An eagle-eyed schoolboy who forced Tesco to correct the grammar on its packaging has clashed with BMW over the wording of an advert – prompting an hilarious email exchange.
Brainbox Albert Gifford, 15, sparked a major rebrand after writing to the supermarket chain questioning its use of the phrase “most tastiest” on its orange juice cartons.
Now the fastidious teen has taken on the car brand in a series of emails over a grammatical inaccuracy in the BMW 2 Series Coupe ad.
The commercial features the slogan “it bites as bad as it barks” – which Albert claims is wrong because ‘bad’ is not an adverb.
His complaint went right to the top of the advertising department, which eventually admitted the inaccuracy – but insisted it was an intentional play on the well-known phrase.
GCSE student Albert, of Shepton Mallet, Somerset, went on the warpath after watching the advert as he waited to watch Godzilla at the cinema.
In his initial email to BMW on May 19, he wrote: “The whole advert was ruined by the slogan “it bites as bad as it barks”. This is grammatically incorrect, as ‘bad’ is not an adverb, so cannot be used in this context.
“The word “badly” would be acceptable or even more exciting alternatives like “fiercely”. It would also be correct to say “its bite is as bad as its bark”. I was distracted with it throughout Godzilla, and didn’t enjoy it fully.”
Three days later he got a reply from Ashley Parker, Customer Service Executive at BMW UK.
He wrote: “I am sorry to learn of your disappointment in relation to the phrasing which featured in the advertisement for the BMW 2 Series Coupe.
“I can certainly understand your frustration, especially as it caused you distraction throughout your cinematic experience.
“I can confirm that I have forwarded your email to our Advertising Department, who will assess your dissatisfaction in due course.”
But when Albert failed to receive any further correspondence, he fired off an angry email on June 3 about the “response promised to me regarding my grammar issue”.
Two days later he received a full explanation from Mr Parker, who wrote: “The advertisement for the BMW 2 Series Coupe is supported by the strap line, ‘Bites as bad as it barks’.
“The way that this line is presented is deliberate as it draws its intelligence from playing on the well known phrase and duality of this being a BMW with an edge.
“During the advertisement you will hear the bark and so the ‘promise’ is what you would expect from such a bark which is the bite.
“I thank you once again for providing us with your feedback. I trust that the information provided, clarifies our decision on the advertisement.”
Unimpressed, Albert wrote back pointing out that he had “already decoded the very intelligent reference to a well-known phrase”.
But he added: “I would, however, like to point out that it is still grammatically incorrect.
“The phrase you are referring to is ‘its bark is worse than its bite’, or ‘it barks worse than it bites’ in a few cases.
“I have never heard the word ‘bad’ used in this particular saying, but if it were, it would look something like ‘its bark is more bad than its bark’ or ‘it barks more badly than it bites’ (as you can see, these are hardly correct.)
“In no well-known saying is ‘bad’ used as an adverb. You can look it up in a dictionary if you like, and it will describe it as an ADJECTIVE (and maybe even a noun), which it is.”
But in a final email, Mr Parker again apologises and draws a line under the matter.
“Your continued frustration is acknowledged, however, I believe that I have researched your concerns thoroughly and cannot provide any additional information,” he wrote.
But cheeky Albert rounded off the lengthy exchange with a final dig.
He wrote: “By ‘researched’ I hope you mean that you have realised that the phrase is incorrect and it is imperative that it is changed.”
Albert has applied to study A Levels in human biology, chemistry, maths and psychology at Strode College in Street, Somerset, next year and wants to read medicine at university.
He hit the headlines in March this year after Tesco conceded it was incorrect to describe the oranges used in its juice as the “most tastiest”.
Tesco agreed to review the wording after Albert suggested it should be changed to “tastiest” or “most tasty”.