You may be one of the many who watch the ads purely for entertainment value. If that’s the case, you’re no doubt in for your share of brilliance, virtue signaling, emotional manipulation, morally questionable/disgusting, Christopher Walken and just plain bad ads (see “puppybabymonkey”). All of which is great. Enjoy.
The intended point is that even if an ad is unbelievably hilarious, poignant, memorable or otherwise highly engaging, advertising has diminished value if the brand is not well integrated.
It’s sort of like meeting that attractive person at a bar that you have an amazing instant connection with, but leave without a phone number or any other way to take action. If the brand isn’t connected to the ad, it’s hard for the viewer to do anything about it.
If you’re a marketer, however, SB, er, BG ads are interesting for different reasons – at $3.5M or $4M whatever the price for 30 seconds is these days, you are no doubt wondering how that expense can possibly pay out.
This point we’re talking about is related to one of the 6 points – L – Linkage – – of the advertising to the brand.
Many of the Big Game ads do a great job getting your attention, but don’t close the loop by making the brand an integral element.
As an example, compare two very entertaining ads – – which of them can you connect to a brand?
“Just OK is not OK” – whether it’s a tattoo artist, surgeon, babysitter or tax preparer, this campaign is highly entertaining, engaging and amusing. It just doesn’t have a strong linkage to the brand or core message (other than ‘we’re better than OK’ – – not necessarily ownable or particularly compelling). I’ve enjoyed this campaign immensely but have never remembered the advertiser. (It’s AT&T, by the way. I checked).
“Jake” You can probably already envision the scene (late at night phone call) and catchphrase “Jake…from State Farm”. In this case, the premise (State Farm is always available) and the brand name are well integrated into the creative.
A week ago the impossible happened – a Super Bowl that was WAY more exciting than the ads.
Still, duty calls – – it’s taken a week to fully process the advertising train wreck but the result is worth the wait.
The Armchair MBAcarefully analyzed the reviews of 10 respected entities (plus a timid peep from Harvard Business School), summarily ignored them and can now announce the REAL best and worst ads of 2018.
Super Bowl spots, in particular, need to stand out in a hyper-charged environment, create water cooler (social) chat to extend the brand, and ultimately move the brand forward.
Clicking on this chart will blow it up so you can see where everyone came out.
Included at no extra charge – charming, witty, pithy bons mots! It’s so worth it!
When everyone does anthemic feel-good ads to set themselves apart from the competition, everyone starts looking the same. In some cases I was moved almost to tears and had no idea which brand I should hug.
I have a dream that in the future, companies won’t feel compelled to stretch to co-opt (read: exploit) a universal good (cancer research, disaster relief, first responders, and BABIES!) to draw attention. Winner (loser) by a long shot in this category – – Ram Trucks.
LCD humor apparently remains a reliable go-to for advertisers (see: Febreze, M&Ms).
Not as many animals this year (no Clydesdales, Doberhuahua or Puppymonkeybaby), BUT we still had more than enough with Yellow Tail’s ‘Roo, TurboTax’s monster under the bed…and Steven Tyler.
Personality counts a LOT! Morgan Freeman continues to define ‘Maximum Possible Q Score’, Peyton Manning is a reservoir of humor and credibility (especially since the divorce from Papa John), and Eli, he of the permanently blank expression, will always be the little brother.
Selected Best Ads
Echo (Amazon) – – witty, creative, great cameos, and the product is the whole point
Doritos/Mtn Dew — great pairing, both products and performers, with a high fun factor
US Olympic Committee – – in the grand tradition of Up Close and Personal, terrific effort at personalizing the competitors (particularly important in light of current controversies). Incorporating childhood photo/video a big plus.
Tourism Australia – – in a head-fake worthy of Doug Pederson, grabs your attention and keeps it
Tide (It’s a Tide Ad) – – P&G threw a long ball with several executions of this campaign spoofing other campaigns (see above), and scored. The premise of ‘if it’s clean, it must be Tide’ could not be more spot-on (pun intended)
Rocket Mortgage – – humorous, relatable, and highly relevant to the product
Sprint – – a bunch of robots who make the logic work, and then crack wise, make it a strong spot
Ram Trucks – – #1 stinkeroo. Someone thought it would be a good idea to use the words of MLK Jr. to elevate…a truck. Shame on Ram Trucks, and shame on the MLK family, for that matter.
