Mar 30

All for one

I haven’t blogged in recent weeks for three reasons:

  1. I’ve been laser focused on our employees, our clients and our business.
  2. I didn’t feel I had anything to volunteer that hadn’t already been said by countless others.
  3. I’ve been happily immersed in fielding, sharing and interpreting the results of a co-branded survey of 300 senior communications professionals we conducted with The Institute for Public Relations (www.instituteforpr.org). 

Here’s the “Communicating during COVID:19” report if you haven’t already read it.

The co-branded survey is intended to better inform and, hopefully, equip everyone in our field to deal with communications in the midst of chaos.

IPR President Tina McCorkindale and I have already spoken to a webinar audience hosted by COMMbizPro, another one that IPR itself coordinated and a third that will kick/off tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s)  Ragan Communications “COVID-19 Virtual Conference”.

Peppercomm isn’t just sharing feedback for the sake of publicity but, rather, in the hopes the more information PR professionals have at their disposal, the smarter they’ll be in comporting themselves personally, communicating with stakeholder audiences and, critically, identifying TRUSTED sources of factual information and advice they themselves are sharing.

We’re passing along these insights with clients, prospective clients, academics, college & university students and, yes, our direct competitors. We do so because now is NOT the time to hoard either toilet paper or best practices.

Nor is it the time to cede the field to global agencies who possess the breadth and depth to churn out daily COVID-19 updates in their sleep.

This is a time for agencies of all sizes to shine.

We’re very fortunate to be able to partner with IPR but you, too, can find a credible third party with whom to undertake cursory or comprehensive research. Every tidbit of information, no matter how small, will add to our collective knowledge and, frankly, the ONLY thing holding you back from contributing is you.

We are already hard at work in shaping a follow-up survey of CCOs that will be qualitative in nature.  We intend to take a deep dive into lessons learned to date, how the CCO’s role and responsibilities may have changed In the wake of COVID:19 and what senior communications executives see as the implications for the future of the CCO role specifically, and PR in general.

So, a quick note to my fellow midsized and small agency owners: By all means, stay focused on your people, your clients and, of course, business development.

But now IS the time to pitch in and help the entire field by sharing critically important information in the midst of mayhem.

Borrowing a well-known phrase from Aleksandar Duma’s classic novel “The Three Musketeers”, agency leaders should lift their heads out of the sand and embrace an, “All for one and one for all” philosophy.

#SharingIsCaring

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Feb 28

A rose by any other name

There’s bad luck and then there’s the image and reputational hell that’s facing Corona Beer at the moment. 

While the brand is charging ahead with a $40 million advertising campaign, my gut (and that’s a Corona beer free gut, btw) tells me the iconic brew needs to kick back from the bar for a while, suspend all marketing and ride out the Coronavirus crisis.

Based upon the two surveys cited in the article I embedded, beer drinkers are avoiding Corona like the plague (my apologies for the inappropriate pun).

Depending upon how much global carnage the Coronavirus causes, Corona may eventually decide a name change is in order. That may seem extreme but, just like Boeing, the Corona name has become toxic.

That said, undertaking a massive name change and re-branding effort for either Boeing, Corona or both would be like manna from heaven for corporate ID firms such as Landor and SiegelGale (once again proving that one brand’s misery can be another brand’s windfall).

But what say you? Should Corona halt all advertising? Limit worldwide distribution? Or carry on as if the Coronavirus isn’t keeping billions of people awake at night?

And before I conclude, what are your thoughts about Boeing? Should they undergo a name change before re-introducing the forever troubled Super Max 8? Will all of those leaked employee e-mails calling out senior management for putting profits before safety force make the name change a fait accompli?

A rose by any other name may still be a rose but, for Corona and Boeing, the appropriate Shakespearean wording might be a thorn by any other name is still a thorn.

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Feb 18

There’s nothing smart about this campaign

We live in a world of personalized, micro-target marketing that, thanks to artificial intelligence, has become equal parts amazing and appalling:

  • Amazing: Brand X knowing exactly what I buy and suddenly popping up on my IG feed with a way cool product I MUST purchase.
  • Appalling: God knows who else, besides Brand X, has my personal information and what they plan to do with it? 

I mention hyper targeting because I must admit to being left completely dumbfounded (a state of mind with which I’m very familiar, btw) by a new campaign from the fine folks at TD Ameritrade (TDA).

First, click on this link to see their TV spot.

