Whoops! From Error to Opportunity


Why? Because, like silly putty, the slinky and post-it notes – all the result of fortuitous mistakes – they offer an opportunity for break-through opportunities. In advertising, when we make a mistake for all the world to see, it’s embarrassing and makes us take a hard look at our proofing process. But c’mon, sometimes it’s funny, and it could even go viral!

This weekend, I read about a fun mistake that Boden made in their print catalog. It seems that an editor wrote a note challenging the use of a hyphen, and somewhere along the line rather than addressing the note, the contents of the note were placed into the catalog page. The editor’s note made it into the print version for all the world to see. Of course, a reader saw it and immediately shared the erratum on social media (see picture.)


If I were to write a letter to Boden, it would read something like this.

Dear Creative Team at Boden, take heart! You are an amazing brand, offering an incredible selection of products to your customers. This will NOT hurt sales. In fact, you are getting amazing publicity both on this blog and on social media.
From, One Who Makes Many Mistakes

This reminds me of one of my most successful errors ever. Once upon a time, I was the Creative Director for a seminar company. We printed thousands of mailers on a proofreading seminar (ironic, no?) only to learn that we had a spelling error. What did we do? Added a sticker that offered 5% off to anyone that could find the error. The mailer turned out to be the most successful program ever.

In this new digital world, we have an incredible opportunity to quickly address our errors, have a little fun with it and perhaps increase our marketing footprint! For Boden, I’m wondering if a fun video created to share “the life of misplaced hyphen” or the announcement of a “Get-Your-Hyphen-Discount-Code.” Why not take advantage of the publicity?

The good news about advertising mistakes is that they fade quickly. What if you didn’t let them fade? The key to taking advantage of your mistakes is to:

  • Laugh about it, view it as serendipity

  • Brainstorm how to turn it into an opportunity

  • And, most importantly, ACT QUICKLY!

I couldn’t agree more with Scott Adams when he said, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

Boden, you are in good company. I’ve shared one of ours and found few others worthy of a smile. Won’t the rest of you share? Send me your favorite advertising mistake!

There are small mistakes, and then there are these. Oh my.


Written by Lois Brayfield, CEO/Owner of J.Schmid

Source: jschmid.com