Last week I received an email newsletter from Buy4Now.ie (I bought a kitchen appliance through the site about a decade ago and have been on their mailing list ever since). Part of the mail was promoting an Irish business that offers wild bird food.
I was delighted to see feeding wild birds high on the agenda… but the accompanying image really annoyed me. Getting the detail right is, I think, just as important in advertising as it is in editorial. I’m not saying that mistakes can’t happen: they can and do of course. While I take great care to get facts right in the material I post on this site, I’m sure if you spend long enough and look hard enough you’ll find the occasional error. We’re all only human. But blatant, avoidable errors, in editorial or in advertising creative, are simply unacceptable.
When it comes to wildlife, advertising professionals seem happy to take a slap dash approach to the facts. Whether it’s animated penguins and polar bears hanging out together on a television ad, or southern right whales leaping clear of the water in a Failté Ireland promotional video (about 2:15 in), making sure species are placed in the right hemisphere isn’t too much to ask, is it?
In fairness to Buy4Now.ie, the bird featured in their marketing email IS from the northern hemisphere. It’s a north American house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), or at least I think it is. I could be wrong with the ID, but I’m pretty confident in my assertion that it’s a species unlikely to visit any Irish bird tables this winter.
The irksome thing is it would be so easy to source a photograph of a goldfinch, a blue tit or myriad other birds that actually visit Irish gardens in winter. Getting it right really isn’t that hard; getting it wrong is plain careless. What sort of message does that send out to potential customers?