more mistakes from the bearded one

Bob Garfield has an issue with doing basic research. I don’t know what his issue with it is, but every time I read one of his columns I find glaring and simple errors that could have been fixed had he bothered to, say, Google the subject.

For example, in his column today about the 72andsunny Guy Ritchie-shot spot for Nike, he says:

The video, like the soccer campaign itself, is tagged “Take it to the next level.” It’s a POV story — minus dialogue or narration — of a talented soccer player who somehow is plucked to play for England’s Arsenal. In the opening scene, from his last match as an amateur, he is awarded a penalty kick — which he drives over the defensive wall and bends like Beckham into the goal.

From that point on, all again through our faceless hero’s eyes, we see his career go to the next level, including women, autographs and eye-popping on-the-field action. This is all recorded via classically swooping, quick-cutting Ritchie camera work until the culmination of the guy’s transition to stardom: a penalty kick, in front of 40,000 roaring fans, exactly like the one he scored on his neighborhood pitch.

Maybe Bob is not a soccer fan. Maybe he is mailing it in these days. Maybe it was too challenging to take the 0.0043 seconds to find out that the situation in the spot is not actually a penalty kick, but rather a free kick and that there is a large difference between the two (roughly, penalty kick is to short field goal – almost guaranteed – as free kick is to two-point conversion – much more challenging and unlikely to succeed).

It’s a little embarrassing that a professional makes so many simple errors.

He writes only a single column a week! He has editors who read his stuff before it’s printed! This is his actual job! Yet he still makes mistakes.

This is a small one, granted, but the small mistakes are almost more irritating, especially as coming from a guy who consistently pokes holes in commercials for the slightest of flaws. The top drawer bloggers do a better job of getting the details right, not to mention the fact that they are more prolific and timely (the Nike spot was bandied about the blogs last week) more engaging and entertaining to boot.

Proper journalists who do the research and track down the stories are important insofar as most bloggers, who do this unprofessionally and don’t have the resources to, say, report from Cannes or track down bigwigs at BBDO for the story behind their new campaign, simple cannot replicate what they do. Print opinion writers, especially ones like Bob Garfield who write irregularly published, mistake-prone columns, are archaic.

Why wait all week for the single Garfield column about an ad that I’ve already read well-written critiques of (by actual advertising professionals who know what they are talking about) a week ago?

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One response to “more mistakes from the bearded one

  1. agree. you’d think everyone on the planet would know what a penalty kick looks like by now. sigh!

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