Dog Forbid

There are many jokes about dyslexia, but are they appropriate for ads?

Several groups went berserk recently when Deutsch touted the $14,000 Mitsubishi Lancer thusly: “It must be dyslexic. It thinks it’s a $41,000 car.” “It is disappoint ing that Mitsubishi, with their millions of dollars to invest in advertising, has chosen to trivialize a serious and life-long disability!” railed EducationNews.org. Others thought it was fine. “Why can’t we just deal with it and not take things so seriously?” Nancy Von Wald, director of a Tuscon, Ariz., school for kids with dyslexia, asked the Los Angeles Times.

And now comes news that TBWA London is letting Saatchi & Saatchi use French Connection’s FCUK moniker in an awareness campaign for the Dyslexia Institute. “Dyslexia affects over 2.5 million people. Even those in advertising,” the ads will read.

Maybe mentioning dyslexia is simply therapeutic: The creative directors at the respective shops—Eric Hirshberg at Deutsch/LA and Chris Arnold at Saatchi—are both dyslexic. “Being dyslexic is nothing to be ashamed of,” Hirshberg tells Shoptalk. “Have we gotten to the point where we have to be PC to the point of paraly sis?” He adds, jokingly, “People could send me letters protesting, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to read them.”