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October 30, 2008 / davebirss

When Copywriters go bad

Aaaargh! Look at this offensive crud that I spotted in Marks & Spencer today.

This is the worst kind of thing that a Copywriter can ever be asked to do. I should know – I’ve been that Word Monkey in the past. It’s when you’re asked to use words to say absolutely bugger all but make it sound as if you’re saying something – because the client wants to cynically cash in on something that they’re not really doing. In this case it’s green stuff – which I feel pretty strongly about.

Let’s pick the statements apart one by one:

  • “Our goal is to make sure our key raw materials come from the most sustainable sources available to us.”
    It’s not that they’re making sure that they’re being sustainable at all – it’s just their intention that at some undefined moment in the future they’ll do something. And not even do it with any effort – just using the sources at hand rather than actively seeking out really sustainable sources or demanding that their suppliers meet a new, more stringent standard. Piffle!
  • “By 2012 we’ll aim to ensure that none of our clothing or packaging needs end up as landfill.”
    More greenwash. They’re not going to ensure this at all. They’re only going to aim to ensure it. Which means that something might actually happen at some point after that. And by calling them their ‘packaging needs’ they’re seeing them as a necessity when they should be looking at ways of reducing or eliminating their packaging. Poppycock!
  • “We’ll help customers to choose healthier lifestyles through clear labelling and easily accessible information”
    So Marks and Spencer are trying to take credit for what is in fact a government packaging regulation. And they’re still going to sell harmful crap to people – but they’re no longer responsible because they’re writing about it somewhere on the pack or the shelf or on a webpage on the arse-end of their site. Boulderdash!

I know M&S have done some great stuff in the past. I’m pretty sure they were the first big shop to only use freerange eggs. I just get annoyed at such greenwashing crap. And I’m unfortunately seeing more and more of it these days. Grrrrrrr.


Leave a Comment
  1. james / Oct 30 2008 1:17 pm

    this is not just a marketing bluff. it’s an m&s marketing bluff.

    visit us and this weekend to get three empty promises for the price of one.

  2. Asi / Oct 30 2008 3:23 pm

    Tell about them here:

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