Squarespace – -in a way, they’ve become sort of a reliable companion in the stinker category. This year, we had Keanu Reaves riding a motorcycle standing up and…pontificating.
T-Mobile – – a high-concept ad which pans over a multitude of infants, and unsuccessfully tries to make some sort of connection to the product. Creepy.
Febreze – – ironically in the stinkeroo category. Maybe the man’s *** don’t stink – -but that doesn’t mean the copy is something you want to be around
NFL – – I’m apparently a voice in the wilderness here. Most people found the Eli/Odell pas de deux a charming play off the iconic Dirty Dancing scene. I just thought it was forced, clumsy and unfunny. Plus, not sure what the message was.
Maybe like the E*Trade commercial says, I’m just getting old.
Be that as it may, this glass case of emotion that we call the US must go on, and of course the Super Bowl is still the tentpole of our national identity. So in the spirit of national unity, we herewith put forward our ratings and reviewer compilation of the advertising from this year’s Brady Bowl (or as some might call it from the Falcons’ perspective, the choking chickens Bowl).
And as a perfect reflection of society, there is very little agreement among the dozen major reviewers we looked at. This year we’ve added a feature of averaging the critics’ scores so you can see how YOU stack up.
At the bottom of this post is a chart comparing major reviewers for all the spots run during last Sunday’s game.
NOTE: ads are grouped by my rankings of green/yellow/pink and are now ranked by the reviewers’ average within those groups.
A few observations (all Super Bowl ads can be found here):
NO ANIMALS THIS YEAR! Unless you count the dead (Spuds McKenzie), the 2-dimensional (Yellow Tail wine) or the sidelined (Rob Gronkowski). I miss these furry diversions and was hoping the lack of reliance on a lowest common denominator would indicate lots of great spots. Alas, twas not to be.
But there were some themes at work…
High concept does not necessarily make for great advertising. The Armchair MBA is not a fan of co-opting a high-minded theme just to make a statement- often comes off as stilted or forced. – Audi, 84 Lumber, Budweiser, AirBnB, and It’s A 10 Haircare (I know – who, right?) all went for the high road by tying into the topical (often sideswiping the President, the Real DJT).
Unfortunately, for this image-driven work to be effective it needs to create a strong link to the brand among a group that might be interested in the product (this is advertising, after all). – It’s A 10 Haircare is a new brand and while their ad was cheeky and visually interesting, they could have done more to tell us why we should care.
– 84 Lumber is a regional competitor to Home Depot and Lowe’s and ran an emotional immigration spot that, partially due to network censorship, required a visit online to see the conclusion. The average demo for this vertical is male/50, not necessarily a strong bet for following up online or changing their go-to building supply outlet without a reason. It did generate brand awareness, though.
– Audi made a passionate pitch for gender pay equality (with no apparent reason given for why this is related to Audi), then undermined the message by putting Dad (not Mom) in the hot sports car.
You simply cannot go wrong with Christopher Walken. He did it for Kia Motors last year, and this year changed sponsors to team with a deadpan/mute Justin Timberlake for one of the best-received spots – for Bai Antioxidant Drink.
Actually, celebrities were out in force, probably to the greatest degree ever, and generally to good effect. In this high-stakes, high-octane environment, celebrities provide one of the only reliable ways to guarantee eyeballs. In addition to Walken:
– John Malkovich’s arresting visage gave Squarespace breakthrough
– The Coen Brothers directed a Mercedes-Benz spot featuring Peter Fonda
– Kia traded Walken for Melissa McCarthy (and a few draft picks) for a generally entertaining spot for the new Niro
– A newly nerdly Justin Bieber drew attention for T-Mobile in his own polarizing way
– Other celebrities included Terry Bradshaw (Tide), Cam Newton (Buick), Kristen Schaal (T-Mobile), Lady Gaga (Tiffany), Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg (T-Mobile), LeBron James (Sprite), Morgan Freeman (Turkish Airlines), Tom Brady, even Bill Nye the Science Guy! And the list goes on (including a slew of very amusing high school yearbook celebrity photos in a Honda spot).
