Today is an important day.
You might have seen it mentioned on television, or on the radio, or elsewhere in the news, and there’s been quite a hubbub around it on Social Media. Certainly, for us here at Maple Street, it’s a day we feel we want to promote.
It’s National Proofreading Day.
National Proofreading Day, celebrated annually on the 8th March, promotes the importance of mistake free writing. It’s also, more importantly, a fantastic opportunity for #brands to do some #marketing!
So, today, we’re doing one of those PR stunts that ostensibly raises awareness for a cause but is actually, fairly transparently, raising awareness for us!
Here at Maple Street, we’re promoting National Proofreading Day by misspelling every bit of copy we write between 9 and 5.30 on the 8th March.
Every advert will be misspelt, every tweet grammatically inaccurate, every podcast script will be a car crash of misplaced apostrophes and incorrect capitalisation!
Will it make our lives more difficult? Yes!
Will it provide a substandard service to the people who rely on us? Yes!
Does it promote exactly the kind of behaviour we’re supposed to be opposing? Yes!
But don’t worry, it’s a satirical joke.
Today is also, perhaps less importantly, International Women’s Day – a day to promote the cultural, social, political and economic achievements of women, as well as considering how far we still have to go towards true gender equality.
It’s a tricky one for brands to get involved in, no matter how noble their intentions.
BrewDog tried to highlight the laziness of gender-based stereotyping…by doing some lazy, gender-based stereotyping. They introduced a ‘Pink IPA’, which is exactly the same as their ‘Punk IPA’ except with a pink label. Yeah…me neither.
In fairness, BrewDog did pledge to donate 20% of all sales of both Pink IPA and Punk IPA to charities supporting women’s equality, but it’s fair to say that overall, the stunt went down fairly badly.
Quick tip for the BrewDogs – if you have to tell people that your satirical joke is a satirical joke, then your satirical joke isn’t very good.
Other recent attempts to turn the quest for gender equality into sweet sweet coin include Johnnie Walker Whisky rebranding as Jane Walker…for a limited time only, of course.
In the past Bic have produced biros for women and Doritos recently considered launching Doritos for Girls. The world of advertising is littered with examples of these, presumably, well-meaning but totally tone-deaf token attempts to align a brand with a social cause.
So, here you go team, here’s a secret - the best PR stunt for International Women’s Day is to pay all of your staff for the jobs they do, not the chromosomes in their genes, or the genitals in their jeans.
And if you still want to make a pink beer, or donate 20% of your earnings to women’s charities, or develop a flavour of crisp that even ladies can enjoy – then hey, knock yourselves out.
But get that first bit done first.
Happy International Women’s Day from Maple Street.
And if you’d like some more International Women’s Day based fun, follow Richard Herring (@Herring1967) on Twitter. Every year he spends this day finding the people who ask, ‘When is International Men’s Day?’ and telling them. This year he’s also raising money for the women's charity Refuge, so if you’ve got, I dunno, 20% of your recent earnings lying around, feel free to throw a bit of cash that way.
Or keep your eyes peeled for the many apology articles and retractions written by red-faced PR types later today including, potentially, an apology for this very article. Wouldn’t that be meta?