If you ever needed confirmation that every word counts, the recent
controversy surrounding Cadbury and the National Trust’s ‘not-Easter Egg Hunt’
has surely brought it home.
For several years the National Trust has promoted egg hunts to draw in families over the Easter holidays. Cadbury has sponsored the events and supplied the chocolate eggs for the hunt. This year, the word ‘Easter’ was dropped from the event’s title, sparking immediate controversy. The Archbishop of York said it was tantamount to "spitting on the grave" of Cadbury’s Quaker founder. Even the Prime Minister weighed in, calling the move “absolutely ridiculous”. With such august figures making such strong comments, it is no surprise that a veritable hurricane swept the internet. Some took the same stance as the Archbishop and PM, while others ridiculed the controversy as trivial and/or based on inaccurate facts.
The National Trust denied trying to airbrush Easter out of their event and said the wording of the campaign was down to Cadbury. Cadbury in their turn denied any anti-Christian airbrushing and pointed out that while the word ‘Easter’ may not have appeared in the title of the event it nonetheless featured prominently across the promotional material as a whole.
Regardless of the furore, it is interesting to consider why the word ‘Easter’ was removed from the event name for 2017. Was it done in the belief that non-Christians thinking about visiting a National Trust property over the Easter period might otherwise feel the egg hunt was not for them? It seems unlikely, given the frequency of ‘Easter’ mentions used elsewhere in the promotion. Did some marketing Machiavelli anticipate the impact changing the event title would have? Doubtless many more people were aware of the egg hunts (Easter or otherwise) than would have been the case without all the controversy, but neither the National Trust nor Cadbury seem the type of brand who would want to raise their profile by picking fights.
We will probably never know for sure what the true motivation behind dropping ‘Easter’ was, but the episode serves to show the significance a single word – or in this case its omission – can have. This is especially true in the digital age, when widespread response on social media can quickly overtake the original campaigns and leave them almost obsolete.
We believe in the value of every word and select each one carefully. We insist that every piece of writing is reviewed by a second copywriter, to ensure that the message is always clear and contains no diplomatic blunders. It goes to prove that words count for more than ever before.