It happens to the best of us. You check and you check, but sometimes a typo gets through.
In the old days, there was a dedicated group of people called proofreaders. Masters of spelling and grammar, these folks worked hard to make sure that no mistake made it to print. But that was a long time ago. Today, most copywriters have to proofread their own work. (Or maybe an assistant rubber stamps an OK on the layout.) And the result is more errors making it into the outside world.
Which would be ok if it wasn’t for the Letter Writers. This is another dedicated group of people who make it their business to send letters to a company whenever they see a typo. I have seen some of these letters, and believe me, they are not meant to be helpful. They are meant to prove that the letter writer is far superior to the idiots who work in the advertising biz.
For example, I once saw a headline that was supposed to read, “Bread at its best” get printed as “Bread at it’s best.” Now that’s a pretty bad mistake. But I think we call all agree that it was a MISTAKE. Unfortunately, I saw a file filled with letters that the client received. They all said that same thing. “Was your ad supposed to say, “Bread at it is best”? Yup, that’s what we meant to say! We not knows how to speaks correctlies!
Now I am not saying that it’s wrong to point out a typo. People point out mistakes in this bog all the time. (In fact, that was the inspiration for this post.) And I even have friends who email me when they find a screw-up (Hi Laura!). The problem with the Letter Writers is not that they point out the typos, but that they point them out to the client! Some clients take this shit very seriously. And it can hurt someone’s job.
P.S. Knowing my luck I am sure that this post is filled with typos. Since I am my own client, feel free to find them all.