Generally well-accepted spots had breakthrough and were straightforward (usually with some humor) Honda, Bud, Avocados from Mexico, Skittles, Ford made this list. Inexplicably so did a Bud Light spot featuring an exhumed Spuds McKenzie.
There were also some universally unloved spots, mostly due to lack of wit, relevance or originality.
– American Petroleum Institute (paaaarrrty!) headed this list, followed closely by the generic twins Fiji Water and LIFEWTR, Yellow Tail Wine, KFC and Michelin.
Finally, our annual check-in with Weather Tech – for this, their 4th effort, they did kick back and have a beer (not while driving) and the result was a looser, more fun spot. Well done.
This table compares 12 major reviewers, who clearly do not all see things the same. (did you really expect Vogue to feel the same as the WSJ?)
Simply click once or twice on the table to make it readable.
My evaluations are generally based on the Kellogg ADPLAN approach: Attention –Distinction – Positioning – Linkage – Amplification – Net Equity – – along with some personal gut feel.
To take your mind off whatever tsuris you may be feeling about our nation hurtling toward anarchy, for the third year in a row we take you briefly back to Sunday’s state of guacomole-induced stupor, to compare critics’ reviews of the all-important Super Bowl ads.
Like our politicians, once again it’s clear that the critics can’t agree on much (unless it involves dachshunds dressed up as hot dogs.)
And once again we realize that John Wanamaker was right: 50% of advertising is wasted. Unlike Mr. Wanamaker, in this case we have a pretty good feeling about which 50% may have been involved.
At the bottom of this post is a remarkable chart comparing major reviewers (color-coded green/yellow/pink) for all the spots run during Sunday’s game. It’s pithy!
NOTE: ads are grouped by my rankings of green/yellow/pink but are alphabetically listed within those large groups.
A few observations:
First of all, if Super Bowl 50 was such an amazing success, why were there approximately 260 CBS ads taking up valuable ad space?
Humor seems to be back, and boy do we need it. (Celebrities are back, too)
– unfortunately, sophomoric humor was also in full schwing! (Amy Schumer, I’m talking to you)
Generally well-accepted spots had breakthrough, were straightforward, enjoyable, had product as hero – – and you came away knowing what the brand was Audi’s Commander, Kraft/HeinzWiener Stampede, Toyota Prius The Longest Chase, DoritosUltrasound (I was not a fan), Avocados from MexicoAvocados in Space, Bud LightBud Light Party, Hyundai Genesis First Date, Hyundai Elantra Ryanville, Amazon Echo Baldwin Bowl Party, Advil Distant Memory
Disliked spots featured unappetizing topics or visuals, human ailments, made no detectable point, or were just stupid AstraZeneca Opioid-Induced Constipation Envy, SquarespaceReal Talk, SoFiGreat Loans, Great People, Valeant Jublia Best Kept Secret,LG OLEG TV Man from the Future
Mtn Dew Kickstart PuppyMonkeyBaby carried the torch of 2014’s Doberhuahua, quite happy to spew the ridiculous in the craven quest for online buzz – (by the way, it’s Mtn, not Mountain)
– Anthony Hopkins’s perfectly executed tongue-in-cheek “I’m not selling out” pitch for TurboTax
– Jeep’s spots (finally) taking advantage of its amazing legacy
– Kia’s spot called ‘Walken Closet’ starring Christopher Walken. (Did the pun drive the copy?)
