New England Cord Blood Bank is a major US player in the business of freezing cord blood at birth, for possible later use in stem cell therapy. In launching their UK operation, the company asked me to review their US marketing brochure, and advise on its suitability for use in the UK market.

This, of course, entails far more than simple de-Americanisation of the written English. What’s required is an assessment of how the nuance of the American text will need to be adapted for the UK market, and in this particular situation the difference was marked. The sample below is not of the copy itself, but of my margin notes supplied to the client as a review of their original document. UK market copy adaptation for New England Cord Blood Bank.

completed: 2003
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General notes for page 2.

1) Ltd, to denote a UK Limited Company, is not separated from the name of the company by a comma. thus: Red Fish Ltd is correct, whereas Red Fish, Ltd. is not. This is in contrast with the comma correctly placed before Inc in the US.

2) Affordable. The headline is fine, and the second para reads perfectly acceptably now, but I might be tempted to replace ‘most affordable’ on line 3 of para#2 with ‘best value for money’. Affordable is somehow subjective, whereas value for money is sought by all. Just a point to think over.

3) I think the tone of this piece benefits from the informality of some ‘s. Thus: ‘You’ll’; we’ve etc. Matter of preference, but it’s how I’d have written it, in this case.

General notes for page 3

1) I’ve supplied a rewrite for paragraph 1 as marked. Please view the copy at that point now. Within that rewrite, I would consider leaving out the following sentence entirely “In addition to the UK, there are dedicated centres in Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico.”

My reason for saying this is that, with the exception of Turkey, which we in the UK tend wrongly still to think of as somewhat backwards, the other countries are all in Central or South America, and this may make UKCBB seem like a very slight outpost of an organisation with all its heart across the Atlantic.

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