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Why Bad Lip Reading and Copywriters Go Together Like Whiskey and Freedom

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What did I just say?

This morning, the gym was crowded, which forced me from my usual treadmill, in front of the TV that shows the Cooking Channel (because nothing says 'keep running' quite like watching a program all about dessert) to a treadmill in front of a TV in what I like to call...no (wo)man's land, which is to say, TV's that only show sports or sports talk shows. 

At first I was annoyed. I mean, I do listen to my headphones, but having a TV show to watch while also listening to music just somehow makes the time pass by more quickly. But then a clip came on about football players called 'Bad Lip Reading' and it was soo hilarious, I found myself laughing out loud and glad that my usual machine was occupied. 

Who knew this was a thing? Watching football players say something off-mic and trying to figure out what they were saying? I'm glad it's a thing...it entertained me for 15 minutes, but I just never would've imagine people have that much time to spend worrying about what someone else did or did not say. 

And it all got me thinking about branding and specifically, copywriting. How often have you written something that once shared with your followers or consumers, doesn't 'read' quite like you had envisioned? Or doesn't actually say what you wanted it to say? Or say anything at all, for that matter. 

This is the thing about the written word. Most of us take it for granted, and figure that we all went to school, we all learned about grammar and sentence structure, and we know what we want to say. After all--how hard can it be to write a blog post? A Facebook post or for heaven's sake, a tweet?

Ask a football player who has been turned into a meme for 'supposedly' saying "I am going to use all my money to give away peacocks and buy a zamboni" (not making this up), and I think we can agree that chances shouldn't be taken with your communications. 

Obviously, when a football player or referee is speaking off camera, they don't have any reason to expect someone will misinterpret what they are saying because hey, they aren't talking to us, the TV watching audience. But the fact that people try to decipher these messages is all the more reason why paying critical attention that those messages that you do mean to send out into the world is beyond vital. A good copywriter, trained to think about what it is you want to say and how to say it, is the ace in your sleeve. And working with one can pay off in spades, both by protecting you from what you do say...and what you don't.