Did you want to say THAT?

Regular readers know how seriously I take finding ways to stand out of a crowd.

They’ve also heard me rant extensively about poor grammar, typographical errors, and bad signage.

These kinds of mistakes are typically obnoxious, though sometimes they’re hilarious.

Consider, for example, a banner done in 2014 for a British pub called the Wig and Pen. For weeks the pub was obscured by boards blocking construction, and the owner was irritated that the pub seemed to have vanished. Sales were off considerably.

To address this troubling issue, the landlady ordered a 10’ sign indicating the establishment was still open for business. It was to be hung from the roof.

Reading “The WIG AND PEN IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS”, the sign maker accidentally left inadequate space between the fourth and fifth words.

The unanticipated result: a ten-foot banner reading “THE WIG AND PENIS OPEN FOR BUSINESS.”

Despite the obvious error, the sign was hung up lest any more sales be lost due to the construction site.

And the phraseology certainly caught lots of amused attention from both existing patrons and would-be customers.

Then social media took over, generating global attention for the plight of this little pub. Business increased significantly and quickly, leading the owner to insist the sign remain in place.

Turning lemons into lemonade, right?

The original purpose of merely showing they were still in business began to take a back seat to the novelty message provided by the sign. The pub itself became a backdrop for the larger story, with visitors coming to see the sign, then stopping for a pint before leaving.

Since business maintained or grew during construction, the sign obviously did its job. And when construction ended, the sign came down…for a while.

But the sign had become a running joke with customers, and soon was put back on display despite the construction being long-over.

Admittedly, in a perfect world the sign would have been correct, stayed up a month, and vanished.

Then again, the Wig and PEN wouldn’t still be getting publicity about it five years later.

The lesson from all this? If you’re going to fail at your marketing, make it such a huge failure that it actually becomes a success.

I know…it’s counter-intuitive. Yet obviously, it works.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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Turn mistakes into money at www.askmrmarketing.com.