Now riddle me this: To whom is TDA aiming its commercial?

It has to be Baby Boomers since, aside from Steve Carell’s horribly bad 2008 remake of “Get Smart”, absolutely no one under the age of 60 will possibly understand TDA’s lame attempt to leverage a TV show that ran from 1967-1970.

From Gen Z types to Younger Millennials and from older Millennials to Gen X’ers, no one will “get” the subtle comedy thread embedded in the pitch (especially TDA’s use of “Would you believe?” in the middle of the 30-second commercial). For the uniformed, Would you believe…. was Special Agent 86, Maxwell Smart’s, signature line.

Getting back to the introductory paragraph, how could marketers who are armed with mountains of data explaining exactly how to reach younger and middle-aged audiences choose, instead, to play a nostalgia card that no one in their target universe will get (as in Get Smart)?

In closing:

  • Would you believe smart investors will be befuddled by TDA’s tagline, “Where smart investors get smarter?
  • Would you believe egregious target marketing mistakes such as this happen all the time?
  • Channeling Maxwell Smart one last time, would you believe the TDA marketing types are anything BUT smart?

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Feb 06

A Rush to Purpose

I first became aware of corporate America’s willingness to cut corners in order to create a higher purpose at an industry event. 

The guest speaker was former United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz who, when asked how he planned to avoid the beleaguered airline’s spate of constant high-profile missteps, said he had it all figured out.

“This past weekend I created our corporate purpose. It will assure we won’t repeat past mistakes,” he said.

One could hear the moans and groans from the CCOs, academics and agency leaders in the audience, all of whom knew one does NOT create a higher purpose over a 48-hour time frame.

I share this anecdote because I believe it’s a key reason why a new survey shows only 27 percent of consumers can name a purpose-driven brand!

The shockingly low awareness level is, in my opinion, a direct result of the veritable stampede by organizations everywhere to tick off the box that reads, “Create corporate purpose.”

As a result, many such statements look the same, sound the same and include the same watered down, warm, fuzzy and, frankly, altogether forgettable phrases.

Mix in countless examples of purpose-washing in which a company boldly proclaims a purpose that fails to reflect how it operates in reality and is outed by a key stakeholder for doing so, and you have the answer as to why 78 percent of consumers don’t know your organization is purpose driven.

When it comes to purpose-washing in particular, we’ve helped many a client walk back a purpose until it’s been stress tested.

Case in point: One company was determined to lead with diversity and inclusiveness for their higher purpose.  After all, the company was about to introduce their services to several urban markets. But a quick look at the leadership team and board of directors on the corporate website revealed not one person of color in the entire group.

There was no doubt in our minds the client would sustain a serious backlash for not delivering on their higher purpose. As a result, we advised them to delay their launch until the C-suite and board better reflected the communities they intended to serve. FYI, Peppercomm’s Jackie Kolek provided tips for how companies can avoid making unintended missteps in a recent LinkedIn post.

Segueing back to creating a higher purpose, I interviewed 15 CCO’s for a co-branded research report with the Institute for Public Relations (www.instituteforpr.org). As a result, I know the very best examples of crafting a meaningful corporate purpose take months, if not years, to come to fruition.

In each case, the CCO’s with whom I spoke included the views of internal and external stakeholders before answering the fundamental question every corporate purpose should address: Why does the organization exist?

My personal favorite was Lowe’s which, after a lengthy process, declared their higher purpose to be, “Helping people love the homes in which they live.” Lowe’s delivers on that promise every day in multiple ways. And it’s the reason why employees are proud to work at Lowe’s. It’s a purposeful purpose. And I’d be willing to bet a year’s supply of lumber that most Lowe’s customers know the retailer is purpose driven.

So if you’re about to create a higher purpose, do yourself a favor: Slow down, include input from all relevant constituents and be sure you can live up to that purpose every day in every way.

If you already have a corporate purpose but haven’t yet stress tested it to ensure it rings true across all audiences, do so ASAP.

A rush to purpose can be a one-way ticket to anonymity, antipathy and, very possibly, anger.

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Jan 23

When comedy goes one step too far

Sometimes comedy can be used in the wrong way. In fact, I’m often asked by fast track executives during our comedy workshop how to determine whether comedy is or isn’t appropriate in a business setting. I always answer by saying, “Take time to get to know your audience ahead of time. Determine their tastes and personalities as well as whether the organization has a track record of embracing comedy in its culture.”

