On Being A Copyfighter

  • 23
  • December
  • 2013

The biggest compliment I ever received was from an art director at Tracy Locke. “Your writing has balls,” she said at a party after a couple of beers. When I asked her to clarify, she said quickly before her beer reached her lips, “It’s just never safe.” Every writer has their own style. For me that style has always been using humor to make a point about a product’s promise. It has also been to use an interrupter to engage the reader so that he or she will be interested enough to listen to my radio spot or look at our digital ad. Interrupters are simply any element that makes someone stop and think a moment about what’s being said or written. I once wrote a radio spot for a casino doing a Saint Paddy’s Day promotion. They had leprechauns on the casino floor passing out gold coins, and I asked my account director to find out how tall the leprechauns were. Come to find out, the leprechauns were just average sized men. I crafted a spot that focused on the height of the leprechauns to tell the story of the casino passing out free gold coins. “Come to our Acme Casino where you will see the largest leprechauns in the world. They’re about the average height of a normal man, but in terms of leprechauns, they’re giant! At least 5 feet 7 inches tall, the size of an average man!” Every spot needs an angle to create interest and sometimes you have to think creatively about how to get one. I’ve always been guilty of writing for myself. And I’m a very tough critic. If a client asks me to write something that simply doesn’t add up or isn’t funny, I will rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until they cave. Ultimately, I’ve found that’s the best way to keep clients. Because in the short run, some clients may like the safe writing. But not in the long run. It’s the writers that really care about the copy they’re writing, those who constantly evaluate whether the words represent the product in the best way possible. Give me a difficult writer any day over an easy one who never pushes back; I want someone who fights for their copy because they really believe in it. I always find an angle that hopefully entertains the reader. One that wraps my communication around the product’s promise in an interesting way. I want writing with balls. It has nothing to do with sexual innuendos. It has to do with a writer who is not scared. Thanks slightly inebriated art director who shall remain unnamed, I thank you for your compliment.