Copy writer – copy wrong

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

If you happen to be a radio listener, the reality is there is no escaping advertisements.

The choice is to change stations or simply tune out the ads and then resume your listening pleasure. In my case, I often find myself unable to tune out the ads and for some time now I have been meaning to comment on some of the advertisements written in poor taste or bad judgment.

Long before I got into mainstream media, I did a stint in advertising on the client side as well as on the agency side, and I can say here and now that the copy or the advertisements produced then were a whole lot more sensible, promoted the good things about the “product” or the positive benefits from a “product.” Back then, the creative people disdained “stupidity” – “shallowness” and especially those that promoted idiocy, sounded idiotic or were just plain negative.

Nowadays, the system seems to have gone the opposite direction and copy writers seem to be able to get away or make hay by making storylines that promote bad vibes, wrong values or make fun of otherwise tragic situations. One fast food brand which promotes heavily on radio, dishes out ads where the storyline centers on someone who is living on a shoestring budget but always gets dragged into eating at the fast food joint and can do so because they have budget meals. Given the millions of Filipinos who live on shoestring budgets or are flat broke in between paydays, I find it in really bad taste to write “copy” centered on someone with a thin wallet and who should not be dragged or pressured by the barkada to eat at the fast food joint. You are either mocking the financial limitations of millions of employees or you are brainwashing the same people into thinking that it’s ok to live beyond your means or spend your limited budget on food that has very limited nutritional value.

Then there are those copywriters who apparently think it’s alright to cast doubts or aspersions on organic-based remedies and openly suggesting that tested organic remedies are not good for the health or can’t fix a cough or similar ailments. Instead they want us to buy and consume their cough syrup that is sugar loaded, spiked with some version of alcohol and contains some of the same organic plant-based material that they said was ineffective and unsafe in the first place. It is one thing for government to require advertisers to say if their product has no proven medical benefits, but if you attack your competitor saying natural or organic products are worthless and useless, that is excessive and unprofessional. Another “Copy-Wrong” that gets my goat is the group that calls people aged 50 and above as “Lolo or Lola” or grandparents. I’ve written about this before and I’ll keep saying it again: that is bad copy!  That sort of writing and mentality is what convinces people to become old, act old, think old and live old. I may be a senior citizen but I still roll with my “Bros” who are in their 30s – 40s and 50s. I don’t allow them to call me “Sir” or “Tito”. You can call me “Kuyang” or “Bro” but if you call me Lolo, you’re gonna get your mouth washed! I am not living in denial or trying to look or act young. I just don’t respect people who in their twisted pursuit of selling vitamins and nutritionals will come up with fictitious labels and inane generalizations. Silver hair or turning 50 does not make you a Lolo; having actual grandchildren does! Drinking a vitamin for old people will not make you young, thinking you are old makes you old and that is what the copy-wrong writer is making you believe while his clients get your money in the hustle.

Instead of being grammar Nazis, people out there should be paying more attention to the copy-wrong writers and creative-not people in ad agencies who fan fear, promote wrong values and attitudes, and create unhealthy stereotypes. If journalists are required to be accountable for their work, it is my sincere belief that copy writers should have twice as much responsibility and sensitivity before writing advertising copy that can either promote the product or ridicule certain segments of the public.

*      *      *

After reading about the difficulty encountered by travelers arriving at Clark Airport and heading for Baguio, we received the email below which is definitely welcomed news.

Hi Cito,

Happy New Year! I loved following your journey around the islands during the holidays.

Anyway, I read your column last Jan. 3 and I am happy to share with you the P2P bus schedules from Clark to Baguio and vice versa, in response to the concern raised by one of your readers. This P2P bus service is operated by Genesis Bus Transport. Same scheduled have been published in the CRK Facebook page recently.

Baguio to Clark





7:00pm via JoyBus (semi deluxe)

Fare: P450 (regular aircon bus)

P500 (JoyBus semi deluxe)

Clark to Baguio


12:30pm via JoyBus (semi deluxe)




Fare: P450 (regular aircon bus)

P500 (JoyBus semi deluxe)

Hope this helps. Thank you so much!


Teri Flores

Corporate Communications

*      *      *

Email: [email protected]

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with