That’s why I’m questioning what I see as a textbook example of how NOT to use humor to change a buyer’s consideration set and engender a warm and fuzzy feeling at point-of-purchase.

I call your attention to the new Planters Peanuts Super Bowl campaign. As you’ll see, Planters has decided to either kill their iconic, 104-year-old Mr. Peanut in an automobile accident or as the very creepy Tweet suggests, have him commit suicide.

Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I’ve reached out to Maggie O’Neill, our resident pop icon expert who has promoted the likes of Webkinz, the Maytag Repairman and, Cowabunga Dude, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’ve also asked Clayton Fletcher, a professional comedian and Peppercomm’s Chief Comedy Officer to provide his POV.

  • Why do you find this campaign funny or offensive?

Mags: I find it funny – but understand the concerns.  Why funny?  Well first it was unexpected.  I haven’t seen Mr. Peanut in a while, and I had no idea he was hanging with Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh.  The tone of the ad is not very serious, so you know and understand going in what to expect.  Some naysayers are concerned that Mr. Peanut killed himself or the ad turns its back on mental illness.  I don’t see either.  I see a brand that took a chance in “killing off” its beloved (debate there) character, has started a conversation around something we have not thought about in a long time and changed the conversation about peanuts from banned food to stay-tuned for what’s next.  It works, and the execution is funny. Afterall, it’s the death of a peanut in a fire.  Can anyone say Roasted Peanut?

Clayton: I think it’s a simple case of misguided creativity. The company didn’t want to announce the retirement of their iconic spokesman with a simple press release or in some other boring way, and I respect that. However, making death funny is not easy to do, and this ad doesn’t do it.

  • This appears to be a classic one-off campaign aimed solely to shock people and make the brand (Planters) stand out in our world of information overload. What’s the line between smart and strategic shock and awe vs. simply being offensive?

Mags: This is just the beginning. A funeral in the third quarter of the Super Bowl?  Planters has more up their sleeve if they are investing this kind of money, time and taking this chance.  The character is over 100 years old.  I don’t think its going away so easily.  That said, if Super Bowl LIV (54) is the last we hear of Mr. Peanut, well the campaign accomplished a few things Planters has not done for me in the past.  (1) It got my attention (and everyone else’s), (2) it opened the door to something new for the brand after 104 years, and (3) once I saw the ad (the Tweet was a bit odd if you saw it first), it made me laugh.

Clayton: In the sense that taking this risk gets attention, the ad’s a success; for example, Repman is blogging about it! I don’t think there’s any shock value here, but an irresponsible flippancy toward a subject that causes people grief and sadness, even depression. Not shocking, but not what we want from a wholesome company like Planters either.

  • Assuming they didn’t do so, should Planters (and their ad agency) have first screened the campaign with mental health experts, families of automobile accident victims (40,000 Americans die on our roads every year according to the National Safety Council), loved ones of those who have committed suicide (over 47,000 Americans end their lives every year according to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention) or is nothing sacred in TrumpLand?

Mags: I assume this went through many considerations.  Maybe not a screening, but I don’t know. There is a small disclaimer on safe driving at the onset, so they did give it some thought.  That said, there is nothing in here about mental health once you watch the ad.  When I first saw the Tweet I was more concerned over the mental health issue.  But Mr. Peanut ultimately dies as a heroic sacrifice hanging on a branch with two celebrities after his Nutmobile goes over a cliff.  Yes, it’s funny.  But I was also less concerned.  They could consider a donation to a mental health charity or a distracted driving foundation as part of his funeral – in lieu of flowers.

Clayton: I’m sure a test was done, but I doubt the specific groups you mention were included. This is a tough area for me, because as a comedian I know taking risks is often the only way to find real comedy gold. Creativity itself must not be hindered, but part of the comedian’s job is to present the creative idea in a way the audience can enjoy. I feel this ad agency (who clearly isn’t comprised of professional comics) stumbled into “don’t try this at home” territory, and it rings morbid and insensitive. Not the tone I’d expect from a legume retailer, and I wish they’d take this one off the shelf. The late Mr. Peanut would have wanted it that way.

So, what’s your take? Funny or offensive? This part-time communicator, part-time comedian would like to know.

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Jan 13

Memories of a Founding Father

Our country had Washington, Adams and Jefferson. My profession had Arthur Page, Ivy Lee and, most certainly, the recently deceased Harold Burson

I’m not a “Burson Person,” but I have two special memories of him nonetheless. The first concerns the amazing firm he built. The other recounts my memories of a remarkable two-hour lunch with the beloved Burson.

