Wednesday, June 13, 2007


"Bring your favorite bottle of wine, and on Wednesdays there's no corkage fee!" "A bar where you can enjoy your favorite cocktail!" "Take advantage of our 'accent wall' plan and get one wall of your apartment painted your favorite color!"

OK now. My favorite bottle of wine may not go with the cuisine offered by a no-corkage-Wednesdays place that advertises on the radio. Hell, my favorite bottle of wine is probably one I can't afford. My favorite cocktail? I dunno, maybe the Cable Car, a variation on the sidecar offered at select Las Vegas Strip establishments? It's not offered at the bar I'm inventing for the sake of argument here, so I guess I'm not welcome. And my favorite color is a hunter or emerald green of some sort, but that's not necessarily the color I'd paint my "accent wall" if I rented a place at the complex I'm inventing for the sake of argument here, so I guess I'm not allowed to opt for my second- or third-favorite color.

Yes, my point is that "favorite" is an ad-speak cliche best avoided in actual writing. What, you think I'm being overly literal? Well, bite me.

But don't actually bite me.


Blork said...

THANK YOU! As someone who writes marketing copy for a living, I am particularly offended by badly-written marketing copy. It's not unusual for some big shot to draft some copy and to pass it down to me for "spell checking." Then I have to rewrite the whole thing while finding a reason to justify my doing so (the obvious reason doesn't seem justifiable to them).

Regarding "your favorite bottle of wine," one could dissect even further. It's not just, as you say, that your "favorite bottle" of wine might not be appropriate for that evening, or it might be something that you can't even afford; that statement almost implies it is one, singular bottle of wine (as opposed to a bottle of your favorite wine).

Personally, my favorite bottle of wine was a bottle of Burgundy that a winemaker gave me after I visited his winery near Beaune, France. I carried that bottle around with me for about three weeks. Then, on the last night of my two month European project, I met up with friends and colleagues in Paris and they took me to a small but very nice restaurant in Montmartre. We popped open the bottle there, drank it with our meal. It felt like rose petals on my tongue.

That was my favorite bottle of wine. I drank it 14 years ago.

Hatholder said...

This post is why you are my favorite copy editor.

JD (The Engine Room) said...

Your favourite bottle of wine may well be one you can't afford, or one that you have drunk already, but if you were to take it to that restaurant on a Wednesday there would be no corkage fee. So the copy is, technically, accurate.

What I'm wondering is: if you bring a bottle of wine that isn't your favourite, do you then have to pay corkage? And what sort of tests does the restaurant run to determine whether the bottle of wine you've brought is indeed your favourite, or just something you've grabbed from the rack?