On Proofing — Don’t Make Your Customers Spend Their Sundays Like This

Years ago, I awoke to my phone ringing around 5:30 a.m. Knowing only bad news comes this early, I jumped and answered. The caller wanted tickets to an international film festival. Having absolutely no ties whatsoever to an film festival, I wasn’t able to help the caller. I went back to sleep.

Moments later, I awoke to the phone ringing again. A different caller wanted tickets to the international film festival. I was mystified by the strange coincidence that two callers would have the wrong phone number. I explained my home was not the film festival box office, and I went back to sleep.

To my surprise (and, yet, not to my surprise), I was awoken again moments later to a caller wanting international film festival tickets. I’d spend my morning fielding calls from people all over the world wanting to buy film festival tickets. Finally, one polite and helpful caller asked, “Do you subscribe to the Santa Barbara News-Press?” I replied that I did. The caller urged me to get my copy of the News-Press and turn to the back cover of the A section. I did. And there it was: a full-page color ad, a photo of George Clooney, and advertisement for the international film festival, and my home phone number.

Someone at the international film festival clearly didn’t proofread their ad. The box office was off by one number, which changed the advertised phone number from the box office to my home. I called the SBIFF and explained the situation. They explained “the pdf must have been damaged as it was sent to the News-Press.” To anyone else, they might have believed this excuse; however, as a communications expert, I know that a pdf cannot warp one single character in the design. Why is this important?

Proofreading matters.

Certainly, fielding film festival calls was not how I’d plan to spend my Sunday morning at home. It was annoying to me as a person and as a potential film festival goer. Importantly to the international film festival itself, I wonder how much business they’d lost by sending festival goers to the wrong phone number.

Again, proofreading matters. It’s not enough to read copy. An editor needs to call phone numbers and click on links in copy and design.

When you’re ready to bring your proofreading to foolproof standards, contact us. Your customers’ Sunday mornings deserve more respect.


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