I first became aware of Burson-Marsteller’s existence a lifetime ago as a freshly minted account executive at Hill and Knowlton. From day one, I and the rest of the H&K juniors were continually reminded that we were the biggest and best PR firm in the world.  As my boss described it: H&K is Tiffany’s. Everything else is Filene’s Basement.

But that all changed one spring afternoon in 1980 when the entire New York staff was ordered to gather in a cavernous conference room.

After we’d settled in, our distraught CEO announced, “O’Dwyer’s has just released the rankings and we are no longer number one. Burson Marsteller is. That is unacceptable and it will change. We are implementing two immediate strategies: a brand refresh (yawn) and a decision to actively begin pursuing new business.”

The latter statement really hit home.

H&K had always prided itself on never soliciting clients, instead haughtily deciding if a prospect was “H&K worthy.” 

But after Burson blew by us, every new business prospect suddenly became H&K worthy. And within a year or two, H&K had begun its long downward spiral, while Harold & Co. rose to ever loftier highs. The decision by one firm to target and pursue companies it wanted to do business with versus another that pitched virtually anything that came in the door was a lesson that would stick with me in the years that followed.

My second anecdote involves the only time I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Burson and after I’d established my own agency.

One of our newer employees, who had recently left B-M to join Peppercomm, arranged a lunch for us with the legend.

When we entered the restaurant, Mr. Burson rose from the table, extended his hand and said, “I’ve really been looking forward to meeting Steve Cody for quite some time.” I was shocked that he even knew I existed. 

He continued: “I’ve been following Peppercomm’s success for quite some time now.” Not knowing what to say, I mumbled, “Gee, thanks Mr. Burson.” Naturally he asked me to call him Harold, but I felt like I was in the presence of a giant and couldn’t imagine calling him anything else.

Mr. Burson sensed my nervousness, leaned in and whispered, “I’m proud of everyone who succeeds at my firm and in our profession, but there’s a special place in my heart reserved for entrepreneurs. Only we know the exquisite highs and devastating lows of starting from scratch and lying awake nights worrying if we’ll be able to meet the next payroll or not.” I cannot tell you how much his words meant to me. 

Mr. Burson proceeded to answer every question I fired at him (including why he represented tobacco companies). “I believe every legitimate business deserves representation,” he said.

Then, typical of the gentleman he was, he wanted to hear more about Peppercomm and what we were doing differently. I mentioned that one of things we insisted upon was sitting in on a client sales executive’s “pitch.” I told him I felt it enabled us to hear the unfiltered voice of the customer rather than having it interpreted by marketing communications executives. 

He smiled, leaned back and said, “I always insisted on the very same thing. And we did it. But we don’t do it anymore and I’m not sure why.” I never expected that sort of candor

After two hours, we shook hands and promised to stay in touch (which, sadly, we didn’t). But as I left the restaurant that day, I remember saying to my Peppercomm colleague, “I feel as if I’ve just been schooled in the art of war by George Washington himself.”

There will never be another Harold Burson. But I’m privileged to have spent those 120 minutes at the foot of the master and will honor his passing with these memories and a reminder to apply their lessons in my own life.

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Jan 06

Tom vs time

– “My life sucks. Everything hurts,” said Jim Plunkett, one-time Heisman trophy winner and Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. 

– “I look in the mirror and I say, ‘Who are you?’” Tony Dorsett, NFL Hall of Fame running back.

– Earl Campbell, another NFL HOFer and, arguably the most punishing running back ever, has had both knees replaced, endured five back surgeries, severe arthritis, foot drop caused by nerve damage, spinal stenosis and is in and out of rehab for a recurring addiction to Oxycontin. Yet, Campbell says he’d do it all over again if given a chance.

I submit these horrific examples of what a career in the NFL can, and will, do to players because the ageless Tom Brady finds himself at yet another crossroad.

Tom Terrific isn’t concerned about ending up like Plunkett, Dorsett, Campbell or thousands of other hapless former NFL greats because, according to Mark Leibovich’s seminal 2018 expose on the NFL, “Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times,” Brady relies on TB12 to ward off CTE and every other body-destroying injury a career in pro football will most assuredly produce.

