Sunday, October 14, 2007


Who needs a copywriter when you have a style guide?

The market research suggested a list of words that potential buyers responded to positively. So the creators of this two-page ad simply strung a few of them together and called it finished. And. They. Did. It. With. Periods.

I have to deal with these stupid lists of words all the time. They're frustrating because it's as if a group of very devious scientists have picked the brains of the target market and now they're telling you how to write. When the research is so refined as to tell you exactly what to write, you cease becoming a copywriter and are now a copy and paster. At least that's how I feel when I have to deal with these lists. But I've always believed that the idea is to incorporate the words into your copy. Subtly. Not piled on top of each other. Any monkey can assemble your ad or collateral piece for you when you already have the words chosen and a pre-assembled collection of art the target responds to as well.

So maybe, just maybe, (and this would be awesome) this is a copywriter's way of telling the style guide compilers to kiss his/her ass. "You already know the words that make people buy? Great. Here you go."

Scanned from the October 14th edition of The New York Times Magazine.

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  • It would be nice to believe that, but if I had to bet I'd say the more likely scenario is that the client and account people wrote the headline after six revisions of trying to get the copywriter to do it. I once ran into the files of a former copywriter at the agency wehre I lost my hair, and all his copy with from this genre:

    "A phone. Shiny. Connected. Yours. To cherish. Forever."

    There were rarely more then three words before the next period. After a while reading felt like stop-and-go traffic.

    By Blogger chuck rampart, at October 14, 2007 at 1:19 PM  

  • Worse, add a few more words and it works as haiku also:

    Graceful. Classic. Strong.
    Fresh. Swift. Experience. Bold.

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at October 14, 2007 at 11:28 PM  

  • Once, while working for an idiot creative director, he told me:

    "Write a headline like you'd see in CA. You know... 'Da da, period. Da da, period. Da da, period.' You know, like that."

    Swear to god.

    By Blogger TexanInHippieland, at October 16, 2007 at 1:41 PM  

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