Showing posts with label proofreading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label proofreading. Show all posts

8/26/2021

Hard Rock Casino: Guns N' Rose ?!?

The Hard Rock Hotel Casino recently sent this email about upcoming entertainment that included a band called "Guns N' Rose".

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino email for Guns N' Roses
Email from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

This is a Fail for Creative, but no worries -- the band is going to make up for this faux pas by playing their new song "Sweet Children of Ours."

Lesson: 
Be sure to thoroughly proofread your communications, including the email Subject Line.

 

8/30/2020

Mr. Cooper: Sloppy letter

This letter from home loan provider Mr. Cooper merits multiple Fails for Creative.

Mr. Cooper home loan offer letter
"Pre-Approval" Letter


The letter opens with a headline reading "You're Pre-Approved* for a New Home Loan." Then, the first sentence after the salutation reads, "Whether you're bying a home or refinancing ...Those two bits of copy don't align, which can be confusing. If Mr. Cooper is offering a new home loan (as stated in the salutation), then why the quick change to refinancing in the sentence immediately following? If Mr. Cooper is offering pre-approval for a home refinancing, why not have a headline reading "You're Pre-Approved for a Home Loan" without suggesting the pre-approval is restricted to the purchase of a new home?

The letter's Call to Action is to contact Mr. Cooper's call center. These days, many call centers are open 24/7. Mr. Cooper's hours, however, are limited to 9-14 hours a day, Monday - Saturday. Fair enough. Home loan purchasing is not like auto insurance, where you might want Jake from State Farm to take care of you in the middle of the night. However, the call center hours are hard to find on the letter. They are located under the company's address, when they would be more appropriately positioned near the phone number the reader would call.

The letter contains several grammatical and formatting errors. Some examples:
  • There are three problems in this one sentence: "Call today to see if your could lower your monthly payment, payoff your home faster, pay less interest or other loan benefits.
    • The diction is incorrect in that a person does not place a phone call to "see" something. A person places a phone call to "hear" or "learn" something.(Had there not been other errors in the same sentence, I might have passed this off as a copywriter's creative style.)
    • The sentence lacks parallel structure in that the reference to "other loan benefits" lacks a verb.
    • The word "payoff" is improperly applied. As written, "payoff" refers to bribing someone. The sentence should have used the term "pay off," written out as two words.

  • In the line listing call center hours, there is an extraneous space at the front of the line.

  • For readability, that same line should include commas after the days of the week, e.g., "Mon - Thu, 7 am - 9 pm CT..."

  • In the opt-out box at the bottom of the letter, the word "pre-screen" is treated inconsistently -- once with a hyphen and twice without.
If potential customers see so many errors in a business's one-page letter, why would they believe the business is capable of properly handing a mortgage application or that the business could accurately prepare required documents for a home sale closing?

In other words, Mr. Cooper needs to clean up his act.

Lessons:
  1. The body copy of a marketing communication should support the headline.
  2. Include your call center hours in context.
  3. Proofread your communications for language and grammar. 
  4. Ensure your formatting is consistent and your letter is visually clean.

5/18/2020

Norwegian Cruise Lines: Come Sail Away With Me!


This is a difficult time for everyone. A pandemic is killing tens of thousands of people in the United States, which is why many companies have pulled back on their marketing efforts. Printers and lettershops are having to furlough employees, while their salespeople are aggressively reaching out to find business and keep their web presses running. The USPS is running out of money due to reduced delivery and -- it could be argued -- legacy costs. 

In the short term, the USPS has issued many alerts about mail interruption, although they may be understating impacts. I recently heard an anecdote from a lettershop that had a large mailing dropping PFC postage that had to be privately trucked to some regional distribution centers and SCFs because the postal service wasn't able to get the mail on airplanes.


But life goes on -- and so does direct mail marketing. In the past 10 days, my family has received marketing mail from a few companies. We received a coupon mailer from CVS. That makes sense. The stores are open and people still need basic medical supplies and sundries. MetLife mailed me a solicitation for auto insurance. Because of the pandemic, we rarely drive anywhere but, OK, we still need to insure our car and save money. 

We received an LL Bean catalog. No surprise -- people still need to wear shoes and clothes. We also received a mailer from locally owned Mojo, offering a "Quarantine Menu" of Latin American-themed food and flavored adult beverages available for pick-up or delivery. That's a smart move. 

However, when I received this 20-page mini-catalog from Norwegian Cruise Lines, I thought, "Say, what!?!
Direct Mail May, 2020
Direct Mail, May, 2020
NCL Cruise Lines
Brochure Covers
Are consumers really thinking about going on a cruise after all the news about cruise ship passengers getting sick and dying from COVID-19, or that more than 70,000 cruise ship employees are still stuck at sea, some killing themselves. In this catalog, the only reference to the pandemic is peripheral. It reads: "Book Today with Norwegian's Peace of Mind And Change Plans As Needed. Learn more at NC.COM/PEACEOFMIND."

It has been more than eight weeks since all cruises were halted. That's plenty of time for NCL and its marketing agency to redo or cancel this mailing.

But does that qualify this mailing as a Fail for Timing? Maybe not. 

Direct Mail, May, 2020
Page in NCL Brochure

The NCL brochure includes pictures of places we'd like to be right now, rather than stuck at home constantly refreshing Instacart and Amazon Fresh to see if we can get a grocery delivery window. Although NCL is currently booking cruises through at least summer 2022, the brochure doesn’t mention dates. Perhaps that’s because some near-term cruise dates are likely to be canceled.


I'm reminded of this article from National Geographic. It describes how, during World War II, some companies advertised brands of products that were not available due to rationing and other wartime efforts. So, why advertise? Because they were looking to the future.
"Yet another reason companies ran ads for goods and services that the public couldn't buy or use was to be well positioned at war's end, when an Allied victory was expected to usher in a new era of prosperity.  
For many Americans, it was hard to imagine a thriving postwar economy after a decade-long depression and several years of obligatory wartime rationing. This gave companies all the more reason to assure consumers that a booming postwar economy was just over the horizon."

Direct Mail, May, 2020, Alaska
This looks like a very cool cruise!

NCL's brochure sells the ability to escape -- pulling strings at our collective aspiration for something better. So, maybe we can't go kayaking on a glacier lake in Alaska this summer. We can believe that we will kayak on that glacier lake someday, and an NCL cruise ship will take us there. 

Nonetheless, the self-mailer does merit a call-out Fail for Creative. The website URL was printed as NC.COM/PEACEOFMIND, when it should be NCL.COM/PEACEOFMIND. Perhaps, in the rush to add the mention, NCL overlooked proofreading.
Direct Mail, May, 2020, invalid URL
Invalid URL on back cover

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay optimistic.

Lessons:
  1. You should not presume to discontinue direct marketing during a national crisis, but you should rethink it.
  2. Always proofread your marketing communications, including late-stage edits. Check and double-check all website URL's.