Last week saw the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II and the 425th anniversary of the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots. The juxtaposition gives a whole new meaning to that customer service staple, “We treat you like Royalty”, and made me think about other ads, headlines and slogans that don’t quite work.
For example, my uncle chortled for years over an ad he once saw: “Don’t spend a penny on a new carpet until you’ve seen our range”.
My friend Helen chuckles over “Piano wanted for man with three legs”. Huhhh?!? The man? The piano? I can’t get my head round it. Does anyone make three-legged pianos? Did they have a couple of bricks sitting around with no other purpose than to become the fourth leg? Did Jake the Peg come into it somewhere? Too many questions….
A friend sent me one of those “funny” emails the other day; unusually this one did have me rolling in the aisles. It was a list of badly-edited headlines including “Miners Refuse to Work after Death”, “Panda Mating Fails: Veterinarian takes over” and the glorious “Red Tape Holds up New Bridges” (I always thought it was tougher than steel!).
Years of amusement for us, recalling these gaffes – and years of red faces for the authors, ditto. It’s hard to say whether recommending a proofreader would be a good idea or a bad one; I guess it depends which side of the fence you’re sitting.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “I know you believe you understand what you think I said but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” It’s all about communication.
If you come across any similar gems, do share them below!