Disney Needs To Fire Its US PR Agency

You may have noticed we're sticklers for accuracy, spelling, grammar and punctuation here at Lifehacker. We think accuracy matters — especially if you're representing one of the biggest companies on the planet.

Mickey Mouse picture from Shutterstock

This week, Disney released a trailer for its upcoming animated movie Frozen. As is par for the course with these things, the trailer was sent to various news outlets and entertainment blogs along with an official statement from the company:

In "Frozen," fearless optimist Anna (voice of 'Kristen Bell' ) teams up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of 'Jonathan Groff' ) and his loyal reindeer Sven in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna's sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

There are a few things wrong with this press release. First off, the opening sentence is arguably too long, but as it's technically error-free we'll let that slide. The more glaring issue is the repetitive sentence that follows. That's just bad writing and suggests the missive wasn't proofread before it was fired off to thousands of journalists.

There's also a lack of consistency: why are only two actors' names contained in quotation marks? If we want to get really nit-picky, film titles are supposed to be written in italics too. That's quite a roster of errors for a single paragraph from a multi-billion dollar movie studio.

Instead of generating discussion about the movie — which is the chief point of a press release — the announcement has caused most movie forums to poke fun at the slipshod phrasing.

Here's a small sample of reader reactions from the movie website Aint It Cool News:

But I wonder if they will be "encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf" — they must since they listed twice.

Wonderfully written press release from somewhere that has no copywriters nor proofreaders.

That snowman should know that "you never go full retard."

Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf

There's also Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf — Gotta stay on message.

holy shit that was repetitive as fuck

This just goes to show that even a relatively minor error can cause your company headaches. Deadlines can make quality writing tough, but it always pays to proofread!

[Via Aint It Cool News]

See also: Has Pixar Still Got It? | Spend Less And See More At The Cinema | Can The Splendour Of 4K Save A Crap Movie?

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


Comments

    Really?
    You're writing stinging articles about grammar now?
    Slow news week then?

      Mind Your Language has been a regular LH feature since 2010.

      Lifehacker’s Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.

        @chrisjager @finaldelerium
        This isn't "mind your language" it's let's get picky about some press release that no one cares about. The "mind your language articles" actually have "mind your language" in the title! Sorry Chris but that's my opinion, no doubt many will disagree!

        Last edited 21/06/13 11:12 am

          Actually, most of them don't contain Mind Your Language in the title. And we've used the column to point out press release errors on several occasions. (I'd also refute the "you're just being picky" charge -- as the included reader comments show, the garbled press release had a negative impact.)

            Grammar in a comment driven forum has been a bugbear of mine for quite awhile now. I get really peeved when someone reads a persons comment and then replies about to the grammar rather than the content, this imo is bloody rude and to an extent elitist. So dedicating an article to what is essentially a PR blurb is somewhat pointless. It doesn't teach anybody anything except how to be picky about the grammar of others. Considering the amount of poor grammar that manifests itself in an awful lot of articles written for HL and Giz I think getting the pot clean before calling the kettle black should be an imperative.

              The reader reactions on AICN gave me a chuckle and I thought it was worth sharing. To each their own...

    Disney is blackballed in my books. If you want a reason to REALLY dislike Disney, just read this article,

    http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20020305_sprigman.html

    Want to know why the whole "public domain" is completely screwed? One word ... DISNEY. The damage this has done to creativity is staggering.

    Wait - the content of an article can be wildly innaccurate, but if spelling and punctuation are OK it gets a pass?

    What if there were no Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls OR a snowman named Olaf [hilarious or other]... wouldn't you consider that just as important as the grammar?

      The movie is actually a kitchen sink drama directed by Ken Loach. :-P

        People pay to see movies about kitchen sinks? Wow! To each their own...

    I think it is a valid point. It shows that either English classes are not being pushed in Media degrees, or the old system that worked well in print for years (writer --> copywriter --> editor --> print) has been shortened to just writer --> publish online.

      My son is doing a media degree and I can tell you there's no english classes in it. Surprised ? The shortening you speak of in the last part of your comment is quite right. Its a cost cutting measure. Anything to make more profit and pay less.

      Last edited 21/06/13 2:21 pm

    I don't understand the hate about an interesting article showing us the readers a sneak peek behind the scenes. I write a fair amount of media on a variety of mediums and it is good to be reminded that even a quick check is better than none.
    I usually try to read the text out aloud (or in my head) just to make sure it doesn't sound bad or repeat.
    Thanks Chris!

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