerous that…well, there are just too many to count. Hilarious ones include a McDonald’s marquee that feature a line informing customers about the new new Anus burger, apparently it’s more popular than the Angus burger. Poor spelling and even little mistakes can turn a brand into the butt of many a joke
In summation, use proper grammar. ALWAYS. Because the only time you will get away with it is if you understand the rules and can intentionally break them to make a point. As they say: Grammar. The difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit.
This post was written by C. Magin, Copywriter at PUSH 22.