– LG’s infuriatingly pointless waste of Liam Neeson and Ridley Scott’s talents
– Squarespace’s infuriatingly pointless waste of Key & Peele’s talents
– Spots that required you to know the context (T-Mobile/Drake, T-Mobile/Steve Harvey, Hyundai Elantra/Ryan Reynolds)
A few spots had obviously high production values but were virtually ignored by reviewers – which makes one wonder if their $5 million+ was well spent:
– IntelExperience Amazing, McDonald’sGood Morning, BaiHorse Whisperer, Pokémon 2.0, Wix.comKung Fu Panda, AdvilDistant Memory, Mobile Strike Fight
Finally, Weather Tech – this is I believe your 3rd Super Bowl ad. You make a great product in an admirable way. You are decent, hardworking, earnest people.
But maybe it’s time to step away from the cheese dip and have a beer.
Click once or twice on the table below to make it more readable.
My evaluations are generally based on the Kellogg ADPLAN approach: Attention –Distinction – Positioning – Linkage – Amplification – Net Equity – – along with some personal gut feel.
It’s time to demonstrate (again) that when it comes to advertising, no one agrees on anything. Raise your hand if you’re shocked.
The Armchair MBA repeated last year’s stunt in comparing the ratings of 10 prominent2015 Super Bowl ad reviewers, summarized in the handy chart below, along with my personal ratings. (Green/yellow/red coding, alphabetized within my ratings)
While no Doberhuahua this year, there was plenty of dreck and schmaltz to take its place, but a few very good spots as well. Unfortunately many spots were so-so – – either they rewarded our attention with a muddled message or weak branding, or they were copy-by-committee logical with no heart or pizzazz (Hello, GoDaddy. Hello, Weathertech).
Mostly universally admired: P&G Always “Like a Girl”, Avocados from Mexico, Dove Men+Care, Mophie, Budweiser/Puppy (I declined highest marks on the last two)
Most universally unloved: Nationwide’s “Boy” (runaway loser), Nissan, Lexus
Most schizophrenic (scored best on some lists, worst on others): McDonald’s “Pay with Lovin’”, SquareSpace/Jeff Bridges, Loctite “Positive Feelings”, Toyota Camry/Amy Purdy, Carnival Cruise Lines, Victoria’s Secret (had to watch this again to make sure I knew how I felt)
A few observations:
– Personally not a fan of high-concept feel-good spots like McDonald’s or Coca-Cola or Jeep, or for that matter, the very cute/manipulative Bud puppy ads. Fun for the agency, probably test well for likability, but hard to see how see how it drives action or enhances the core brand equity.
– Love spots like Fiat 500 SUV – simple message (we made the base 500 bigger), using an analogy that’s easy to understand and relevant to the main point (if a bit naughty)
– Would love to be a fly on the wall during the approval process of the Nationwide’s “Boy” spot (spoiler alert: it’s about a charming boy who turns out to be dead. More chips & dip, please).
– For fun, check out some of the breathless, we-take-ourselves-kind-of-seriously reviews comments like “Powerful message but tough ad to watch”, “Disturbingly brilliant and impactful”, “emotionally powerful and good storytelling”, blah blah blah – you can see some here (as well as a CMO’s explanation about why his ad was NOT supposed to sell product. Hmmm…).
To see the summary, click on the chart below. Click twice for maximum size/readability.
My evaluations are generally based on the Kellogg ADPLAN approach: Attention – Distinction – Positioning – Linkage – Amplification – Net Equity – – along with some personal gut feel.
We know that the Super Bowl is a special stage, and different rules certainly apply. In addition, there are social media linkages and previews that can dramatically amplify the impact of ads. So it is somewhat unfair to judge an execution in isolation.
On the other hand, we don’t claim to be fair. And as observed last year, sometimes an ad just sucks.
Ever wonder why you never totally agree with Super Bowl ad reviewers?
Well, other than for a few good ads* they mostly don’t agree with each other either.
The Armchair MBA has selflessly taken on what is certainly is a vast unfulfilled need and compiled a comparison of 9 disparate SB ad reviewersjust for you! Wow! Almost as much fun as being a Broncos fan!
Just click on the chart below to see that while there is some consistency, in the end advertising is still an art and everyone’s got their opinion. (You can click on the chart twice to make it even more readable.)
