My Biggest Gaffe: Relying on my autocorrect gave me 'incontinence' and 'willies'

Holly Tyzack, head of editorial at Bottle, has learned the hard way that autocorrect is no substitute for careful reading.

Incontinence, willies, my pea sea, shit and manboobs...

No, they are not all new PR buzzwords. But rather unfortunately for me, they have all been included in my client and journalist correspondence over the past seven or so years.

No, I don’t do PR for some really random porno organisation; I work in professional services and financial services PR. So why would I put these words into my client and media correspondence, you might ask? The answer is because of the dreaded autocorrect.

It’s that nightmare moment when you draft a quick email on the tube on your mobile, send it and then realise the terrible autocorrect mistake that has been made. Incontinence is one of my favourites and something I have used a few times at the end of an email: "Please do let me know at your earliest incontinence."

Not to mention the time I sent out a press release when launching a new prepaid festival card – this one was in fact drafted from my PC so no real excuse – within which I included the phrase "at festivals, us girls have to resort to carrying our money in our willies". I swear I meant wellies. This resulted in the prepaid and personal finance press having a good old laugh at my expense. I was mortified, but I did get a few funny responses. And we did get coverage so all was not lost.

So what’s the learning from this? As always, double and triple check your emails and texts to clients. Attention to detail is core to any job but in the fast-paced world of PR, it’s particularly important.

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