December 15, 2005posterwireMarketing, Posters4
The 40-Year-Old Virgin movie poster

The 40-Year-Old Virgin movie poster

To Hyphen or Not to Hyphen the Virgin

There’s an old adage among film advertising art directors when dealing with unnecessary pain and suffering at the hands of a studio client with an MBA:

“At least I’m not a copy writer.”

There’s also an old adage among film advertising copywriters when dealing with unnecessary pain and suffering at the hands of a studio client with an MBA:

“At least I’m not a copy editor.”

(We guess this “At least I’m not…” downhill progression continues until it ends somewhere around working at the front gate on the studio lot.)

The weblogs Defamer and The Velvet Blog have picked up on the frustration of virgins everywhere when a keen-eyed observer noted the missing hyphen in the title on The 40-Year-Old Virgin one-sheet, only to see it return on the DVD key art. (That missing hyphen would translate to 40 One-Year-Old Virgins versus a single 40-Year-Old-Virgin.)

We’re guessing execs at the studio didn’t really care about the proper punctuation, and simply went with the all-governing mantra of what “looked better” (to them). We’ve never heard of any film ad exec ever breaking open to read an ad placement company’s “style guide” — unless it’s spelled out in a “contractual”, anything is possible when it comes to copy on a poster.

Sniping aside, this type of punctuation pain isn’t exclusive to copywriters and proofreaders — many a graphic designer has cringed at all those “foot marks” (') taking the place of a proper “apostrophe” (’) in titles/logos/copylines/etc.

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  1. adminDecember 15, 2005 at 9:46 AMReply

    P.S. I know that this entry (and entire weblog) needs a lot of copy editing/proofing, corrected punctuation marks, etc. ;)

  2. ToddDecember 15, 2005 at 2:02 PMReply

    I don’t know why, but I’m shocked that companies take the time and effort to make the corrections, seemingly as a response to the protestations of a few grammatically correct people (and thank God they’re there). It just seems like the kind of thing they wouldn’t care about. It happened before with “That 70s Show”, too, which was originally advertised as “That 70’s Show”. I would say I’m *always* shocked by it, but these are the only two instances I can think of.

  3. DestinDecember 16, 2005 at 7:07 AMReply

    There was also the case of that movie where David Arquette and Kari Wuhrer fought all those giant spiders. You remember the movie, right? “Eight Freaks With Legs?”

    Going back further, I remember seeing the poster for The Jetsons: The Movie, which thanks to a misplaced apostrophe, was billed as “The first movie from the family that’s truly ahead of it is time!”

    Although now all the poster images I can find online use the correct “its,” so either it was quickly corrected or I imagined it.

  4. A.J.December 22, 2005 at 8:09 PMReply

    Let’s not forget about that moronic Kutcher movie “The Boss’s Daughter”.

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