If you’re not familiar with TB12, it’s Brady‘s home grown fountain of youth formula that assures sustained peak performance through a combination of pliability work, hydration and no coffee, and a bunch of other New Age remedies. (Note: Check out “Tom vs Time” on YouTube. You’ll not only learn all about TB12, but also hear Brady’s wife, Giselle, voice her concerns about long-term brain damage).

Brady attributes TB12 to his consistently high performance but, this blogger asks the obvious question: When will Father Time finally catch-up with the greatest quarterback in NFL history?

Who knows but, based upon his Saturday night press conference in which he addressed the Pats being upset at home by the visiting Tennessee Titans (an unthinkable occurrence in years past), Brady’s already hinting at playing yet another season.

I guarantee he will return for another season.

Here’s why:

1.) There is NO substitute for the ego rush and sensation of being the idol of millions of Pats fans. No matter what Brady does when he finally hangs up the spikes, he’ll never again be able to revel in the Messiah-like adulation he now enjoys (which, btw, is what led to the sad demise of Muhammad Ali. Fan worship was Ali’s heroin and, not content to be the ONLY three-time heavyweight champion, he repeatedly subjected himself to terrible abuse in his final years in the ring).

2.) Brady is a winner. No other NFL QB comes remotely close to matching his stats. And winners like to go out on top. He’ll be back for the 2020 season in an attempt to win one final Super Bowl.

After word: Brady’s desire to hang on when he should hang it up is in no way limited to the NFL or the sports world in general.

I’ve witnessed aging executives in the wild and wacky world of PR either fall asleep in critical meetings or, having lost track of the conversation, ask a question that was answered 10 minutes earlier.

Whether QB’ing an NFL team or a PR firm, ya gotta know when to say when.

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Dec 20

How Bad Can it Be? BAD

I’ve always believed the very best publicity in the world won’t help if your product, service or organization provides a sub-par user experience.

As you’ll read in today’s guest blog, Peppercomm’s very own Jacko Kolek recently suffered through a text book example.

PLEASE share your customer experience(s) from hell tales. It sets the perfect tone for the holidays. 😎🚀

+++

I’m always up for a weekend getaway or a trip to the beach.  When booking a hotel, I religiously check the online reviews and as long as it’s clean and safe, its fine by me.  I never spend much time in a room anyway, so my mantra is “how bad can it be?”  Well, a recent stay at the Hotel Pennsylvania has made me rethink that motto. 

The online reviews of the Penn were fine. Nice staff, clean room and great location. Some recent reviewers even gave it five stars. Given it’s the holidays in NYC, the room was a pricey $500/night so it had to be decent, right? Wrong.

Let’s start with the check in, which was complete and utter chaos.  A line snaking around the lobby made security at JFK airport look like a walk in the park. The self-check-in kiosks didn’t work and there was no one around to ask questions or provide support.

Once we finally got our keys, things got worse.  The “Security Guard” was asleep at his post and the hallways were a disgrace.  Carpeting was worn and ripped, the walls were scuffed and paint was peeling from them.  The door to my room looked like it had been broken into and the handle was chipped and askew.  There is quaint old and there is gross old and this is just plain old gross.

And then the room.  Where do I start?  Dirty carpeting, stained and chipped furniture and smudges on the walls.  The towel bar was broken in the bathroom and there were no towels.  The bathroom floor was rusted and the shower was chipped and dented.  Oh, and the sheets were stained.

Where did these reviews come from?  They couldn’t possibly be from people who walked the halls of this hotel.  This experience has made me not only question my laissez faire approach to booking accommodations, but the value of online reviews.   Clearly in this case they were false and the owners of this fine establishment should be ashamed of themselves.  Sooner or late this will catch up with them.  Bottom line, you can fake an online review but you can’t fake an experience.

Have you had a hotel horror?  Share your stories with us.

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Dec 10

Beware of third person people

I first became aware of third person people while watching the egomanical Reggie Jackson brag about his exploits throughout the late 1960’s, ‘70s and early ‘80’s. 

Whenever he was interviewed after hitting a walk off home run, the superstar would always begin by saying, “Reggie was expecting a fastball outside in that situation so Reggie simply hit the ball where it was pitched. Period.”

“Seinfeld” beautifully captured the absurdity of the third person self-brag in the classic “Jimmy” episode in which Jimmy inspires George Costanza to begin referring to himself in the third person.

I mention Reggie, Jimmy and George because it was one year ago today that our Peppercomm new business team pitched Clyde Tolson (not his real name, but FBI aficionados should make an immediate connection). Clyde was a third person person.

