Define ‘Purvey': It Means Something Very Different From ‘Survey’
Some of you who were at The Art of Marketing in Toronto on March 7, 2010 probably got copies of the magazine they handed out for free. If you did and you read through it you may also have read the ads. I noticed this ad – pictured above – read it and then re-read it in disbelief. (I took out all mentions of the name of the brand on purpose so please if you recognize it don’t comment with the name of the brand.)
**** Before continuing I should point out I do not know who actually worded this ad. For all I know the ad was sent from the brand to the people who put the magazine together and from there sent to a printer and somewhere after it left control of the brand someone screwed up the wording royally. If so, then I hope the brand got a bunch of money back for this ad because it made them look BAD. ****
If you’re going to try to use big words please figure out what they mean first. ‘Purvey’ does not mean the same as ‘Survey’. I don’t think this is a typo because the ‘P’ and the ‘S’ are in completely different parts of the keyboard. Let’s be clear, I am not perfect (surprised, right?). I often make mistakes in typing or use bad grammar when I write this blog. One of the things I was most guilty of in my school years was run-on sentences. HOWEVER, if I were writing an ad to go into a magazine to be given out to hundreds or thousands of people I’d like to think I’d be a lot more cautious with my editing.
Purvey according to TheFreeDictionary:
- To supply (food, for example); furnish.
- To advertise or circulate.
Does that word make sense in the sentence as put together by this advertiser? “We also send out an exclusive eBlast, after we purvey your city to find the best stuff for young professionals.” The word SURVEY would make sense in that sentence, “We also send out an exclusive eBlast, after we survey your city to find the best stuff for young professionals.” However, the word purvey does not. That sentence as it was published basically says that this website sends out an exclusive eBlast, after they supply your city and then, somehow by supplying the city, manage to find the best stuff for young professionals. Maybe because they supply it they know where it is? That makes no sense because that isn’t what that website does and it still doesn’t make sense because why would they have to find it if they supplied it? Do they supply it to people in a back alley somewhere and then have to go out a couple of hours later and find out what happened to the ‘best stuff’ they supplied and where it ended up? I doubt it.
I wonder how many people read that ad, laughed about it, and will never take that brand seriously again. Maybe they were relying on the bulk of people not knowing what the word meant and just reading it contextually? It looks to me as if they were trying to sound refined and cool and knowledgeable and instead – in my mind – they just came off looking foolish. It also appears to me as if they need better editing. Again, as I mentioned before starting this post – for all I know they didn’t put the word purvey in there, they wrote survey and someone screwed up. Maybe it is an example of a Damn You Auto-Correct situation somehow. Maye we will never know.
I invite the brand to get in touch with me and let me know what happened with this ad.