(*Generally universally liked: Budweiser, Cheerios, Radio Shack, Microsoft – – although I’m not in the bag for all of them)
I’ve provided my own opinion, to make it an even 10.
Green/Yellow/Red ratings were my best interpretations of what the reviewers meant. White means they didn’t review this particular ad – – which in itself tells you something. They are grouped based on my ratings, on an alphabetical basis by brand within ranking.
My evaluations are generally based on the Kellogg ADPLAN approach, which is becoming the standard:
– Net Equity
However, I also incorporated a liberal dose of my visceral reaction during the game.
Quick commentary: The Super Bowl is a unique marketing environment where stakes and expectations are high, and the bar for breakthrough is considerably higher than any other day.
Advertisers use the SB for much more than the eyeballs – – as a way to make a corporate statement, introduce something new, reposition themselves, set up other promotional activity, and many other things.
So these spots can be seen through many different lenses, which is why reviews often differ dramatically.
Having said that, sometimes an ad just sucks any way you look at it.
Not included in my ratings (but increasingly important) is how long of a tail these ads might have – – what their viral reach, impact and duration becomes.
On March 30, 2023, Major League Baseball did something unprecedented: they held all the opening day games as virtual reality events. Yes, that’s right, every single team got to play their home opener in their own stadium, without having to leave the comfort of their own homes. How did they do it, you ask? Well, it was all thanks to the magic of VR technology.
You see, each team’s stadium was recreated in stunning detail in the virtual world. Fans could log on to their team’s VR channel and be transported to their favorite team’s home field. They could even choose their own seat, just like they would in real life, and feel like they were really there. But the best part? No more expensive tickets, long lines for concessions, or having to deal with rowdy fans. It was like the ultimate baseball experience without any of the hassle.
Of course, there were a few hiccups along the way. Some fans accidentally logged into the wrong channel and ended up watching the wrong game. Others struggled to adjust to the VR controls and found themselves accidentally teleporting onto the field. And then there were the players themselves, who had to adjust to playing in front of empty stands, with no crowd noise to feed off of. Some players even admitted to feeling a bit lonely without their usual home crowd cheering them on.
But overall, the virtual opening day was a huge success. Fans from all over the world were able to come together and experience the thrill of baseball without any of the usual drawbacks. And who knows, maybe in a few years’ time, all sports events will be held in virtual reality. After all, why bother leaving the house when you can have the ultimate fan experience from your own living room?
*EDITOR’S NOTE: with the exception of the photos, ALL headline and body copy above was generated by chat.openai.com.
Confession and trigger warning: I’ve been listening to podcasts of Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano.
And I was surprised at some of the valuable management skills he used in his past day job.
If you’re not familiar, Salvatore Gravano was a big-time gangster and all-around bad guy, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s and mostly with the notorious NY Gambino mob, as a street guy, then a Made guy (formally initiated), then a Caporegime (or Capo, a captain with his own crew), then Consiglieri (think Robert Duvall’s Tom Hagen in The Godfather), and ultimately Underboss, reporting to the uber-notorious John Gotti – effectively, he was sort of the COO of the Gambino family.
If Gravano had a LinkedIn profile, it would be pretty impressive – – loyalty to his organization, steady rise to top management, etc. – – falling short, however, in the areas of education (8th grade), and the fact that he, uh, spent over 22 years in prison. (I did check and no, he has no LI profile- yet).
His list of crimes ranges from the petty (stealing spare tires from car trunks when he was in a street gang) to shakedowns of various flavors, to the truly horrible – murder, either directly or as a planner, 19 by the FBI’s count (most famously, planning and executing the murder of the head of his own Family, ‘Boss of Bosses’ Paul Castellano, Gotti’s predecessor – in the middle of Christmas shopping crowds in NY in December 1985).
The first lesson is compartmentalization. I’ve always felt that there’s something to be learned from virtually everyone – from career mentors to role models to competitors to my dog Rizzo, who is super capable of being in the moment. It requires focusing on something important and ignoring everything else.
