When one word turns you off a brand

I love B&Q. I’m quite a fan of power tools and DIY. Nothing like bashing down a few walls to get the blood pumping. I could happily while away hours looking at paint and bathroom fixtures. But I think my love affair with B&Q has come to an end. And it’s because of one word.

Last week B&Q ran a new commercial. It’s about turning the unloved spaces and rooms in our homes into something we can be proud of.  Great idea. We all have that one grubby room in our house that needs a little TLC. The ad features some uplifting music by the popular songbird, Pixie Lott. And Rob Brydon (actor, comedian) does a lilting voiceover.  All good.

Then 50 seconds into the advert my mouth dropped open. Did I just hear Rob telling me to ‘vajazzle my bedroom’. What?  For anyone not familiar with the term it’s a verb that means to adorn your, erm, lady parts, with decoration (usually sparkly crystal bits).  Not exactly the connection you want with your local DIY store.

I decided I must have misheard, no copywriter could be insane enough to use a word like that. A few reruns on You Tube and a quick scout of social media and it appears lots of people heard the same thing. A few argued the word was actually ‘bejazzle’.  If that’s the case then that’s almost worse. A bad move by the creative and copywriting team involved. It’s a made-up word that doesn’t mean anything, and is likely to be misheard as a word you most definitely don’t want associated with your brand.

It would be easy to dismiss this is a bit of fun. How could one word damage a brand? Words make us feel things. And people act on their feelings. It might not stop me from going to B&Q but it might make me think again about the alternatives. That’s not something I would have done before that advert.

So take your time to consider the words you use when speaking to customers. Don’t just think about clever copywriting or whether they do the job. It’s the feeling they leave behind that really counts.