This absolutely thrills me!

I’m a little more impressed with than even I was before.  Not only did they respond to me, but they responded personally, thoughtfully, and promptly!  Check it out:

Dear Mrs. Chili,

Thank you for your compliments on our mission and also for your thoughtful feedback regarding the grammar in the Virginia Madsen ad.  We subscribe to Google Alerts, so we saw your blog entry on this subject as well.  Despite getting a bit of bad press on your blog, I actually think it’s great that you are such an energized and engaged contributor to the public dialogue on education.

I do know what you mean regarding the grammar in the ad.  At the time of that ad’s completion, we were working with an award-winning advertising agency that was responsible for writing the copy for all our ads.  We did question the sentence fragments during the proofing process, but the agency told us that it’s standard in the industry for ad copy not to follow the traditional rules of English grammar.  An example of this argument can be found here: 

As an English major myself, I admit to feeling annoyed at the erosion of good grammar and word usage perpetuated by pop culture, but the trend of casual copy-writing seems to be well established in the ad industry.  We decided to “trust the experts” on this one.

As for the “me’s”, I find that to be a tough call.  It was a direct quote from Virginia Madsen, so we had to find a way of putting it to paper.  The concern with writing simply “mes” is that people might have thought it should be pronounced “mess” and not know what to make of it.  While I realize this plural of me is neither possessive nor a contraction, there honestly did not seem to be another way to successful convey the quotation in writing.

Thank you again for getting in touch, and best of luck with your teaching.


Lauren McCollum
Editorial Director
10 East 40th St., Suite 1900
New York, New York  10016

Isn’t that GREAT?!  I mean, yes, the ad is still being run with the rotten grammar, but there’s something comforting to me in knowing that SOMEONE over there choked a bit on it before they put it out into the world.  Now, if we could just get people like Lauren to work in the ad companies, we’d be much better off trusting the experts.

Thanks, Lauren!  I very much appreciate that you took the time to answer, and that you did it in such a considered, thoughtful way.



Filed under about writing, admiration, success!

8 responses to “NICE!

  1. Very cool that you got such a thoughtful answer, and even cooler that you’re such a grammar guard dog! Git r done, Mrs. Chili! (How’d you like that grammar? *tee hee*)

  2. bowyer

    This is an instance where an organization can make a stand. They pay the ad agency, not the other way around. If is not comfortable with the ad copy then they have the right (and the responsibility) to refuse it and then direct the agency to write copy the way they want it. This ad copy still represents them poorly in the world of education even if it is “industry standard”.

    “That’s how it is done in industry.”, does not exonerate the people at from representing themselves, and teachers, well. Unfortunately many people buy in to lame cop-outs like this. The number of wrong-headed decisions made in the name of “This is how its done.”, or “Well, we have always done it this way.”, is shameful. I hold in no greater regard after presenting you with this paltry excuse for standing up for themselves and the image of educators everywhere.

  3. Glad to hear that you got a response, but I have to agree with Bowyer. They should have figured out another way rather than simply going with the poor grammar because it was the easy thing to do.

    Regarding your comment about communicating, I’m up for it. Email me at and we can chat.

    Seniors….. where do I even begin?………grrrr!

  4. Totally the wrong email address there…. that one was a combo of my work and home emails….

    This one will actually work.

  5. I read that PSA ad copy. Their argument does not ring true to me. I can understand using sentence fragments where you are short of space or on a “graphic” or more picture oriented ad. However, that copy looks as if it is supposed to be a paragraph, and a bad one at that.

  6. Ooh. *** raising hand *** I have an idea for Grammar Wednesday. Some modern magazine titles are driving me nuts (Real Simple and Cooking Light). Cooking Lightly? Ha ha. Have you done this yet? Am I the only one annoyed by it?

  7. Now, hang on a second, folks. I NEVER said that Lauren’s letter made me okay with the horrendous grammar in the ad. I STILL think that the ad is horrible, and for exactly the same reasons I stated in the letter. Bowyer, you are (as usual) abso-freakin-lutely right; THEY are paying the ad company and they had both the right AND the obligation to make sure that the ads they pay for accurately reflect who they are and what they stand for. They dropped the ball on this one, no doubt, but I’m still loving the fact that I didn’t just get a form letter thanking me for my comments.

  8. Oh, Seester – this bugs the ever lovin’ CRAP out of me! I actually subscribe to Real Simple, and I cringe a little bit every time I get a new one (even though I’m always excited by its arrival). I’d be SO much happier if they just put a little backslash in between the words; I’d have no problem with the title “Real / Simple” – it’s real, and it’s simple, no problem. I’m not really sure how I’d solve Cooking Light’s grammatical issues, but I don’t get their magazine, so it’s not really on my radar.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s