"Everyone's a copywriter,"
said a good friend of mine. He was being facetious, but of course he was right.
With untold millions on Facebook, Twitter and the like, anyone with a smartphone and opposable thumbs can reach an audience in a matter of seconds. Hey, I'm on them, too. Case in point.
Yet, there is a difference between writing and being a copywriter or creative director.
I've always been a writer in one form or another, from poems to songs to stories to ads. And through my 20+ years in advertising, I've found that instinct — for brands, people, big ideas, new approaches, and executions that work — is a sense not taught but developed.
Moreover, I've found that this sort of instinct for storytelling and organizing ideas — along with strong observational knowledge of how advertising operates — has helped me in my capacity as an independent consultant, helping clients to hone their approach to marketing their brand. It's also helped me in my role as Executive Director of the Pleasantville Music Festival, allowing my team and me to reshape and revitalize one of my favorite events of the summer.
But more about me
Ellipses. You know, dot-dot-dot? To me, they're the "S" in SOS, and the beginning of a cry for help.
"When it comes to." You hear it all the time at the start of an ad: "When it comes to stain removers, etc." When what comes to stain removers? Were we talking about stain removers? When I hear this, I like to substitute a word for "it," and that word is usually laziness.
"One _____ at a time." "We prevent scurvy, one sailor at a time." As if it's true, and as if that's a very effective business model.
Malcolm Gladwell. He's the father, if not codifier, of social media. And his writing is the primary argument for creating a brief first, an idea second, and a tactical plan last.
Nate Silver. While everyone has their own take on "the truth," Silver is able to put them all on a scale and arrive at the closest thing to a predictive fact. In marketing, we all need to pay attention to what our audience is saying and remember the old adage: "We are not the target."
Dr. Seuss. When I was applying for college, I won a scholarship in part because of an essay I wrote that I wanted to be a doctor like Dr. Seuss. His ability to educate and entertain and talk to you in your language helped shape my philosophy about good writing. In that way, this campaign was something I was born to write.