A Monthly Meditation on Branding and Language
From Your Favorite Copy Shop, Editorial Emergency

#49 (May 2, 2011): Time of No Reply

This ish finds your intrepid reporters at risk of being underserved; clicking through the ramifications of reply all; and spilling some curdled communication from the Not Our Clients fridge. Because sometimes the cream sinks to the bottom.

"Poor" Is a Four-Letter Word


"At-risk," "underserved," "vulnerable," "low-income" — all these and more are seemingly used to avoid the word "poor."

A client recently asked which of this ilk I prefer, and I admit I was flummoxed. I did some research and still couldn't find a euphemism for "poor" I was comfortable with. I wondered, "Why can't we just say 'poor?'"

"You have to be very careful when you use the word Ö 'poor' around liberals," cautions blogger Morgan K. Freeberg in an entry titled "The Economy." "Liberals often like to use the term 'working families' to describe these people. But that breaks more linguistic things than it fixes, for very often 'working families' do not consist of families at all, and much of the time nobody in these 'families' is even working."

Read the rest here.

Reply All: E-Mail's Third Rail?

ImageIf your work life is like mine, it involves a great agglomeration of e-mail messages. And unless you have ample free time to contain its bulk, your in-box can come to resemble a shambling Tower of Babble.

Such swelling is often attributable to group gabfests. These may stem from work projects, attempts to plan a vacation for six or spirited post-movie debates (Black Swan: ridiculous, sublime or both?). In any case, maddening reams of unwanted messages often result from the misuse of an apparently innocuous little "button" called reply all.

Unwitting or careless use of reply all spawns much mischief, from the accidental broadcasting of remarks intended for only select recipients to the dreaded "e-storm," whereby an innocent note to the wrong list unleashes wave after wave of indignant, "helpful" and other replies (and risks crashing even capacious servers). More often than not, though, it means a zillion messages reading simply "thanks" or "LOL" or ";)".

Read the rest here.


Not Our Clients: Homogenized of the Brave Edition

Someone at the dairy probably wanted to pay tribute to folks in the armed forces with this well-intentioned copy, but there was a glitch in the chain of command.

Our nation's cowards, meanwhile, continue to go unheralded.

Has your reconnaissance revealed some text that's unfit for duty? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it soldier; if it ends up in our stupefying stockade you'll be enjoying some R&R, by which we mean rock and roll, in the form of an iTunes Music Store gift card. You can use it to download numbers like "War (What Is It Good For?)," "Universal Soldier" and "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore." And make sure your online troops know the rendezvous point: NotOurClients.com.


Editorial Emergency puts words in your mouth.
Assuming you're a marketer, creative, lifestyler, publicist, artist and/or do-gooder
who wants to connect with and persuade consumers.
We've worked for these kinds of clients on this kind of stuff.

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