Seeing the names of loved ones flagged as spelling mistakes with jagged red lines under them will be a familiar experience for many people around the world. It is particularly common in South Africa which has 11 official languages and a vast spectrum of cultural heritage and naming conventions. To combat the problem, South African chicken restaurant chain Nando’s has now launched a campaign to force spellcheckers to recognize local names instead of flagging them as typos.
“We think it’s totally crazy that the tech we use every day still tells us that our names are a mistake,” said the brand in an online advertisement. Below the post, users can submit their names to an online database which will be used to generate a spellcheck update for common word processors. Once installed, says Nando’s, the submitted names will no longer be flagged as spelling mistakes with the jagged red underline on the screen.
Nando’s hopes to issue the software patch to coincide with Human Rights Day on March 21. To publicize the campaign, dubbed “#rightmyname”, the Sunday Times newspaper underlined in red most of the names featured in the first two pages of its March 11 edition. South African English spellcheck tools already exist for many popular word processors including OpenOffice and Microsoft Word but largely focus on local brands rather than names.
Nando’s has a long history of using its marketing to promote racial and cultural harmony in South Africa, often using quirky and humorous campaigns to raise brand awareness.