In this case, learning from a mobster requires the ability to separate the guy described above from the gruff, but relaxed and confident 77-year old you hear in the podcasts. While he committed a lot of heinous crimes that can never be forgiven, at the same time he also has some interesting takes on his past that can be helpful to us ‘legitimate’ people.
Gravano is a master compartmentalizer – – rationalizing the crimes of the past and softening them with statements about how he always did the right thing or what was required of him after pledging loyalty.
Moral Hazard Disclaimer: You need to be comfortable with the fact that listening to his podcasts in some way puts money in his, and Patreon’s, pockets.
Lesson: Loyalty to the organization, but with limits. Everyone knows that the Cosa Nostra demands utter loyalty – above family and faith. You do what the Boss demands without question, you keep him informed, you expect the same from those you lead. The penalty for screwing this up was usually not living long afterward.
Gravano took his loyalty oath seriously but not blindly. When the mercurial Gotti would order a hit, Gravano on multiple occasions would challenge Gotti’s command, encourage him to calm down and reconsider, rather than act on impulse and create bigger issues.
At the same time, after both of their arrests in 1990, when Gravano heard that Gotti had asked for a plea whereby he would throw Gravano under the bus, he reconsidered his view of loyalty and cooperated with the FBI against Gotti.
Lesson: Win-win. Gravano had outsized influence with labor unions on huge construction projects (not a few of which were Trump projects). Rather than exerting influence through threats of violence, he created unique schemes whereby all parties came out ahead (except, of course, the people paying for the buildings) – ensuring the loyalty of those he got payments from. And while his education stopped at 8th grade, he had practical experience running construction companies and was adept at running the numbers.
Lesson: Loyalty to people. Without question, personal loyalties were extremely important to Gravano, and he would go to significant lengths to help those he had loyalty to, even at personal risk, often for no financial benefit.
Lesson: Planning. Hearing the planning involved in some of the hits is eye-opening; sometimes it would take months. Staking out, detecting patterns, having plans and back-up plans, deploying decoy cars to block or distract police, etc. The goal was to anticipate every possible scenario and cover for it.
Lesson: Sunk cost. Despite planning, sometimes the unexpected did happen – -and despite having lots of assets in place, at times Gravano would assess the situation and cancel the hit. Considering the severe potential consequences of not executing the plan, this was no small decision.
Lesson: When in hole, stop digging. Gravano was arrested in 1990 and served 5 years as part of a plea deal, released in 1995, moved to Arizona. The end of roughly 20 years in the mob, with access to the Witness Protection Program (which he quickly opted out of). Free to start anew.
Which he did. In 2002, he was arrested for running a drug ring, got a 20-year sentence and was released a bit early in 2017. Oops.
He is by all appearances walking a straight path now.
Final lesson: Adapt and survive. This poorly-educated, street-smart, morally challenged 77-year old was previously mostly comfortable with a gun. He is now a podcaster and YouTuber, and you can hear him grimace when he asks you to ‘Like and Subscribe’ at the end of his podcasts, as his handlers insist. He also now does live ads for companies like watch company MVMT (“I don’t often take off my Rolex, but when I do, I wear MVMT” or “I know about doing time”), or counseling company betterhelp, or online insurance broker Policygenius. He also has a website and a number of other ventures.
A story, perhaps apocryphal, describes the past-his-prime comedian who, when the laughs just aren’t coming, drops his pants, revealing brightly patterned boxer shorts. Unfailingly it gets a reaction. Problem solved.
There is an analog if you’re in the business of selling consumer products – – you need to have a compelling story to tell. Brands who don’t know why they’re better than the competition often resort to fail-safe attention-getting tactics – – puppies, babies, tear-jerker stories, corn syrup…
…and of course, sex.
Carl’s Jr./Hardees and GoDaddy.com are just two of the many who made sex their Unique Selling Proposition. You can check their commercials out on YouTube; I cannot safely post a link here.
Both appear to have moved on, ostensibly to broaden their audiences as they move out of copywriting adolescence. In the #MeToo era, many advertisers have thankfully become more sensitive in how they go to market.
