I’ve recently found myself editing papers and looking at heaps of copy. Which has reminded me of the importance of writing. Which then lead me to re-read (for a countless time) Zinnser’s On Writing Well. If you don’t have a copy, you should. Regardless of what you do. Get a copy on Amazon.
Recently, two stories have caught my attention that remind of the importance of proofreading. And that spell-check, while nice and convenient, is not the be-all end all.
The story itself is not a cheery one. But the headline printed in the local Eugene Register Guard But the headline borders on shockingly absurd and reminds us of the need for good proofreading. And it reminds us that spell-check has become a taken-for-granted crutch that apparently doesn’t always work well.
“Man Charged with Threatening to Bomb State Office Sign over Typo”
This story is exceptional. It gets even better and goes beyond the sign with this:
The man also complained that the instructions he downloaded to make his pressure cooker device contained misspellings, Chamberlain said.
Just proof that it’s always a good idea to proofread before submitting/sending/printing/distributing. You never know who might be reading.
So I’ve been watching the series of Macy’s commercials on TV for a while now, showcasing the goods and the stars, including Trump, Martha Stewart, Usher, and Tim Gunn. Interesting commericals, and I definitely appreciate the message that they’re trying to communicate… and it seems smart for the company as well – at a time when they’re buying out other department stores, Macy’s could use something to differentiate it from everything else. And in today’s competitive market, there’s minimal differences in quality and product – it comes down to image, persona, and spokespeople. Which Macy’s doesn’t seem to be short on.
This week, the Downtown Portland Macy’s is holding a big grand re-opening extravaganza, kicked off by a gala of sorts that took place last night, with the main re-opening happening tomorrow (friday). I’ve been hearing the spots on the radio for the past few days, and I’m happy to hear that they’re somewhat keeping in line with their “Only one star can bring all these stars together” promise.
Over the course of the weekend, the Portland Macy’s will bring in celebrity chefs Tyler Florence (you can read his blog about it here) and Govind Armstrong (Table 8, as seen on Top Chef), among other stars I can’t quite recall.
I have to say that, although it is a “grand” re-opening, it’s still nice to see Macy’s attempt to carry the same persona they’re portraying in their TV spots all the way to local stores.
So in efforts to avoid everything I have to do and practice my procrastination, I was flipping through the newest issue of I.D. (The International Design Magazine) when I stumbled upon this:
I generally despise excel, even though I realize it has it’s place. But this stuff actually makes me like it. you can see a bit more on this page, but it’s worth taking a look around all of Danielle Aubert’s website. Very cool stuff. And anybody that can make excel do things for good and not evil is my hero.
In my regular deviations from the seemingly pre-determined path of an advertising major, I decided to enroll in a course entitled Re-vision of the Earth (or Earth 2.0, as some have taken to calling it). To kick it off, we’re reading Charles Lyell‘s Principles of Geology, a revolutionary geology text from 1830. While much of the text isn’t what I’d choose to read on a Sunday afternoon, there are some incredibly interesting passages which seem to apply to things outside of the science of geology, like – dare I say it? – advertising. Contemplate the following passage, excerpted from Chapter 5, Vol. 1:
“It is only by becoming sensible of our natural disadvantages that we shall be roused to exertion, and prompted to seek out opportunities of discovering the operations now in progress, such as do not present themselves readily to view.”
I wish I could say stuff that sounded that good. And meant that much.
Read this book. “But that looks like a cookbook!” most exclaim after googling it (nobody really needs links anymore… google takes care of it… but I gave it to you anyway). In my brain’s best Nick Frost a la Shaun of the Dead impression, it replies, “F^çK Yeah it’s a cookbook!” while my mouth replies, “yeah. it looks like a cookbook. trust me. read it.”
Seriously. A while back, I wrote about exposing myself to stuff that wasn’t really advertising. or anything like advertising really. Nigel Slater’s Apetite is just that. It makes you think. It makes your mind strong. There are tons of lists of “creative” or “inspirational” books out there – incredible books by the likes of Gladwell, Sullivan, Aitchison, etc. Those lists are pretty easy to find. It’s the other stuff that isn’t. Read this. It’s worth it. And it’s the one cookbook everybody should have – even people who don’t ever plan on cooking for themselves.