My biggest gaffe: Inflatable dolls and not reading my copy backwards

When I was a fledgling account manager, I was so proud of an advertorial creative concept that I came up with to drive reappraisal for Wella's Vosene shampoo - a brand with a rich family heritage.

The shampoo was launching a new variant for men and we created a media partnership with Loaded, the lads’ mag du jour, to run a series of tongue-in-cheek advertorials (one a month for six months).

Each advertorial would feature a life-sized male and female inflatable doll (yes, ‘that’ kind of doll) intertwined in a bathroom shower setting, showing relatively risqué ‘hair-washing positions’ of the month. This was a disruptive approach to the category back in the day, and we had to give it a hard sell to get client approval due to the fruity nature of some of the poses.

Imagine my joy when the first advertorial went to print and was unveiled in situ in the magazine by Wella’s national sales manager at an annual internal conference.

Imagine the stomach-turning moment when one of the 500-strong audience called out that the there was a typo in the brand name – ‘Vosene’ had become ‘Vosence’ – and I had approved it. Bubble truly burst.

To this day it gave me one of the most valuable proofreading lessons: read your copy backwards, start at the end of the copy and read each word in isolation; it makes you read it much more slowly and typos immediately jump out.

Rikki Weir is a director at Cirkle

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