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What’s in a head? A typo of privilege

As an editor, I find it hard to turn off the part of me that zooms in on a typo in anything from a menu to a marquee. Well, I spotted a whopper a few weeks ago in a full-page ad in The Vancouver Sun, which left me shocked at its size and brazen irony.

The four-colour advertisement, by Polygon Homes, featured a sexy young couple, dressed in black attire, as if for an upscale soiree. They stood poised between two fancy, black, wrought-iron gates, which opened onto an immaculate lawn, trimmed hedges and trees, suggesting the entrance to a palatial estate.

The ad was promoting a new real estate development, Mayfair Place, in Richmond, BC as “a collection of Georgian-inspired apartment homes.” The ad copy read that these new homes were “evoking the sophistication of London’s prestigious Mayfair district, in a sought-after location that’s just minutes from hundreds of popular shops and services.”

Okay, I get the message: these places are supposed to be classy, trendy, and full of status power. Well, guess what? Having money and a position doesn’t mean that you’re literate.  (Just ask George W. Bush.) The ad’s bold headline, which appears in at least 48-point type (about a half-inch high), reads “A Priviledged Place.”

When I first read the head, I thought that maybe they were doing a deliberate play on words but no, it’s one giant — and expensive — boo-boo. How many people looked at that ad before it went to print and never spotted this large spelling mistake, exposed in three words on a single line? So much for the power of suave images. The two models in the photo might as well have eggs dripping off their chins onto their polished attire. 

We all make mistakes, I know, but some are bigger, and more public, than others. I wonder what Michael Audain, the boss of Polygon Homes and an art collector who sits on the board of the Vancouver Art Gallery, thought when he saw this all-too-obvious error.

I love the irony of this goof, because it reduces the impact of the ad almost to a spoof, making a complete mockery of its attempt to promote wealth and success.

April 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm
1 comment »
  • April 5, 2011 at 11:57 amFrank McElroy

    Well you could look at it as sort of a stop sign or blinking caution. Something that might get those who would embrace the alleged panache of Mayfair Place as part of their attempt to join the club. Likely not, as those who need it will feed/buy it. Who can judge? We all embrace things, concepts and behaviors which bring us into our comfortable context.

    In the world of spell/grammar/etc. checkers it is hard to imagine that some colored and wiggly line didn’t appear on the computer under and around “priviledged.” Some programs automatically correct for those who either don’t know how to spell or haven’t the strength to page through one of those big fat books that tell you about words. I heard recently that there are such correctional programs for those who make the mistake of texting messages from any number of devices. Apparently the self-correction systems make hilarious mistakes like “Whore Foods” for “Whole Foods” and similar nasty switches. There are at least two websites which document the boners (careful!) of these fun-loving stupid-human-assist-and-intervention systems. Cheers, FLM

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