Subbing the world

Righting copywriting wrongs, one word at a time

Experience Corner: Stapling

Since I announced the launch of Experience Corner, the contributions have been flooding in. By which I mean that, just as you have one flood, I’ve had one contribution.

Luckily, it’s from the ever-dependable Nick Asbury. My original post inspired him to see if even the most mundane of products got the ‘experience’ treatment. And he hit the jackpot immediately:

Stapling experience

Yes, popped up top of the Google results for ‘stapling experience’.

However, I was in two minds about allowing this into Experience Corner. After all, undeniably mundane as stapling is, we are talking electric stapling here. This is much more than the squeezing of leaves between two manual jaws, and hammering down with the heel of the hand. This is rapid, dependable stapling at hitherto unimagined degrees of accuracy and efficiency.

As Rapid Electric Stapler points out breathlessly, ‘People can staple non-stop with the help of these electric staplers.’ He (or she, it’s not clear) then goes on to reassure us that:

This technology has reduced the worries of people regarding stapling.

And we can all be grateful for that.

Is it so hard, I found myself wondering, to believe that the sheer physical pleasure of deploying an instrument such as the Stanley Electric Stapler might well be sufficiently overwhelming to warrant the name of experience?

Indeed, is that over-used term not perhaps too meagre for the transfiguring, Damascene encounter that occurs when one moves from antiquated manual labour to the electrically-powered thrust and fold of those precise steel prongs? Do we not demean this near-religious passion by including it rather sarcastically in our so-called ‘Experience Corner’? I fear that perhaps we do. I am ashamed.

The last words must be left to Rapid Electric Stapler, that anonymous champion of the powered paper-fixing device:

[In] today’s cutthroat world of business one must keep abreast with evolving technologies and embrace it to make their business a success.

How true. How true.


Filed under: Experience Corner

Burger in a bum?

Copywriter Jim Davies recently sent me this picture for the blog:

Anus burger sign

It seems like prime meat for my mincer, to be sure. But too prime to be true? I wondered. I googled.

Another anus burger

(Found here)

To lose one critical G, to paraphrase that famous Lady, may be regarded as misfortune. To lose two looks like carelessness.

But three?

Another anus burger sign

(Found here)

Or four?

Bacon & Cheese Anus

(Found here)

By now I’m starting to assume some sort of Photoshop japery. After all, it turns out not to be just McDonald’s:

BK Anus

(Found here)

In fact, an ‘anus burger’ search on Flickr gets a whole host of results.

So is it real, or fake? This blog and this one seem to take the ‘typos’ at face value. And there seem to be so many. Who would bother to keep Photoshopping the same, fairly limited, gag onto dozens of shots?

Maybe they’re the real thing after all. I like to assume that rather than being symptoms of stupidity, they’re symptoms of boredom and mild rebellion by teenage McJobbers, trying to find some fun between scraping the oven and ‘You want fries with that?’

Filed under: Typos

Spelling is not among them

Pubic schools

I mean, honestly. Thanks for tweeting this, Nick.

Original on AdFreak.

Filed under: Typos

Not the world’s greatest offer

Barratts offer sticker

Passing Barratts in the Westfield Centre yesterday, I spotted this poorly worded sticker.

It doesn’t sound all that amazing, really: two shoes would appear to be, to quote one of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s finest moments, ‘the minimum requirement’.

But at least that’s an excuse to remind us all of some truly masterful writing, here performed live at some indeterminate point in the Seventies:

Filed under: Confusing

Let's start with this blog. The name's just not right, is it? It's much wider than sub-editing. It's just as often about words that are technically correct, but tonally all over the place. Oh well. Anyway, please feel free to send me your own examples of horrible copy (but please, no more erroneous apostrophes): mike[at]


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