Whether you like to admit it or not, there is something in all of us that really enjoys watching those blooper shows. Maybe it’s the misfortune of others in comical situations or just knowing what is coming when the guy on screen doesn’t that appeals to us. Whatever the reason, we find blunders funny.
This is also true in the world of copywriting…so long as it isn’t our writing that is catching the beating.
Here are some examples of humorous copywriting mistakes within recent history that are certainly worthy of a laugh, but likely got someone in deep trouble.
Air Canada’s Baggage Mistake: Air Canada made the mistake of labeling baggage with a message reading “This Baggage Has Been X-Rated at Point of Origin.” Of course they meant X-Ray but that doesn’t make the mistake any less damaging.
One Word Missing from the Bible Gives New Translation: Granted, this isn’t recent history, but still an example of a glaring typo. In 1632, when the King James Bible was given a new edition, the printed omitted a very important word: “not.” As in, “Thou shalt commit adultery.” For a while, some of the masses were rumored to have gotten quite excited.
University of Wisconsin’s Identity Crisis: Proud graduates of University of Wisconsin were given diplomas with a glaring error in 1988…namely the name of the school. But hey, we hear that a degree from University of Wisconson s just as prestigious.
Yuck, Australia (and shame on you): A cookbook publisher was fined $18,500 for a grievous error. This is an error that clearly makes no sense, as we can’t imagine any pasta recipe that would ever call for “salt and freshly ground black people.” No matter where you are in the Outback, that’s uncalled for.
Comet’s Unbeatable Prices: Oh, the difference a decimal point can make. In 2002, Comet’s online store was having a great sale…although, probably unintentionally. For a period of time, you could get hi-fi Aiwa for £8.43. This is an especially great sale when you consider that the product was usually £84.00. The error cost Comet quite a bit of money even though the mistake was corrected rather quickly.
What are some errors you have seen in copywriting that blew your mind? Share them in the comments below.