Branding, Business, Communication, Conversational Copywriting, Freelancing, Listening, Marketing, Preparation

Warnings and Bad Copy…

Thoughts From the Porch: Several years ago, when I could stay awake past the ten o’clock news, I used to watch Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. He had a segment of the show where he read ads and articles that probably weren’t edited well. They tended to have a far different meaning in print than the creator originally intended and generated a ton of laughs. I often wondered whether the resulting faux pas’ were poorly edited copy or intentional little pranks by bored writers.

I stopped by our local QuickTrip gas station to fill up my truck yesterday. I noticed the advertising sign above the pump touting their breakfast pizzas and burritos above the pump. Nothing special really – that is until I read the small warning print…

ALWAYS READ THE SMALL PRINT!

I’m not sure what ‘rooster peckers’ are or why they feel a need to warn me about them. I am sure that I won’t be buying any breakfast food at QuickTrip anytime soon. Above all, I’ll be more attentive to reading food labels. ‘Rooster peckers’ in my food is, well, disturbing…

I filled the tank and went on my way. Unfortunately, I’ve been obsessing on ‘rooster peckers’ ever since. I’m not entirely sure this is the kind of brand recognition the marketing department wanted to create. What is a ‘rooster pecker’ anyway?

I decided to research this matter further. Was this a required FDA warning? Why the ‘pecker’ wording? It’d make more sense if it said rooster beaks. That would create a whole other round of questioning. You know, why only rooster beaks and not hen beaks? Does someone determine the sex before they ship the eggs out?

I googled ‘rooster peckers’. I googled the warning. All I learned is that roosters do not have ‘peckers’. I’ll let you think about that…

I’ve been trying to determine how this warning came about. I don’t know anyone with ‘rooster pecker’ allergies. Once ‘rooster peckers’ are in my food I’m unclear as to the damage they could cause. To be honest, I’d be okay if I wasn’t aware of their presence. Now, I’ve seen some strange warning labels, mind you. I’m sure extremely bored bureaucrats have come up with a few just to inject humor into an otherwise, ugly business. I’m beginning to wonder if some QTmarketing employee decided to have a little fun with their work as well. I’m not so sure management would find it humorous.

I left QT with a good laugh, absolutely no appetite, and a keener eye for detail in my writing. Humor is a great tool, but it must be used wisely.

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