Red alert – are we starting to ‘take back control’ of words?

Creative advertising lecturer Andrew Boulton gives a copywriter’s view of the UK's confusing corona communication. In possibly the slenderest portion of silver lining since David Brent landed that promotion, at least the coronavirus has given us a way to demand more from words. The government’s new 3-step slogan – Stay Alert. Control The Virus. Save Lives – has attracted, understandably, some ridicule. Imagine that Nike had deposited ‘Just Do It’ in the home for decrepit athletes and unveiled ‘Perhaps Attempt Something’ and we would be at a comparable level of ‘huh?’The vagueness – some might say, meaninglessness – of the new slogan has at least provided a mass writer's prompt for more eloquent and effective observations.

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