The Daily Mail’s ironic typo about retail store Typo…

If you ever needed more evidence of the disease being spread by the content marketers, just read a typical content marketer’s content or “curated” online publication.

The mistake these cyber-hustlers perpetuate is summed up by this phrase “I type, therefore I am….a copywriter”. The “experts” peddling content marketing claim “everybody writes”. Well sorry to state the obvious, but it’s simply not true.

Everybody types, but not everybody writes.

Here’s a headline running today, in the curated online “news” site The Daily Mail.

Parents ‘disgusted’ after finding swear words on books candles and beach towels in popular stationary shop on display in front of children



I’m no grammar dude, but any primary school child knows the word stationary means “standing still, not moving”. Just like the brain of the article’s author.

Anything referring to writing materials, books, pens etc is known as “stationery“. The easy way to remember it is “e for envelope”.

Here’s a clanger by BigW – sent to me by a colleague who wants anonymity. And the company wonders why it’s standing still in terms of growth?


And here’s another typo I noticed in the Qantas magazine last week.


The subhead says “Epson have it in the bag“.

The last time I looked Epson was singular, while have is plural – in layman’s terms.

The subhead should read: “Epson has it in the bag”.

Mistakes like this are everywhere. An application I read for a marketing role requiring writing skills, included the following: “Unfortunately, motor accidents do happen, with thousands hospitalised in Queensland due to road traffic crashes each year.”

The subject of this sentence is “motor accidents”. How do thousands of motor accidents end up in hospital each year?

Maybe Confucius should be taught in schools? Here’s what he had to say about communication:

If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.

This gives me an idea. Given the B.S. being peddled by the content marketers, maybe content marketing should be rebranded. Just call it “helpless confusion” as that’s how it makes most intelligent marketers feel…


  1. Not to mention the use of your instead of you’re on the stationery item itself!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. I completely agree. But just to throw a spanner into the works as commenters are bound to do, does it matter? I find that clients who can’t spell or have a grasp of grammar pay more. And come to think of it, I can’t even spell commenters. It is underlined with a red squiggly line. Should that be commentators? Oh what the hell, I’ll hit submit and see what happens….

    • You’re right Ian, there is a lot to be made from today’s marketers, as so many don’t know what they don’t know. And as my old boss David Ogilvy said “speak the language your customers speak” – or something similar. Though I do like to think people make an effort to get it right – otherwise we’ll all end up babbling incoherently to each other…

  3. Bingo Mal!

    Editors appear to be an extinct species and correct English expression is sadly heading the same way. Is it actually taught in schools these days?

    My pet peeve is the constant newscaster reference to “after” an event. Viz these SMH zingers – “A man believed to be in his early 30’s died after being electrocuted…” “Teen killed after shark attack…” “Dozens injured after supercar smash…”

    Even Auntie ABC, once the bastion of The Queen’s English, is so afflicted. Sadly, mature newsreaders who should know better, blithely read news intimating that hapless accident victims died twice…

  4. Lovely sign at work the other day: “The stationary room has been moved to L1 M8 walk-in room. Apologies for any inconvenience”. Room briefly not stationary.

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