Sunday, February 20, 2005

What Were They Thinking?
    — You Put Your Right Foot In…

“What Were They Thinking?” highlights products and presentations which just don’t make sense.

This FootSmart ad came from a January 2005 Skymall catalog, the ones you get in the seat pocket on airplanes.  The company sends you a fold-out box containing clay or foam or some similar substance, which you step in to give an imprint of your feet, and then they make a special shoe insert perfectly formed to your own feet.

Look closely at the labels on the box that the foot model has stepped in.  She put her left foot in the side marked “RIGHT FOOT” and vice-versa.  (Maybe her legs were crossed because
she had to pee really bad?)  Those may be some painful shoe inserts she gets back.

Updated on March 15, 2005
I’ve since seen one of these ads in another catalog — Hammacher-Schlemmer, I think — which fortunately used a different, correct picture.
Updated on October 11, 2011

Stupid, Stupid Ads!
    — Will Work for Whiteout

“Stupid, Stupid Ads!” dissects ads that try to do something underhanded or just plain stupid.

And less than one in five can use proper grammar, it appears.  (Er, make that “fewer than one in five” — don’t want to get got with my grammar pants down!)

This is from a United Way bus shelter ad out around Christmas 2004, maybe a couple weeks later.

Remedial English Lesson

In this sentence, the subject is “One in five homeless people” and the predicate is “are employed”.  The subject is composed of a pronoun, “One” (standing in for “A homeless person”), and a prepositional phrase, “in five homeless people.”  The plurality of the subject’s noun and the predicate’s verb must match; this sentence is incorrect because “One” is singular while “are” is plural.  (The prepositional phrase is excess gravy.  It modifies and describes the noun/pronoun, but it does not affect the plurality of the subject.  That is controlled solely by the noun or pronoun.)  Ergo, the correct sentence should read “One in five homeless people is employed.”

I might forgive a homeless person who used bad grammar on his sign, but I certainly won’t forgive the United Way for producing a poorly designed ad.  Bad charity, no donation.

Updated on October 10, 2011