Marketing speak needs to break the rules to stay fresh

Being a stickler for grammar is inappropriate when judging marketing copy (Letters, DW 9 February). It has to communicate messages in a tone of voice that conveys the brand. So, if the brand stands for creativity and independent thinking (as in the case of Apple Computer), then it’s right for it to play fast and loose with grammar. Mistakes should be sanctioned if they distract from the message, but let’s not upbraid writing that breaks the rules appropriately.

As a copywriter, I’m often told the tone to use by the brand book, which gives guidance on which grammatical rules you can break. It used to be common for clients to correct copy if you started a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’. Now they encourage it. It’s closer to how people speak and creates a warmer, more approachable tone.

Playing with rules can make copy more engaging and give old words fresh meaning. That’s why poets do it so much. Being clear and correct just isn’t enough. Writing – especially for marketing communications – needs to be fresh, if it’s to persuade. ‘Ice scream’? I love it.

Barnaby Benson, London SW2

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