Take a moment to consider: you work for a design firm and one of your clients is a national restaurant chain, a subsidiary of a corporation large enough to get a foothold in malls across the entire country. You work in graphic design. You’re the last stop before the print shop. How many people saw this message cross their desk, and never thought to say a single word?
Having worked for many years typesetting this exact kind of inanity, I imagine that an AWFUL LOT OF WORDS were said about this.
By the client, whose remastered Beatles box set is his most prized possession, to the agency account executive, when proposing the headline “Strawberry Lemonade Forever”, possibly even singing the phrase as he does.
By the account executive as she shares the client’s suggestion through gritted teeth to the creative team, knowing she’ll be lectured about the proper way to write a creative brief.
By the copy writer and art director, as they lecture the account executive about the proper way to write a creative brief, all the while implying that both she and the client are idiots.
By the client again, after being presented with three perfectly adequate creative concepts, none of which he loves quite as much as his original idea.
By the account executive, who informs the art director and copywriter that the client still would like “Strawberry Lemonade Forever,” and could they please just do it and not make a stink about it.
By the art director and copy writer, who make a stink about it.
By the account executive, who has no financial incentive to keep the creatives happy, as she flatly tells them to do it.
By the art director and copy writer to the production team as they hand over the files, in a meeting where everyone gets to feel intellectually superior to the client who pays their salaries.
By the copy editor who is only just seeing it now for the first time to the traffic manager who is routing the layout, about how “Forever” is kind of a problematic and weird thing to say and had anybody thought about it before now.
By the traffic manager to the account executive as she passes along the copy editor’s question through gritted teeth, knowing that she’ll be lectured about how the copy editor should stick to punctuation and grammar.
By the overworked attorney in the client’s legal department, who doesn’t like the word “Forever” and suggests it should get an asterisk and disclaimer line.
By the account executive, who tells the production artist to add an asterisk and disclaimer line without mentioning it to the creative team.
By the art director, who thought he was done with this a week ago, demanding as he is asked to sign off on the final layout to know where this asterisk and disclaimer came from, that this is a complete joke, and that if this was always going to be a limited-time offering that should have been highlighted as a secondary message in the initial creative brief.
By the copy writer as he throws up his hands saying he doesn’t care any more and by the way he’ll be working from home tomorrow.
By the art director who explains to the production artist how he stayed late last night to rework the layout, convinced that turning “For a limited time” into a large subhead communicates better and is less offensively stupid than an asterisk and a disclaimer.
By the production artists and print managers among themselves as they make fun of the layout all day.
By the client as he approves the final layout, excited that he got to keep “Strawberry Lemonade Forever”.
By everyone at the prepress vendor and printer who sees it, until the print manager asks them will they please stop because he is so very tired of talking about it.
Now. The letterspacing between w-b, e-r, e-m and a-d? UNFORGIVEABLE.