Famous American Corporations vs. Famous American Authors


This week at the minnesota review we will be testing our readers’ knowledge of craft advice vs. corporate slogans. The following are either quotes about writing from famous American Authors, or commercial slogans from famous American Corporations. Please match the following quotes, or commercial slogans with the correct corresponding sources. Don’t cheat!

  1. Rewrite history. Redefine the position.”
  2. Give it, give it all, give it now.”
  3. Impossible is nothing.”
  4. You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
  5. Be what’s next.”
  6. Hope begins in the dark.”
  7. Think different.”
  8. Challenge everything.”
  9. Call it passion.”
  10. What you feel is what you know.”

Please write the corresponding number in the provided lines.

Stephen King in On Writing: A Memoir (____)

Adidas commercial slogan (____)

Ted Kooser & Steven Cox in Writing Brave and Free (____)

Windows commercial slogan (____)

Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird (____)

Apple commercial slogan (____)

Stephen Koch in The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop (____)

Annie Dillard in a book with almost the same name (____)

EA Sports commercial slogan (____)

Nike commercial slogan (____)

Answer Key

  1. Nike commercial slogan
  2. Annie Dillard
  3. Adidas commercial slogan
  4. Stephen King
  5. Microsoft Windows commercial slogan
  6. Anne Lamott
  7. Apple commercial slogan
  8. E.A. Sports commercial slogan
  9. Stephen Koch
  10. Ted Kooser & Steven Cox

What Your Scorecard Says About You:

If you got 100% correct: Congratulations! You are adept at understanding the differences between meaningless corporate pap and the inspirational subtleties of the craft book genre. The distinctions are clear to you and the serious artist is obviously strong within your being. The Apple corporation cannot persuade you with their handsome, competitively priced devices, nor can EA Sports impress you with the latest Rory Mcllroy PGA Tour Xbox game. Your score is impressive and your creative future is bright. Rejoice!

If you got 80% correct: You’re on the right track, and, no doubt, someday will have amassed as much pedagogical craft knowledge as these famous and influential writers and be able to instill this wisdom on other wide-eyed scriveners like yourself. Perhaps you confused Stephen King for the Adidas corporation. Not to worry, when asked by our editorial team, even the King of Horror himself was unable to pick out his own craft advice compared to this shell-toed German powerhouse. You’re in good company, young author. Keep at it!

If you got 50% correct: Okay. Not the worst, not the best. This game wasn’t all that easy to begin with, so it’s not entirely your fault. It’s true that Anne Lamont and the Nike corporation often sound similar in their inspirational rhetoric, though one is a certified serious American artist and the other the maker of the very comfy and sheik Vapor Stretch Board Shorts. But, in the end, which is really more important? Will Bird by Bird keep your shoulders warm on your fifteen-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Will Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers shield your aching feet as you run ball on three much younger and extremely fit college kids in your neighborhood? We at the minnesota review, cannot make this decision for you. You’ve been a great sport!

If you got 25% correct: Hmmm. Well, 2.5 out of 10 isn’t that bad. Not really sure how you actually got a 2.5. Maybe you’re the indecisive type, unlike Annie Dillard who writes in simple, declarative statements and is very persuasive in terms of her writerly advice. Microsoft seems to have taken the same tack here, with their forward-thinking slogan and although they may not have written the classic Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, they do make a really excellent and efficient operating system. You’re probably reading this right now on a Windows operating system, in fact. So, which is a more successful work of art, dear contestant, Microsoft Windows, or Mornings Like This by Annie Dillard? We at the minnesotta review have no opinions. Better luck next time!

If you got 0% correct: Welp, you didn’t get a single one right. It’s a tough blow, to be sure, but do not fret. We hear that Google, Yahoo, Target, Reebok, J. Crew, Dell, Hobby Lobby, Walgreen’s, Express, Tesla, Red Lobster, Home Depot, and quite a few other famous American corporations are hiring writers right now. Rumor has it that their slogan creators make slightly more than you’d make in the publishing game anyway. Better benefits too. And let’s face it, your family will probably respect you more. Take heart, aspiring wordsmith. Your future is safe in their hands. Thanks for playing!

Travis McDonald, a native of Massachusetts, received his bachelor’s in English from The University of Texas at Austin, and is currently an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech. His work has appeared in Atticus Review, The Adirondack Review, and Five [Quarterly].


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