Adidas, there’s no U in Colombia!

Adidas, there’s no U in Colombia!

Proof reading and checking spelling are basics in PR, something that is done every day. Spelling is such an easy thing to get wrong. Some would argue whether it really matters? Does it? Of course. A simple spelling or grammar mistake has the power to bring a brand to it’s knees through causing offence, changing meaning and looking unprofessional.

This month global brand Adidas made a spelling blunder on their latest advertising campaign. Adidas have a lucrative sponsorship deal with Colombia which includes supplying club kit for the Copa America, an international football tournament in the United States this month. Despite the five year partnership between the brand and the country, Adidas spelt Colombia with a U.

You can’t help but feel for the people that created this, read it, probably re-read it and signed off on the final copy. A one letter mistake that changes everything and offends a whole nation.

Adidas went straight in to crisis-mode and swiftly removed the offensive advertising and issued the following statement: “We value our partnership with the Colombian Football Federation and apologize for our mistake. We removed these graphics and are quickly installing new versions today.”  Honest, concise and apologetic, a great crisis statement.

From a PR perspective Adidas have done all that they can to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. Let’s hope the Colombian Football Federation and football-supporters of Colombia are feeling forgiving.

The PR lesson is a clear and obvious one. Always check the copy yourself, get as many people you can to proof it and always refer to books and Google if in any doubt. A good tip that was given to me was to avoid approving copy in a rush, take your time, mistakes are harder to correct once they are out there in the world for all to see. I find it best if I leave something over night and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Read more about this situation and different media perspectives here:

One website has found a twitter user who wants to take their revenge by supporting ‘Abidas’, the knock off version of Adidas, that is apparently popular in Colombia. Read the article here at remezcla.com.

Have you made any PR or advertising spelling mistakes that you are willing to share? What do you think about this one? Do you think Adidas have done enough to remedy the situation? Share your take on the situation in the comments box.

Grammar is important, don’t let it be a cat ass trophy!

Grammar is important, don’t let it be a cat ass trophy!

Grammar is important. But, you already know this. You already know that a grammar mistake can damage a reputation, a book, an advert, a press release and misconstrue meaning and cause all-round mischief if you get it wrong.

The problem is that it is too easy to do especially if you have a long day at work, a deadline or an incomplete knowledge of the rules. I’ve been caught out by every single one of these!

Grammar shit

The best piece of advice I could give would be to get a couple of books (for those times the internet fails you!) and take them to wherever your office may be. Google your grammar query but also make sure to double check it with relevant literature to avoid American based spelling and grammar mistakes (Yes, ‘to Google’ is a verb now!).

If you’ve done all of that you could always ask someone to proof read it, preferably someone with excellent grammar. Then there are the times when you just need to put space between you and what you have written. If you have the time,  put what you have written away and come back either a few hours or a full day later. It’s funny how giving yourself a bit of space away can allow you to look at something with fresh eyes again.

For those of you writing in a PR agency, somewhere with multiple clients or an organisation, make sure you look at the client’s own particular style or house style.

Grammar Police

Communication is dependent on delivery. Grammar and language are entwined. Grammar is essential to convey your message in the way you intend it to prevent it from being misinterpreted at the other end. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, grammar is important in every role you take.

Good Grammar

(P.S. I may have got some grammar incorrect in this, no one is perfect! We can only try our best. If you do get grammar wrong, try not to beat yourself up, learn from it and move on.)