In recent weeks, I have noticed an advertisement emblazoned on the backs of many Sheffield buses. It's for "Plusnet" a South Yorkshire based broadband provider who have been enlarging their niche in this lucrative market. Their headline slogan is "We Won't Be Beat on Price" which is of course grammatically incorrect. As a (former?) English teacher and lifelong pedant, this slogan grew to irritate me so much that I fired off a complaint to the company. Here it is:-
I wish to make a strong complaint about the slogan recently adopted by Plusnet and emblazoned, for example, on the backs of many Sheffield buses, namely - "We won't be beat on price". This is grammatically incorrect. The slogan should read: "We won't be beaten on price". This blatant error gives a very bad message to school children who are still learning to develop their literacy skills and it also begs this question - if Plusnet cannot produce grammatically acceptable slogans how can potential customers possibly believe that Plusnet will get their phone and broadband services right? N.B. I would be most grateful if you could pass this legitimate complaint up along the chain of command and not simply ignore it. Thank you.
A gentleman from the company at least took the time and trouble to respond to my complaint. Here's their response:-
Dear Mr Yorkshire Pudding,Whilst we take your feedback on board, we're trying to get our Yorkshire heritage across, hence the colloquial use of the English language.Our campaign aims to show some of the positive values associated with Yorkshire that we feel are also true of Plusnet. I am sorry to hear you feel offended by this.I hope my explanation helps clarify matters.Regards,Thomas SouthPlusNet Customer Support__________________________________________Naturally, I couldn't let Plusnet have the last word so a follow-up complaint was fired off from my bunker this morning:-__________________________________________Dear Mr South,Thank you for taking the time and the trouble to respond to my complaint about your "Won't be beat on price" advertisement.As a proud Yorkshireman myself, I am afraid I cannot see how grammatical inaccuracy in any way reflects my Yorkshire heritage. In my view, your slogan represents a dumbing down of the English language and as I suggested before simply reinforces a typical mistake that teachers have to address every day in our schools. It is an error born out of many children's inability to easily distinguish between the spoken word and the written word.I guess we will have to beg to differ on this. If your ad had said something that was very obviously colloquial such as "Ee by gum...Plusnet! They're reght ont price", I would have had no complaint whatsoever and I think most Yorkshire folk would have seen the point of the oral connectivity.Yours sincerely,Yorkshire Pudding (Sir)So that's Yorkshire Pudding 2 Plusnet 1 and you dear readers can now finally see what an annoying fellow I really am. What do you think? Are there healthier ways in which I should be spending my time? "I Won't Be Beaten on Ranting!"