Creative Bites: Suzanne Pope

02: creative bites, creative bites | Portfolio Night 8 Admin |




Finish this sentence: “Kids these days…”

“Oh, I’m so glad and so sorry you asked this question. So glad, because it really does need answering, and so sorry because I know thousands of eyeballs will soon be rolling backwards in their young owners’ skulls. Yes, I absolutely agree that the quality of your ideas is by far the most important factor in getting and keeping a job in advertising. But because I figure everyone else here will be dealing with that point in one way or another, I’m going to devote my space to something that seems trivial by comparison. Here goes: Kids these days don’t worry nearly enough about spelling and typos.

“Twenty years ago, we lived in mortal terror of letting an ad leave the agency with any sort of mistake. That’s because film separations were done by hand, and an ad that needed to be redone could cost the agency thousands of dollars – which in turn could cost us our jobs. Today, work can be corrected instantly, and people spend as much time reading lolcat captions as they do Standard English. The consequence of all this is that being fussy about spelling is regarded as symptomatic of pedantry or anal-retentiveness or something else that’s equally unattractive. Now, you might not care about spelling for its own sake, but since you’re an ad person, I’m sure you care about the brands you’re hoping to build. You learned in your advertising courses that your brand must present itself consistently wherever and however it appears. (You did learn that, didn’t you?) So, unless your brand stands for not giving a fuck, you really should pay attention to spelling and typos.

“Imagine an ad that speaks at length about the obsessive care that goes into a brand of automobile known for its precise engineering. Now imagine that the ad contains a spelling mistake. Your reader, who might have been swept up in your message just moments before, suddenly disengages because he knows he’s being lied to. And your client, who trusted you to be a sincere ambassador for his brand, is now calling the the account director to say that he never wants to see your smirking hipster face again. There’s a good chance your creative director will share that view.

“If you’re attending Portfolio Night, you’ve probably had little or no contact with real clients or projects or copy decks. Or maybe you’re not even a copywriter. It doesn’t matter. Paying attention to copy still gives you the opportunity to show that you instinctively know and care about the things that are important to your prospective employers. By being fully and visibly responsible for all aspects of your work, you’re giving your creative director one less thing to worry about. And that counts for more than you might think.”


  1. ad scribe says:

    Awesome post, Ms. Pope. The English language seems to be dying a rapid death in this time of email, Twitter and the like. It’s okay to break the rules of grammar, if it’s for effect. (But at least learn them first.) Misspelling is never okay. Ever.