With autocorrect and spell-check as commonplace as it is today, typos should be nearing extinction. However, even with today’s helpful technology and auto-correct-capable word-processing software, errors still slip through the cracks… some of them of the embarrassing variety.
Spelling errors and the lack of vigilance that’s often at the root of the problem are luxuries you cannot afford. And, yet, at one time or another, everybody experiences that feeling in the pit of their stomach once they discover a mistake has been made. What separates the best firms from the rest is how they make it right… and help ensure it rarely if ever happens again.
Here’s a look at 15 cringe-worthy typos that clearly illustrate that, when it comes to uncovering errors, human eyes aren’t enough.
1. Amazon typo takes the internet down.
Earlier this week the internet came to a halt, when Amazon’s S3 web service went down, causing an outage on many different web services and devices. The cause? A typo. One of the Amazon engineers was trying to figure out what was causing lag on their S3 service. “Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly, and a larger set of servers was removed than intended,” Amazon said. “The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems.” Amazon has since apologized for the error.
2.“Royal Australlian Navy”
Typos do happen, and they can happen to the best of companies… and countries apparently. Although you’d think a military presumably backed by billions of dollars could afford a copy team capable of writing out its nation properly, with Australian officers serving in the Middle East once forced to wear uniforms featuring badges spelling “Australian” with an extra “L.”
Maybe Australia should get a pass, as the production of the badges had been reportedly outsourced to a firm in Hong Kong. It makes it hard to justify even a single extra letter, let alone one on countless soldiers proudly serving their nation. Count this one as a big “L” in the loss column.
3. “For every detal”
The holiday greeting card company, Stratford Hall, which prides itself as “always upholding the highest standards for every detail,” sure let those standards lapse when they left out the “I” in “details” on this ad. As embarrassing a mistake as it was, at least they didn’t misspell Santa. The devil really is in the details.
4. “Barack Obama Plays Football…and For England?”
Germany may have won the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but England takes home most embarrassing mistake honors…and that’s beside the epic fail that was the country’s early exit in the group stage.
A junior staff member at a merchandising company was blamed for mistaking President Barack Obama for player Chris Smalling while sourcing royalty-free pictures to appear on collector’s mugs. That’s in spite of reports indicating the boss had proofed and signed off on the designs afterward.
Scapegoat or not, the staff member reportedly faced demotion for the mistake (or costly, nonsensical political statement). The company itself? It was forced to try and offload the stock to clearance resellers.
5.“Alec Baldwin or Donald Trump?”
As far as political statements go, you arguably can’t go much further than erroneously identifying actor and Donald Trump- impersonator Alec Baldwin as the current president of the United States himself.
Dominican newspaper El Nacionalowned up to the mistake, apologizing to readers and “anyone affected.”
6. “Click her”
Madison Pediatric Dental may have been looking for a full-time employee, but a lot of angry grammar critics probably emailed them instead. They forgot an “e” in the word “here” and wound up with “click her.”
7. “Not Everything Needs to be Done…”
Sometimes typos appear in the most obvious places such as tag lines. Reebok learned the hard way with this ad, in which “eveything” was used instead of “everything.”
Don’t give Reebok too much credit for being clever here, even if proofreading is one thing that can’t be undone in a New York Minute. “Everything” ended up being spelled correctly in another version of the same ad, making getting this specific ad campaign out more of a marathon than a sprint to the finish line.
8. “Porsche Boxter”
On the subject of speed, Reebok should count its lucky stars it at least didn’t misspell its own name. Porsche’s brand equity probably took a hit when these billboards, misspelling “Boxster”, appeared all over London. Maybe even more humiliating?
The tag line in the ad: “For some things in life, there will never be an app.” Maybe not (yet) to replace the thrill of driving. Probably one or two… that even cover company-specific terms and brands.
It doesn’t take a genius to catch this spelling mistake, which unfortunately for H&M appeared front and center on one of their T-shirts…in the very first word. Considering it’a famous quote from inventor Thomas Edison, simply copying and pasting it from any number of online sources probably could have avoided any embarrassment in the first place.
Of course, there’s always the chance the mistake was made on purpose, and the t-shirt was a high-brow (failed) stab at irony. Considering the Swedish company seemed to decide to sweep the alleged mistake under the rug, and make only the shorts in the shot available off their corporate website instead, and stop selling the shirt online, it probably wasn’t. No word yet on how much perspiration resulted at H&M headquarters following the blunder.
10. “Demands Pols”
This one takes the prize for ironic humor. In the Fox Nation headline, “Father Demands Pols Remove Illiterate Obama-Backing Daughter from Voter Rolls,” the writer herself is at risk of being called illiterate. While the headline may not have been connected (to this day) so as to avoid having to change the URL, there is no excuse for the other typo in the piece: “Along” was incorrectly used instead of “a long” in a quote from the father in question.
11.“A Better Amercia”
It probably wouldn’t have saved former Republican nominee Mitt Romney the 2012 U.S. election, but it would have saved him some embarrassment for sure. His “With Mitt” iPhone app, which supporters used to overlay slogans on photos to personalize them, hilariously misspelled “America.”
Campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul was quoted as saying she didn’t think voters would care about the typo. A presumably proofread update had been sent to Apple anyway. You know, just in case they did. Well, the votes are in…and who knows? He might have lost out on the spelling-sticker vote as a result.
12. “Resident Evil Revelaitons”
This popular Capcom video game made it through the proofreading process with the word revelations glaringly misspelled on its box.
After the, uh, revelation was made, Capcom opted to right the wrong as much as possible, by repackaging all subsequent shipments with the revised insert. They even went the extra mile by offering new packaging to any customers who had been “affected” by the error.
Considering the game franchise revolves around a zombie apocalypse, maybe count the lack of the typo “infected” instead as an unfortunate missed opportunity to make light of the situation.
13. “Valley Newss”
This falls into the “truly shameful” category. Newspapers always have tight deadlines, and sometimes typos happen. However in this instance, Valley News incorrectly spelled its own name.
Somewhat admirably, the paper owned up to its mistake, admitting to it in a subsequent Editor’s Note. Sure, it could have been ignored the typo and hoped no one noticed…or more accurately cared. It was the first thing readers would have seen in large font on the front page after all; Readers are going to notice.
Another alternative solution we’re half-glad the paper didn’t seem to entertain? Make the change permanent and pass it off not as a mistake but an advertisement of even more news being covered inside. That’s not a typo. It’s marketing.
14. ” Be A Biomedical Technincian”
At an institute of higher learning like Cincinnati State, you would assume basic spelling would be a priority. However, the school couldn’t get a simple four-word ad right. Thankfully being a biomedical “technician” probably has more to do with science than spelling.
At least it amounted to an easy fix. Two billboards featuring the error were reportedly replaced in due time. No word yet on how many disappointed applicants had to settle on careers as bio medical technicians instead.
15. “Republica de Chile”
Rare coins can be worth a lot. Unfortunately, 5 million of these 50-peso coins, which misspelled Chile, were issued back in 2008, with the Chilean mint opting at the time to keep them in circulation in spite of the resulting humiliation.
Typos are embarrassing to say the least. However, if you are in business long enough they are bound to happen. GlobalVision’s Spelling Inspection can help in catching errors before they go out.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been completely updated and revamped.