But there is a convenient alternative: #FoodPorn. With a wink and a nod and a hashtag that telegraphs ‘we’re hip’, #FoodPorn is titillating with words otherwise not used in general conversation, but without the photos. The buzzword gives permission.
In the most recent Super Bowl, Kraft Heinz’s Devour frozen food brand actually advertised on a real porn site, Pornhub.com, blurring the line between metaphor and reality. The brand is positioned as ‘flavor first’, the very embodiment of FoodPorn, and thus this stunt was all a humorous, one-time attempt to make the point and get some attention. But based on their website, they’re sticking with the FoodPorn angle. Not sure what the results were, other than a ton of attention.
But do we want to go there? Despite the old adage, not all attention is good attention. Most brands would prefer to focus on the product and avoid the crass associations that undermine credibility and turn off potential customers. But not all.
At a favorite burger chain recently (not fast food – – burgers are $10-14), where it talked about ‘friends and family’, part of the menu was blacked out. Upon inspection, it revealed that the blacked out words completed the language: “Post that #BurgerPorn and tag us. We never get tired of seeing them sexy burger shots.”
Upon conversation with the waitress, this is a case of man bites dog. The headquarters marketing staff decided to send sexed up menus to all of their restaurants, and in at least this case, the local owner disagreed with their judgment and took a marker to it.
I’m guessing the owner knows his customers, sees a lot of moms and dads, and drew the connection that they might not be interested in explaining to the kids what that all means. (I had a similar experience explaining the Clinton impeachment hearings to single-digit aged kids).
The irony is that these guys have a great concept – outstanding quality, reasonably priced food in a very pleasant environment.
Why mess all that up and distract attention with references to #FoodPorn?
I have a superpower that’s also a curse – I see typos everywhere. A dinner out isn’t complete until I find something wrong in the menu (insight: restaurateurs are not the greatest spellers. And I may not be the greatest dining companion).
You may see a beautiful person with a beautiful smile – – all I notice is that little bit of spinach in her teeth.
You may not be like me – but someone reading your resume might be. And much like spinach in one’s teeth, a CV that is 99.9% perfect can get discounted if an error is spotted by an OCD HR person or hiring manager (‘if they make a mistake on their most important document, what’s their attention to detail’?). Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all it takes.
My suspicion was that there are a lot of errors out there – – so I decided to check it out.
I speed-proofed a sample of resumes from a large networking group to see if there were errors that could get someone’s resume discarded by a picky hiring manager or HR person. These resumes are from very accomplished senior executives.
And there were indeed errors. In fact, all resumes had errors that needed fixing – – and some of these were ‘final’, meaning a resume expert had helped them out and blessed the final product. It’s natural – after checking your resume 5000 times, you’re sick of it and it becomes impossible to spot things.
Here are the 6 most frequent errors I found:
1) misspelling names of companies and brands (including in some cases the companies and brands that the person worked for!)
2) sloppy formatting – dates don’t align on the right, formatting makes it tough to trace the career history, periods on some bullet points but not others, inconsistent capitalization, etc.
3) use of proprietary acronyms and abbreviations that no reader is going to understand
4) inconsistent use of MM, M and millions (same for thousands and billions) – used one way in one place, another way elsewhere
5) sloppy grammar – mixing past and present tense, missing connecting words, using ‘lead’ instead of ‘led’, etc.
6) missing elements – not using the official name of a company, not consistently showing city/state for a job, etc.
Trivial stuff, for sure, but it’s the real world. You may well be the next Steve Jobs – – don’t unnecessarily give anyone a reason to think about anything other than your accomplishments.
NET – – for those in search mode, the resume you think is squeaky clean may have errors that someone may fixate on.
So — reach out to your annoying attention-to-detail friend (we all have one) and make double-sure you’re ready for prime time – remove that spinach!
If you’ve read this far and found that your resume needed a correction, please let me know in the comments.
If you find that I made an error in this post, I don’t want to hear about it.