Singaporean telecoms provider M1 placed a full page newspaper advert promoting their ‘GamePRO’ fibre optic broadband package – but accidentally used the phone number of one of their biggest rivals in the call to action.

The advert – placed in the Straits Times in 2012 – asked readers to visit their site or call 1633 for more information on the promotion. But this number was for its rival, StarHub, and should have been 1623.

What does good look like?

Always check your copy! If you can, get someone else to proofread it too.

A spell check alone does not replace a thorough proofread. You can’t rely on computers alone, as a correctly spelled word in the wrong place won’t get picked up. Reading the copy backwards can help you catch those that the computer won’t.

A human eye is usually best (if they have a good grasp of spelling and punctuation) but online tools such as can be useful.

Typos can still be missed though. Our brains have an ability to fill in the blanks and see what it thinks we want to see. We tend to scan or glance over copy we haven’t had to be creative to write (such as telephone numbers and addresses), assuming they are already correct, so make a particular effort to check these ’consistent’ items.

Moving forward

What’s the moral of this Bad Marketing story for you? What should M1 have done differently? What will you do differently in future?

Please comment below and share if you found this article useful.

Story originally found on