Clyde was the CEO of a fast-growing, deeply funded software company that was in search of a strategic public relations partner. Clyde’s CMO invited us to travel to Austin to pitch Clyde and the business.

When I asked if the prospect would be willing to share the travel and hotel costs I was told, “Clyde doesn’t believe in that. If you want Clyde’s business, you’ll demonstrate it.”

That should have told me all I needed to know but, frankly, last December was a lean month and we were hungry for new business.

Fast forward to pitch day. We were told by the CMO that we’d have one hour with Clyde and to be sure to leave time for Clyde to ask questions. Duly noted.

We arrived a half hour early and were ushered into the conference room. We sat for 25 minutes before the CMO and a consultant who was managing the agency search entered the room.

The CMO said Clyde would be a few minutes late.

Fast forward another 25 minutes. Enter Clyde, stage right.

Clyde introduces himself, tells us to begin our presentation but added, “Clyde needs his lunch first.” So we watched as Clyde’s personal assistant entered the conference room carrying a silver tray containing Clyde’s bowl of soup and a glass of sparkling water.

Clyde ate as we rushed through our truncated pitch deck.

At the end, Clyde said, “Clyde needs you to understand that ANY PR effort is about Clyde first and the company second. Got it?” Apparently Clyde had his sights set on running for political office in 2020.

We nodded and rose to shake Clyde’s hand as he left the room.

The CMO and search consultant said we’d done a great job and thought we’d answered Clyde’s questions thoroughly.

When I asked how soon they’d make a decision, the CMO replied, “Yesterday. Clyde wants to get going right after the first of the year.”

Well, guess what? We never heard from the CMO, the search consultant or the legend-in-his-own-mind Clyde. We called. We e-mailed. We prayed. Nada. Radio silence.

We’re still waiting for someone at Clyde’s business to extend the common courtesy of telling us WTF happened.

Repman thinks Clyde was on a fishing expedition and wanted ideas from unsuspecting agencies like mine. Repman thinks Clyde never intended to hire a firm.

Repman sees this as a cautionary tale that extends far beyond the business world. Caveat reader: Beware of anyone who refers to herself/himself in the third person. Life is far too short to feed the oversized egos of others.

Do you have any third person tales you’d care to share? Repman would love to hear them.

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Dec 02

The decline and fall of the English Language

I wanted to share a list of recent assaults on the English language published by BuzzFeed and headlined, “23 Spelling Mistakes That Are So, So Dumb But So, So Funny”.

While I agree they are indeed so, so funny, I also find them so, so sad. 

It’s a sadness I’ve witnessed firsthand over the years as I’ve read blatant assault & battery crimes on spelling and word usage from past employees, recruits, vendors and, yes, even clients.

Here are just a few that made me laugh and cry at the same moment:

  • “Let’s stop going back-and-forth with the lawyers and end this rigor morale.” Happily, I caught this horrendous mistake before it reached the client. Our self-proclaimed “writer as a hobby” account supervisor (who left long ago) had butchered the word rigmarole and turned it into two words that, due to spell check, were readily accepted. I quickly called this would-be Hemingway aside, explained her mistake and stressed the need to first research words and phrases that were foreign to her. God knows if she listened or is causing even more rigor morale wherever she is today.
  • “I broke my teeth on media training!” A bold, if painful, response blurted out by a top executive to a prospect who had asked about our media training credentials. While the executive in question may have taken an inadvertent fall during a prior training session and dislodged some front teeth, methinks she was actually looking for the phrase, “I cut my teeth on media training.”
  • “Our proprietary system takes the grey matter out of measurement.” One can only think the synapses in this man’s grey matter weren’t firing correctly the day he uttered this abomination. Otherwise, minus grey matter, how could one even create a proprietary measurement system in the first place?

Sadly, I’ve read many other truly painful misspellings and abuses of the English language. And, it just seems to get worse with each passing year.

Many blame Twitter and texting as the root cause. I blame the toxic combination of individual laziness and a primary and secondary school system that no longer stresses the importance of mastering spelling or writing skills.

None of this would matter if one were, say, applying for a minimum wage job at Wal-Mart. But committing such atrocities in the PR/marketing world is a sure-fire way to limit one’s career path.

Or is my blog just another example of rigor morale?

Btw, PLEASE post any examples you can add to the list. I’m planning to write a book with the working title, “The Decline and Fall of The English Language” and need all the help I can get. Truth be told, I’d rather not break my teeth looking for content.

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