Subbing the world

Righting copywriting wrongs, one word at a time

Wagamama slips up on the pavement

Wagamama pavement ad

What is it with restaurant brands and question marks?

This ad, applied to the pavement near the Westfield Shopping Centre in London (or to give it its official title, The Howling White Desert of The Soul) is one of those examples where punctuation really does alter meaning.

Imagine someone pointing out a hairstyle and saying, ‘Fancy having your hair done like that?’ That sounds fairly positive. It sounds like they’ve spotted something they think might work quite well for you.

‘Fancy having your hair done like that,’ sounds a bit different. Not quite so positive now. Like Mary Whitehouse spotting a mohawk.

Fancy a big brand like Wagamama making such a basic mistake.


Filed under: Punctuation

6 Responses

  1. So is that a silent W in wagamama – hence the ‘an’ ligature?

    • reedwords says:

      Ah – yes, that caught me out for a while too. In fact, it’s an imperfectly printed ‘at’ (if ‘printed’ is the right word – I think these things are pressure-hosed into the grime by the looks of them). But that only reveals another, quite separate, problem with the campaign.

  2. Mina says:

    Sprayed thro a stencil I’d say. Very street cred…

  3. I completely misread that one. I thought you could get “fancy” seating outside. Whatever that is.

    • reedwords says:

      Crikey, perhaps you’re right. Maybe if I go up to Wagamama, I’ll find them all lounging around on Louis Quatorze chaises longues. Hadn’t thought of that.

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