Think Different or Differently? See How Grammatical Incorrectness Makes a Perfect Ad
As warned in school, you have gotta be careful with grammar when trying to write something down, especially works that will get into the public eye. But now advertising gurus are giving different answers to the very question that if a perfect ad copy has to rigorously obey the grammatical rules.
Obviously, there are two kinds of grammatical errors in practice when it comes to the writing of advertising copies and slogans, one being carelessly mixing the use of your and you’re or its and it’s, the other being deliberately switching for the term that may seem a little bizarre in the daily use of the language.
One “notorious” example that has been controversy-centric is Apple’s Think Different slogan introduced in 1997 for the Apple Computer campaigns. Many have argued that a verb should not be followed directly by an adjective, but an adverb. And, thus, the adverb variant “differently” should right replace “different” in the slogan. But is it true?
As it may seem an honest mistake in verbal English that people often overlook, we tend to habitually react negatively and pick on the term Think Different. But the truth is we are dead wrong.
A campaign slogan that uses the language casually just like how an old neighbor would say it can seem a lot friendlier to the audience. And, in a striking fact, Think Different is correct in the strictest grammatical sense. As to the Merriam Webster’s dictionary, the word different was used as an adverb dating back to hundreds of years ago.
There is another good point defending Think Different as an outstanding campaign slogan, grammar-wise, which is that this term was originally aimed to ask the audience to think about different ways to simplify their life instead of to think differently. In short, it is a matter of what to think about over how to think.
You may say this is a lame excuse. But argue all you want, this is an award-winning slogan that contributed to Apple’s winning of the 1998 Emmy Award for Best Commercial and marked the resurgence of the tech giant.
Unlike scientific papers or legal documents which require utter accuracy of the language, ad copies aim to ignite inner emotions of the target audience and urge them to take the buying action. This is where grammar stays inferior and rhetoric gains the ground. Be it grammatically correct or not, these exceptional ad copies are well conveying the marketing intents and attracting billion dollars worth of sales when they gain public recognitions.
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