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The Cringe-Worthy Mistake Many Ad Agencies Make

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Don’t let your campaigns go off the rails.

Here’s something a lot of people don’t like to admit: There’s a world of difference between being a great writer and being a great proofreader.

Your ad agency might hire top-notch talent to create its advertisements, but without similarly high-quality proofreading to back it up, you’re putting yourself at risk of embarrassing mistakes.

The hard truth? Even the best writers make mistakes.

Typos, missing words, homophone errors, and more can easily slip by unnoticed, especially when your creative team is feeling the time crunch of an impending deadline.

You don’t want to catch these errors after you’ve already printed a stack of brochures or submitted an ad.

Don’t Let Your Ad Agency Make These Cringe-Worthy Mistakes

You don’t have to look far to find a listing of embarrassing copy errors.

These mistakes are hilarious—as long as you’re not the one making them. If you’re the company that puts “a tasty contraditcion” on a massive billboard, you won’t be laughing.

Of course, proofreading errors can be much more than embarrassing: They can cost you serious cash.

There’s a famous story about the time Nike lost out on a major endorsement deal with an NBA superstar. The presentation they sent his rep with the intent of courting him had been repurposed from another, previous offer to a different star. Unfortunately, the PowerPoint slide still had the other person’s name on it.

Nothing will make a celebrity turn down an endorsement opportunity faster than feeling like you don’t even know his name.

Nike lost out on potential billions of profit that day, and probably suffered some bruised feelings and tense relations as well.

Here’s another typo that cost a company dearly: A division of the second-largest national bank in Japan, Mizuho Securities Co., tried to sell shares for a recruiting company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The price was supposed to be one share for 610,000 yen.

However, a transliteration error flipped it, and soon investors were snapping up bundles of 610,000 shares for just 1 yen apiece. It took hours for the problem to be corrected, and by that point the company had already lost $340 million. Ouch.

The good news is that you can prevent embarrassing and potentially costly mistakes by working with a freelance proofreader for an ad agency. This is one of those cases where it’s worthwhile to invest a little money to head off a potential major problem down the road.

Don’t Miss: Editing vs. Proofreading: What’s the Difference, and When to Use Each?

Why You Shouldn’t Proofread Your Own Work

When you have a talented team of copywriters on staff, it’s tempting to let them handle their own proofreading. Unfortunately, even the best writers can be unremarkable proofreaders.

Proofreading requires a different set of skills than writing does:

  • Writing stellar ad copy requires creativity, persuasiveness, and a firm understanding of an audience’s needs.
  • Attention to detail and an encyclopedic knowledge of esoteric grammar rules are the foundation of good proofreading.

Some writers have both, but even they struggle to review their own work.

Book publishers have understood this for many years. A manuscript passes through the hands of editors, copy editors, and then proofreaders before making it to print. If publishers don’t trust a single writer or editor to create error-free text, then why would you expect your ad agency’s writers to do any better?

Don’t Miss: Agency Project Management: 7 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Team

We Can Jump In and Help You Today

One 30-year-veteran proofreader for ad agencies tells us, “Advertising agency material is perhaps the most critical in terms of presenting a professional image and avoiding embarrassing or costly mistakes.”

We agree. When you work with Super Copy Editors, a proofreading company that specializes in ad agency work, you’ll know that the professionals reviewing your text are familiar with the specific requirements and stylistic choices unique to ad writing.

You owe it to yourself and your clients to get a fresh pair of eyes on your materials before those materials go out into the world.

Contact us today for a free quote from one of our experienced ad agency proofreaders.

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Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I’m Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than 25 years of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes. At Super Copy Editors, we’re passionate about helping agencies, marketing teams, and education companies refine and polish their text to give them confidence and ensure success. Learn more here.

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