When Advertisers Get It Wrong, Especially You, California

Some of you may have seen this picture circulating on social media recently. It’s particularly worrying that it’s an advertisement for an educational establishment…

Education poster

You just think “Really? Nobody noticed before it went out?” However, Salesian College in Farnborough probably doesn’t have a particularly large advertising budget. But what about the California Travel and Tourism Commission? They presumably have a pretty significant advertising budget, they are after all representing a whole state. They probably spent a pretty hefty sum of money on this advertisement in 2011 trying to encourage people to visit California. Do you remember it? It was shown on TV here in the UK, and no doubt in many other parts of the world too. Overall I think they did a pretty good job of making California seem like a fun place to visit, but why did none of the people involved in making the ad spot the big fail in the very first sentence:

If you’re not inclined to watch it right now, the first sentence is “People have a lot of misconceptions about California, but none of them are really true.” Hmmm. Anybody see what’s wrong with that? Some people blamed Kim Kardashian, the utterer of those words for the error, but that’s probably a little unfair, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t responsible for the script. Although having said that, she is reading a book about Quantum Physics in the ad, so you’d think she’d have been able to spot and point out the error in the words she was being asked to say.

What about this one, on the first reading all seems well, but give it a minute, think about it…

Action banner
Presumably they’re using some kind of brain washing tactics?

This next one isn’t strictly an advertisement, but a sign printed on a shop door. A friend posted it on Facebook and added the comment – “That’s a bit mean, considering they are working for charity and everything!” –

Shop dog sign

He was of course referring to the bottom line, which if you can’t read properly with the glare says “No dogs accept guide dogs.” Ha!

And finally I must give mention to supermarket giant Sainsburys who blundered in a different way here in the UK last week when they accidentally put a poster up in the window of one of their stores that was clearly meant to be posted only in staff rooms –

Sainsburys 50p poster

It says “Let’s encourage every customer to spend an additional 50p during each shopping trip between now and the year-end.” I have to say I was a little shocked by this. I guess I must be somewhat naive, because whilst I understand that businesses are of course always looking for ways to get customers to spend more, I didn’t think they would be so brazen as to produce a poster about it like that. Makes me wonder what kinds of methods the staff will be using to encourage this extra 50p spend on every shop. Any ideas?

Have you spotted any advertising blunders lately?


53 responses to “When Advertisers Get It Wrong, Especially You, California

  1. Good evenin” my sunshine ………… , And, my love,
    I feel your kisses
    The touch of your lips
    All I have ever wanted
    Obsessed with your kisses
    Is to be a part
    Of your lips
    Of your kiss
    Your soft kiss
    Your sweet kiss
    Your gentle kiss
    Forever and ever… ❤ ❤ ❤


  2. Not recently, but there was a billboard on a major highway leading into downtown Richmond (capitol of Virginia, so kinda big deal) that had a big cartoon turtle and said:

    Help your business get out of it’s shell!

    UGH. I called the billboard company over that one, I couldn’t believe that! I had to pass it every day and it made me cringe each time. It was there for months. Wonder why they had a problem selling the ad space?

    (yeah, I am the typo queen recently, but I don’t make a profit off writing for others either!) 🙂


    • Misuse of apostrophes is particularly annoying for some reason isn’t it! We all make typos, but as you say, we’re not trying to make a profit out of writing for others, plus our writing doesn’t tend to get passed through several people before being published!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thinking Richmond is the state capital as opposed to its capitol. And it’s actually a commonwealth and not a state. But I digress…yes, I’m being a bit of a turd. Sorry. Given the topic I thought it might be acceptable. Probably not.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Boy it took me a long time to figure out what was wrong with the California ad. Must say, I’m a little embarrassed. LOL. I wonder if that’s the way they wanted it? No I’m sure not.


