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When it comes to writing about alcohol, one false move can land you in hot water. You must walk the fine line between selling your product, and not promoting irresponsible behaviour.

The answer for many brands is to sell an atmosphere or tell a story. You see it all the time in TV ads and social media – but how do you then set the same mood in the limited space on back of pack copy?

Capturing the personality

As well as describing the flavour, ingredients and offering a serving suggestion, the words need to convey a brand’s identity. Just like fashion or cars, someone’s favourite tipple ‘labels’ their personality type – whether they’re a serious connoisseur or a party animal. So the tone should adjust accordingly: reflective and thoughtful for a single malt sipped after dinner; but fizzing with energetic taste metaphors for a spirit served in trendy nightclubs.

Thinking out of the bottle

Telling stories is one tried and trusted writing technique, made easier by plenty of alcohol brands possessing a genuine and interesting history. You have beer brewed in medieval monasteries. Vodkas and rums that have survived revolutions, wars and prohibition. There are even accidental discoveries to talk about: such as with Jameson’s Select Reserve when some oak barrels caught fire, and the whiskey inside was found to have picked up a pleasing smokiness.

Raising a glass to tradition

Attitudes and rituals, including how a particular drink is traditionally enjoyed at a certain time of the day, can also help with thinking up lateral ideas – and creating that one clever, all-encompassing strapline to appear on the bottle when there’s no room for any other text.

The eccentric British humour in Raise a glass to PIMMS o’clock wittily demonstrates how a drink can ‘own’ an occasion. Stella Artois invented the famous Reassuringly expensive line, which succinctly implied that the quality of the beer is reflected by its higher than average price. And Guinness’s Good things come to those who wait campaign worked as brilliantly for its TV epics as it did on cans of draught Guinness.

In fact, some of the most original, award-winning advertising copy ever written has been for alcohol brands. And for a skilful, creative copywriter, finding the right words to describe a drink on a 20cm square label can be a wonderfully satisfying challenge.

We’ll drink to that (responsibly of course).

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The English language is full of weird and wonderful phrases. With so many to choose from, it’s not surprising that we sometimes get them wrong.

Here we sort the moots from the mutes, and the fell from the foul, and explore some of our most popular ‘eggcorns’ – those linguistic turns of phrase that we just can’t quite get right.

To be on tenterhooks, not tenderhooks

This phrase, meaning ‘to feel tense’ or ‘be in a state of uneasy suspense’, originates from the cloth industry. Damp fabric is fastened to a frame, or ‘tenter’, to stretch it so it dries evenly. The cloth is attached using hooks, which wouldn’t be all that useful if they were soft and tender.

With one fell swoop, or foul?

You might say ‘with one foul swoop’ to mean something happening very suddenly. But the line is actually ‘with one fell swoop’, from Macbeth. As with other Shakespearean misquotes, such as ‘all that glitters is not gold’ (originally ‘glisters’), the mistaken quote has become more popular than the bard’s own words.

Making a moot point, not a mute point

If a point is moot, it is impractical or irrelevant. Mute points are always left unsaid.

Did it go off like a damp squib, or squid?

This phrase, which refers to something that fails to live up to expectations, leads to one of our more surreal slip-ups. A squib is a miniature explosive device that, if damp, would fail to go off. A squid – unless deep-fried with crispy batter – can reasonably be expected to be on the moist side.

Many more mistakes only appear when written down. With one wrong letter, you could end up ‘towing’ the line rather than ‘toeing it’. And if you’re waiting with ‘baited’, rather than ‘bated’ breath, your readers may think you should consider changing your toothpaste.

To avoid any confusion, it helps to have someone cast an eye over your writing. To make sure you always say what you mean.

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What makes a great World Cup: the triumph, the tears, Lionel Messi… or is it the taglines? As well as the host – 'All in one rhythm™' – each of the 32 teams has submitted their own slogan. We’ve picked some of our favourites from the jingoistic jumble.

Australia: 'Socceroos: Hopping our way into history!'

We’ve heard of dribbling, nutmegging and diving… but hopping? While it’s not a traditional approach, let’s not rule it out.

It might be a little silly, but Australia’s tagline features their unofficial national animal – and suggests a fun personality.

Cameroon: 'A lion remains a lion'

A zebra remains a zebra. And a caterpillar can turn into a butterfly – but that’s a whole different story. While slightly mysterious, having such a powerful animal in Cameroon’s tagline calls to mind authority and strength.

Chile: 'Chi Chi Chi! Le Le Le! Go Chile'

Simple and straightforward. It might not be the most symbolic of slogans, but it certainly gives the fans an easy-to-remember chant.

Colombia: 'Here travels a nation, not just a team'

With a population of 48 million, that’s a lot of people to pack on to one bus. Nonetheless, it’s hard to fault Colombia’s sense of solidarity.

France: 'Impossible is not a French word'

Apparently said by Napoleon, this is a quote rooted in history and filled with Gallic confidence. In fact, the French translation of impossible is… impossible. Naturellement.

Germany: 'One Nation. One Team. One Dream!'

A great example of what we copywriters call the rule of three – a simple but effective way of reinforcing your message.

The Netherlands: 'Real men wear orange'

Here’s a little fashion tip from Holland. We’re not sure Graham Taylor – Mr “Do I not like orange” – would agree though.

The Dutch slogan tells us they’re defensive about their kit, but offers little about their footballing hopes and dreams.

Switzerland: 'Final stop: 07-13-14 Maracana!'

Positive and practical – the Swiss slogan gives the date and destination of the World Cup final… one to pop in your diaries.

England: 'The Dream of One Team, the Heartbeat of Millions'

Unfortunately, we soon woke up to the fact that our young players weren’t quite on top of their game… Hmm.