One small mistake, one giant gaff

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You must be used to my moaning by now. All those tortuously bad ads that drive me potty – from Brad Pitt waxing poetical in the agonising Chanel 'inevitable' campaign, to Spotify waffling on about what music does to us (which has nothing to do with their service), to ab-ripped Diet Coke guy stripping off in front of five horny young things in the park. Blurgh!

But to be fair, I've also gone on about being awe-struck too a lot of the time when talking about my favourite ads. When the Kevin Bacon EE ads first came out, I was blown away by the verbal acrobatics. Likewise the Orange ads (where Darth Vader et al pitch ideas for a new movie to a panel of producers) were hysterical. And HTC's latest effort with Robert Downey Jr ('Hipster Troll Carwash' anyone?) was simply creativity on fire...and on acid.

By and large, car ads are also pretty impressive. At the top of the charts is Volkswagen. From low-key corner-shop deadpan deliveries to cute little Darth Vader wannabes willing cars to spring to life all on their own, to mash-ups of YouTube videos with a plethora of versions of My Way being sung into webcams – they're at the top of the automobile advertising tree.

Although not quite in the same category – but still in the same broad area – most of us (in London, at least) have heard of Cargiant. It's the biggest car dealership in the world, with 5,000 cars in stock and 600,000 sold to date. And their website traffic is pretty staggering too, with over 5 million hits per month. So given that that's the case, you'd think they'd spend just a little bit of time and money crossing the Ts and so on when it comes to their marketing and advertising.

Especially when it's plastered across the side of a bus.

As you can see from the picture at the top, taken from inside my car, there's a glaring error: an errant apostrophe. Leaving aside that I'm a copywriter and editor and so these types of mistakes make me descend into something of a twitching, gibbering wreck, to have an ad containing such a basic typo is unforgivable. I knew the rules about apostrophes when I was about seven years old, so it shouldn't be too much to ask for the head of marketing for such a successful company to know them too.

Even if some underpaid marketing assistant knocked up the copy on a Friday afternoon after a boozy lunch, someone somewhere approved it. Or at least, I'm assuming they approved it. If nobody did, then that's even more worrying.

On a lesser point, the second sentence (thousand's [sic] of cars to buy in one place) doesn't actually connect with the first at all (Like a kid in a sweet shop). Both statements individually are valid, but together, they don't work.

But let's not get distracted from the point here, and that is quite simply that this is advertising at its absolute laziest. I've looked at their website and it's riddled with errors. So much so that I have half a mind to contact them and offer my services.

What other howlers have you spotted?

by Ashley Morrison

Ashley is a copywriter, editor and blogger

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