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

#60 (July 2012): Heavy Metal Blunder

In this issue we put our money where your mouth is with our inaugural tagline contest; lead you to a clearer sense of the difference between "lead" and "led" (which will help you avoid a potential communication breakdown); and map a major mistake from the Governor of Michigan.

EE Presents the "My Favorite Tagline" Contest

"Just Do It." "Got Milk?" "It's Everywhere You Want to Be." "Think Different." "Stay Thirsty, My Friends."

A powerful tagline (even if, as in the case of the penultimate example above, it puts an adjective where an adverb should be) does much of the heavy lifting for a brand; it communicates something fundamental, in just a few words, about what that brand stands for, what its associated products and services can be expected to deliver, and what occupies the space between the brand and its target.

Some taglines strike us as pure music ("Nothing Stops a Bullet Like a Job" is one of the brilliant slogans from Homeboy Industries. We also love "No Rant, No Slant" from public radio station KPCC-FM). Others, well, strike a more discordant note: The Hollywood Bowl's potentially scatological "A Story in Every Seat"; the National Endowment for the Arts' "A Great Nation Deserves Great Art" (P.U.); Edison's "Because Electricity Is Different" (different from what?). As far as we're concerned, when it comes to hitting the branding ball, these swing and miss.

We here at EE spend more time dissecting taglines than we care to admit, and we've decided to share our preoccupation with you. Announcing the first-ever Editorial Emergency "My Favorite Tagline" Contest. Here's how it works: Submit your favorite tagline to our Facebook page (if you haven't already, you'll have to "like" the page) by August 31, 2012. It can come from a radio spot, a billboard, a Web banner — as long as it's publicly visible. We'll select a trio of semifinalists and ask you to vote for the winner. The person who submits that winner will receive a $100 Amazon.com gift card (Amazon.com: " ... and you're done").

May the best tagline win.

Flash Card: Lead, Led and Led Zeppelin

"Though neither is a parent, the two equated their time on 'Ruby' to the demands of caring for a newborn, as lack of sleep lead to irritability and short tempers."

I suspect whoever edited this passage from a feature on the film "Ruby Sparks," starring screenwriter Zoe Kazan and her boyfriend, Paul Dano, was also suffering from sleep deprivation — it should say "led to irritability and short tempers," of course, not "lead to irritability and short tempers."

If even the copy editors at the Los Angeles Times are misspelling "led" as "lead," what are the rest of us poor slobs supposed to do?

Read the rest here.

Not Our Clients: Re-Route 66 Edition

Ah, a fancy invitation from the Governor's office. How they must have fussed over the wording and presentation and — d'oh!

Just turn left at Cambr99idge Street and you're there.
(We're grateful to Sally Rubiner for directing us to this one.)

Golly, we hope no guests got lost trying to find Ox66ford Road. You'd think somebody in the Gov's office might've taken a gander before sending out this embarrassment. Darn these budget cuts! But as long as you're driving through nowheresville, why not view our Not Our Clients collection of roadside curiosities?

Have you been addressed by an error, goof or gaffe that left you feeling lost? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . If we decide to include it in our dire directory, we'll send you an Amazon.com gift card, redeemable for a copy of M Is for Mitten: A Michigan Alphabet; the Pocket Oxford American Dictionary; or the Rand McNally Lansing Street Guide.


Editorial Emergency puts words in your mouth.
Assuming you're a marketing, branding or communications pro
who wants to connect and persuade.
We've worked for these kinds of clients on this kind of stuff.

In case of editorial emergency, break glass and call ...

(818) 273-4115
e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
surf: www.editorialemergency.com
send checks: 7841 Rim Canyon Road, Sunland, CA 91040

Explore our monthly e-zine, Editorializing,
in the privacy of
your own in-box.