I couldn’t believe what I just read. Had to do a double-take. Sure enough, my eyes had not deceived me. I was watching Jeopardy this evening. Just between Double Jeopardy and Final Jeopardy, a local car dealership aired an ad. I was playing catch with my dog and only half watching the commercial, but lo and behold, out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw an egregious misspelling displayed on the screen. Certainly not, I thought. No one could misspell the word “across” in this day and age! Oh, but I was wrong. In bold, all caps, the ad declared that this dealership sells cars “ACCROSS” the Carolinas!
Bad Spelling, Bad Timing
You could almost forgive the dealership if they had aired this commercial in the wee hours of the morning or even during a show like The Bachelorette. However, to air a commercial with this bad of a mistake during an egghead show like Jeopardy? That’s as stupid as the spelling error!
I have worked for newspapers and built my share of car ads. I know for a fact that the dealership owner or manager sees every ad that goes into the newspaper. So you know good and well that someone saw this commercial before it went live and no one caught this mistake. That’s why it pays dividends to pay for a proofreader.
So here they are, in no particular order: five good reasons to proofread your marketing materials.
Reason One: Poor Proofreading Makes You Look Unprofessional
Let’s use our hapless car dealership as an example. If an auto dealer cannot take the time to proof a TV commercial, and television commercials aren’t cheap, then how likely is it the company will look after you if you were to purchase a car? Whether that is a fair assessment or not, it is how you will be perceived if you have shoddy sales collateral. Show some pride and professionalism in your marketing materials and you will put on a better face for your potential customers and clients.
Reason Two: Poor Proofing Insults Your Target Market
As previously mentioned, this commercial aired during Jeopardy. How many Jeopardy viewers do you think would go out and purchase a car from a dealership which misspelled a common word during their favorite show? A show which is known for its braininess, I might add. I just got the question right on Final Jeopardy! I think I’ll go out a purchase a car from a company that can’t spell “across” correctly! Not too likely a scenario, is it?
Reason Three: Proofing Errors Make For Good Comedy—At Your Expense
As you can probably tell, I’m having a good time writing this post! However, the car dealership in question, should it find this article through some social media outlet, probably wouldn’t find the writing quite so amusing. In short, everyone involved in the making of the commercial is the butt of the joke. Not that poor proofing is a joking matter, mind you, but anyone and everyone who misspells a simple, common, everyday word on a television commercial will get laughed at, and deservedly so.
Reason Four: Poor Proofing Sends The Wrong Impression
Don’t you believe the auto seller wants to project a message of confidence and professionalism? Even if the commercial is one of those “screaming” car ads, which this one was to a point, the ad should still deliver to its audience a sense that this company knows what it’s doing. You can still have the confidence knowing that, although loud, this company knows its cars and how to sell them! The only thing a misspelled word, in bold type and all caps, projects is that this company doesn’t even care what it airs to the public. How confident are you that you want to purchase a vehicle from such a place? Would you be confident in the warranty? Or the service? Or the details of a loan?
Reason Five: Proofing Errors Make You Look Stupid
OK, had to finish up with this one! Can you think of anything stupider than misspelling a simple, everyday word on an ad which is airing to Jeopardy viewers? Dumb. Stoopid. Not going to sell any cars—at least not to the Jeopardy audience!
No one is saying you need an English professor to look at your marketing materials. I’m sure a PHD in English would have a field day proofing this post! However, you won’t find common English words misspelled in this article, either. In short, use spell check, even for your drafts. Also remember that if you are too close to the subject, you are less likely to see any errors. This is where a paid proofer comes in handy. Yes, it is an added expense. However, it will also keep you from looking unprofessional; insulting your target market; becoming an unintended joke; sending the wrong impression; and looking stupid!