I spotted this full-pager in Dwell. Let me count the ways this bugs me:
1. Unlike some of the creative directors I have worked for, I think puns have their place in advertising. Unless they are totally gratuitous and have nothing to do with the product. DING!
2. I’d bet that, like me, most people in the U.S. know the “Keep Calm And Carry On” slogan from a series of British Airways posters from some years ago that played off the meme. Even if the BA campaign wasn’t the inspiration, “Keep Calm and Carry On” originally was created as an ad campaign by the British Ministry of Information to boost public morale during WWII. Malley’s Unwritten Rule of Copywriting #2 states, “You may create ad headlines that play off pop culture tropes ONLY IF said pop culture tropes are not advertising themselves.” That means no “Got Cat Food?” No “Where’s the Bargains?” And no “Keep Calm and Coupon.”
3. “Coupon” is not supposed to be a verb. “Verbing weirds language.”—Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes
4. This, this, this, this and this should be ample evidence that “Keep Calm” has been done to death.
5. It’s just dum.
6. Other than that, I got no problem with it.