bad marketing

Who will be the ultimate winner in the great MasterChef media battle?

It appears that Eusebius McKaiser is not the only one taking flak for his handling of the MasterChef prize announcement. M-Net has come under fire from critics for misrepresenting the true nature of the competition’s prize. Deconstructing the events The Citizen newspaper broke the story on 27 July (What’s cooking at MasterChef?) quoting the winner, Deena Naidoo, as saying, “It has been presented […]

If Eusebius can’t stand the heat, he should get out of the MasterChef kitchen

My six-year-old son, Sam, sat up excitedly in bed yesterday morning. “This is the day of the MasterChef final, mom.” His excitement was echoed throughout South Africa as we sat on the edge of our seats waiting to see whether Sue-Ann or Deena would take the title.The contestants and team at MasterChef and DStv had done an […]

The case of the Halaal matzah pudding and other PC treats

Following my last column on religious fanaticism and the Woolies Halaal hot cross bun fiasco, I look at political correctness, Google and matzah puddings, in no particular order. My first reaction to the Halaal hot cross bun uprising was that it was one big matzah pudding. Don’t worry; I don’t intend bringing kosher food into […]

Karl Marx and the Halaal hot cross bun debacle

I was amused at the outrage with which some Christians swallowed the news that their Easter treats carried Halaal certification. It made me think about how manically we defend our religious practices. Most people know that Karl Marx declared that “religion … is the opium of the people.” However, few realise either the full extent […]

How bad writing can harm a brand’s image – it’s not hip to be (Wembley) Square (Part 5)

I jumped back onto my high horse after an innocent trip to the loo, a dilemma and a solution served up on a silver platter. My previous columns on how bad writing can ruin otherwise good marketing targeted Foschini andStandard Bank and involved a good deal of research into their online marketing and social media interactions. My latest […]

POND(‘s) life – wading through the murky waters of beauty adverts

Despite my better judgment, I read the copy on a POND’s beauty advertisement. On finishing, I felt duty bound to write this critical analysis after conducting some enlightening research. It’s been a while since I ranted about poor promotional copy. In one of my first columns for The Media Online, Am I splitting hairs? No, nails actually, I dissected (read […]

How bad writing (and inane slogans) can harm a brand’s image (Part 3)

In my last post I used SA retail chain Foschini as an example of bad writing on the web. I did so in the knowledge that any future attempts on my part to present my credit card at one of their stores may be blocked. I can live with this possibility. Very comfortably, thank you.

This week, however, angering my target may have a far more serious effect on my life. Despite this, in the interests of my crusade against bad writing I have decided to tell it like it is. Here goes….

How bad writing can harm a brand’s image (Part 2)

In my previous column on this topic, which you can read here, I argued that bad, inaccurate or sloppy writing harms a brand’s image. I ranted about marketing professionals who have yet to grasp that every piece of writing emanating from a company or its employees says something about its brand.
The CEO of Articulate Marketing, Matthew Stibbe, whom I quoted in my earlier column, says the following of business writing: “Writing fails if the reader doesn’t understand it, doesn’t believe it or doesn’t remember it or act on it. Consequently, comprehension, credibility and retention are the requirements of business writing.”

This is undeniably true. But writing also fails if readers are so distracted by bad writing, spelling or grammar that they miss the point that is being conveyed or, even worse, choose not to consume the goods or services on offer based on what they read. This happens in one of two ways: by using complex phrases and convoluted jargon instead of plain language and by committing elementary grammatical and spelling errors.

How bad writing can harm a brand’s image (Part 1)

I am an out-of-the-closet pedant; the kind who irritates those she follows on Twitter by pointing out the typos and grammar mistakes in their tweets. I think this makes me less scary than those nitpickers who lurk among their unsuspecting victims. (I am open to correction on this point, though. Since I started writing these columns I have received fewer personal emails, text messages and Twitter DMs, but maybe I’m being a bit paranoid.)