My Horrible Print Ad, circa 1984

Ad for North Carolina Economic Development

It’s an ad about education. Please, oh please, no typoes!

I just wanted to follow up my previous post about blogging – and how it’s not the end of the world if you occasionally make mistakes. Try to avoid them, of course. But don’t let the fear of mistakes keep you from posting content that’s vital to your strategy.  Most online mistakes are fixable. 

Above, you see an ad I wrote for the North Carolina Economic Development campaign a long, long, long time ago. (Sorry for the low quality photo. I don’t have a digital original, or a large format scanner. So you’re looking at a iPhone 3GS photo. Ouch!)

The ad ran, but there was a typo. Can you find it in the vignette below?  

Body copy from North Carolina Economic Development ad

I bet a few relocation executives had a nice little chuckle over an ad that boasts about the education of “North Carolinia” adults.  

Point: In the print world, you ought to pore over every detail to make sure you don’t embarrass your brand with typos, poor grammar, lapses in syntax and so on. Print can last forever; you may only get one chance to get it right. 

In the digital world, you should definitely maintain high standards. But don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.  (Thanks, M. Voltaire.) If you’re paralyzed by perfection, you may not be producing as much content as you should. 

Other than the misspelling, not such a bad ad, huh?



6 thoughts on “My Horrible Print Ad, circa 1984

  1. I totally, totally love the quote. We’re really paralyzing ourselves with the expectation of perfection; it’s all or nothing, no in between. One mistake, fired; one error, fail. We can’t be 100% ‘on’ all the time, we know that but the daily practice of that flails in the public eye.

    Once worked with a designer who trained me to get clients to sign off – in writing – on the actual working proofs each step of the way. Because OUAT she had a client once miss a typo. Of their own name. On the cover. Ouch! FWIW.
    Davina K. Brewer recently posted..Please don’t change MY Twitter

  2. Yes, the more eyes the better–the ‘Paris in The
    The Spring’ conundrum. Draft a kid!
    My most famous typo was when I was a client and I signed off on 20 New York Air newspaper ads one midnight (this was about 1983 or 1984…funny to think you were working on Piedmont at that time) and I OK’d a transposed reservation number. BOY did I get it the next day from my boss. It was ‘think of all the lost calls’–true. I taught myself to slow walk that part and do a read check against a list with the A/E or anyone I could collar–walk away, and do it again.

    • Great to have you here, Donna. Boy, you DESERVED to get in trouble! 🙂

      I’m constantly amused that this typo lived an anonymous life until I discovered it many years later. I mean, it wasn’t a glowing tribute to North “Carolinia” education.

      At McKinney, Silver & Rockett we had a unique system of art direction. There was a studio full of young budding art directors who sliced and diced the galleys before sending it out for reproduction. This was way before ads were made on Macs, and the only control over word and letter and line spacing was an Exacto knife.

      So each word, and sometimes each letter, was separately waxed onto the final product. It was very easy for a letter or two to get misplaced.

      Remember the smell of that spray glue we used to use to put comps on the styrofoam boards? I think that’s where my brain cells went!

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