May 112009

Snap3So I’ll start off by admitting that I’m in a bit of a funk today. I don’t have much of an explanation, except that it’s Monday. The weather’s actually quite nice for early May in New England.

Right to the point. I have two beefs, and I’m going to cover them together, because neither is worthy of a post on its own.

My first one re-visits Starbucks’ pricing. I’m already bitter that not all Starbucks (e.g. airport locations, Barnes & Noble stores) accept my Starbucks card (yes I understand why), so I pay 40 cents extra for soy milk. Today, I ordered a tall latte with an extra shot (a regular tall has only one, so what’s the point?) and I realized I paid the same price as a grande (which has 2 shots), except a grande has quite a bit more steamed milk. I looked more closely at the latte pricing and noticed that adding a shot to a grande makes it more expensive than a venti (which has 3 shots and also a lot more milk). Yes, I’m familiar with the concept of volume pricing, but in principle the regular price you charge for a larger size should at the very least be higher than the price for the smaller size. Why? Forget business sense. Because if you don’t follow this common sense principle, consumers are bound to be bitter once they figure it out.

The other one strikes a chord, because it relates to a personal pet peeve I’ve already blogged about twice in my Turner Broadcasting and BMW posts. Pepsico already has egg on its face over the Tropicana fiasco. And now, a chief marketing pitch for the new Gatorade drink G2 has an obvious grammatical error (see Google search results image at top). The page and tons of other ads are plastered with the phrase “Less Calories” (instead of “Fewer Calories”). This should never have made it past even the most junior copy editor. Truly embarrassing!

Mar 232009

BMW bannerBMW should learn a lesson from Turner Broadcasting’s recent gaffe. Two month’s ago, I blogged about the incorrect English used in the prominently displayed message “More Movie, Less Commercials” on all TBS and TNT home movies. This message has since been removed.

Well, it seems BMW (a German company with a huge presence in the U.S. to know better) needs to retake the same 7th grade grammar lesson. Featured in the top banner on the BMW main home page is the following phrase “Less emissions. More driving pleasure.” Of course “Less” is incorrect in this context and should be replaced by “Fewer” or “Lower.”

Some might say you really can’t count emissions, so “Less” is appropriate. To those, I would argue that they are using the term “count” too literally. We can certainly measure the number of grams of CO2 a car emits, just as we can measure the number of calories we eat. Surely you don’t wish to argue that “Less Calories” is grammatically correct…

I just don’t get how a brand that is so refined and meticulous with its engineering, styling and design can be so sloppy in its marketing. Without a doubt, this one of the most heavily trafficked pages on – the first page people visit when coming to the website – and therefore the company’s first opportunity to make an impression. (Actually it shouldn’t be among the most frequented pages, as I’d expect BMW would cookie me and automatically redirect me to the USA site for future visits, especially if I’m connecting via a U.S. IP address, but we’ll leave that gripe for another day.)