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The Cymotrichous One Wins!

Eric Blinderman

We have a mantra at CJP—“Zero Defect”—which we take very seriously. Basically, it means what it sounds like: strive for zero mistakes in agency written materials (which puts the pressure on me for this post!). We know that the most clearly articulated strategy or brilliant creative idea falls flat when something is spelled wrong and sent to the client.

Zero Defect means that there are times when the little mistakes get in the way of big results.

I thought of Zero Defect while watching the annual Scripps Spelling Bee this past week. I thought of how our best Zero Defectors would do with such words as abhinaya, actyliotheca and batrachophagous. What’s more, I’d like to see a co-worker try to slip one of those terms into a client memo!

Of course, we have spell check (which would probably miss those words).

But 14-year-old Sukanya Roy of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., had no such help when it came time to spell cymotrichous and claim the national title. 14 years old!

I think about Sukanya and the courageous competitors standing on that stage, trying to spell unheard-of words, and the spelling skills I see in many recent college grads and candidates. Sukanya and friends are spelling capercaillie when others (actually most) are saying “c u l8tr”.

I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with communicating in IM language, unless that becomes our default dictionary. Yes, spelling can be hard, and it takes work to learn how to properly spell. But, words are the currency we use to communicate and convenience should never trump thoughtfulness. There’s a time and place for both.

For starters, how about a Corporate Challenge Spelling Bee?  No spell check allowed. CJP

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