Clients have no idea how to write, and here’s all the proof you need…

In response to Jo Marshall’s response (DW 17 March) to my letter about clients writing copy, I must strongly disagree – clients can’t write.

Clients write things like “The third movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony is heart-renderingly poignant.” Or how about “As the managing director of [guilty party withheld], you will no doubt be aware that…”. Maybe you prefer “The new range have been designed…”. Or there’s my all-time favourite, “We strongly recommend that designers should not use the colours yellow or red for food packaging.” Is this really true? Will you tell McDonalds and Coke, or shall I?

If they weren’t client-written, then the copywriters responsible should have been shot. Not to mention the myriad failures to use apostrophes correctly, to spell correctly (discreet when they mean discrete, independant, millenium), the use of Capital Letters For No Apparent Reason, and many other mistakes, all of which prove conclusively to me that clients should stick to getting things on the shelves. Then they should leave getting those things off the shelves to us. And that’s not arrogance – it’s 17 years of hard won experience.

Dennis O’Neill

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