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!

Jan 282009

I admit I’m no English grammar expert, so perhaps I’m speaking out of turn here. But I believe if you’re going to put a marketing message in front of millions of viewers, you should go through an intensive enough review process to make sure you get it right. So, yes I’m a stickler for grammar, and I can’t help that when used incorrectly in an overt fashion, it negatively impacts my impression of the offender. In my view, large corporations should be embarrassed when they repeatedly make highly visible mistakes, especially with seasoned copywriters and editors on staff.

Have you watched a movie on TBS or TNT lately? In the lower left corner of the screen in large letters, the phrase “More Movie, Less Commercials” is periodically displayed throughout every movie. I cringe every time I see it. “More Movie, Fewer Commercials” is the correct phrase.

I’m sure Turner’s writers refer to a trusty style guide when drafting copy, but perhaps a 7th grade English grammar book should be on the desk as well.