  4. One concern should be that many of these errors shouldn’t be happening after (oh, let’s be generous) 6th grade.
    Companies should stop offering excuses and fire people. No salary/pay for bad work or errors. (But that might be considered bullying or hurt someone’s feelings?)
    Snort. And shiver……


  5. Hahaha, a big “oops” to that last one.

    I heard about a high school a few years back that sent out graduation invitations with the school’s name on them. They got the name right, but they followed it with “Pubic High School.” CNN had some good laughs sharing that one. Luckily it was a small town, and they easily corrected it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d like to comment but I’m afraid I’ll make a spilling error.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stuff like that is always very entertaining–and sad. I saw one once that was a sign with an arrow for a “shcool.” Awful. Shoot. Did I see that on your blog? Well, if so, it was memorable!


  8. Can’t think of any off hand … but living in Africa we do have some classics…


  9. I must not get out enough. I don’t see any errors, but I live in a smallish town in Canada. Or I just don’t pay attention? Nah, I just don’t get out enough lol
    These are just sad, really sad. People get paid good money for making these errors? I need a job like that! I could make a fortune! 😉


  10. Kim Kardashian reading Quantum Physics is just silly. I see a lot of errors in major online websites, mostly news. More so than I ever did with the hard copy newspapers.


    • I know, I bet they were like “Oh let’s get Kim to read a book about Quantum Physics, how hilarious!” You’re right about the websites, it’s all just about getting it out there quickly, it just seems like they’re not bothered about quality!


  11. Vanessa, you can except the odd error or to here or there, some are quite subtle, but fun with it. Apostrophie’s in the wrong place always make me laugh though.


  12. Vanessa what a great collection and an interesting first comment as well. 🙂


  13. That first one is a killer! Though, I have to confess, it took me a while to spot it, and that’s with the scribbled correction in the corner. Hmmm. Let’s just blame auto-correct for our inability to read and spell, shall we?? 🙂


  14. I used to work in PR. My favorite campaign was a promotion for Camel cigarettes. Do you remember Joe Camel? A cartoon designed to get kids to smoke. Anyway…they went to area beaches and passed out rubber flip-flops for free. Embossed on the bottom was the image of Joe Camel and the Camel logo. They left an impression in the sand. They were called ‘camel tracks.’ I saw photos of beaches COVERED with Camel logos. Pretty brilliant. Pretty insidious.


  15. I love these bloopers. I look for them all the time. Haven’t seen any recently, but when I do, I’ll post them! 🙂


  16. I can’t remember now which university it was, but last year one of the most prestigious journalism departments in the US had a typo in the diplomas of all its graduates. Oops!


    • Oh dear. It must always be so much more embarrassing for places like a university!

      I’ve just remembered another good one we had over here a few years ago, one of our biggest travel companies put out all their brochures with a big splash on them saying “One week for the price of two!”.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Excellent catches. Each issue of Consumer Reports magazine always has a page of various gafs that made it into the public eye … Yes, we laugh, but they are also headshakers.


  18. Love these. The ad for the university made me cringe, especially since they are apparently trying to attract people to be teachers. I’m curious; how did Sainsburys respond to the publicity?


  19. As for that last poster, “Would you like fries with that?” – Not sure how different McDonald’s is in the UK but that’s their famous catch phrase here in Aus. Apparently the Big Mac has the lowest profit margin and fries have the largest. Hence the prompt to buy fries.
    Then there’s extended warranties.
    And in petrol stations when buying the supposedly low-margin petrol, it’s always “Would you like a [really expensive] chocolate bar?”
    Can’t think of any actual ad blunders but there’s always the unintentionally inappropriate placement of ads in newspapers beside stories. Eg, a news story about an elderly driver colliding with a childrens playground next to an ad for driving lessons or an optometrist…


    • Yes, both those things you say about McDonalds, and the petrol stations are the same here, trying to add something else to what you’re getting. Still not sure about a supermarket though – they don’t tend to offer you extra things at the till, well they have things on display at the till of course to tempt us, but they don’t tend to ask if you want something extra, so I’m not sure what method they would use to encourage the extra spend, except maybe if you’re asking for help finding something, then they could seize the opportunity!

      Oh yes the misplaced ads are classic!


  20. These are great examples of public blundering. I can’t think of any right now, but I know they’re out there, waiting to be spotted!


  21. Pingback: 16 People Who Can’t Spell To Save THERE Life – BuzzGlobal

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