Happy Awards Season

Ahhh the sweet smell of awards season. A brilliant time to celebrate the wonders of the advertising and marketing world. You know, for those lucky creatives for whom the stars have aligned, it’s a magical place to be.

It’s made all the more wondrous by the fact that everyone got their forms in on time, along with their hefty cheques, to book their place in Campaign history.

For independent agencies, awards can add an extra zero onto the CEO’s pension fund when the time comes to sell.  For corporate wizards, awards mean more column inches, employee retention and pitch glory. And all of that translates as big bucks. It’s well worth the effort and money investing in them.

And yet.

The self-congratulatory emails and tweets that fill our timelines and dominate creative team chat up and down the bedecked halls of ad agencies across the land have another side to them.

When you’re a creative, how do you get to make sure you land these juicy potentially award-winning briefs? Juniors have been heard to complain about this a lot. The brief may have been put out to all, but once the Head of Copy had his wicked way, well. And don’t forget the awards entry that doesn’t have enough room to credit every poor bugger who worked on the thing. Yes, the Copy Chief had a great idea, but who actually put the hard slog in? Chances are, it was a less senior member of staff or a freelancer.

Awards are a marketing exercise in themselves and not everyone will have been in the right place at the right time to nobble the Copy Chief out of the way and bask in their moment of glory. They were probably too busy making the work look good.

Ahhhhhhh. Poor little uncredited freelancer.

Yes, well, I’m not getting my bitter and twisted battleaxe just yet. My point is this. Awards are great for the few. But for everyone else, they can leave you feeling uncredited and under valued.

Freelancers provide daily support to businesses across the land. Our work is to be valued and championed at every turn. I certainly feel very passionate about freelance copywriting and creating high quality work whenever I start a new brief.

We don’t need gongs to make us feel proud – a simple, ‘can we rebook you?’ will do. Because without the grafters who manage the daily bread, chances are, your website would be wordless. Your brochure wouldn’t create bookings. And your print ads would be pointless.

Great thinking and messaging should drive everything you do. Not just awards – or a lack of them.

So, well done to all those with sore heads this month. And an even bigger well done to those who didn’t take home the silverware.

What you do, matters. Remember that.

 

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AI and the written word

There’s a lot being written about AI at the moment. You know it’s serious when your sister-in-law has an smart home device installed in her 17th century farmhouse. Amazon Alexa, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod, you name it – everyone’s at it. By this time next year, we’ll all have a robot in the room – maybe even in several rooms.

After that, who knows?

Artificial Intelligence could be taking over our cooking, our diaries and our thought processes at a push – advertising messages could soon be beamed into our homes without the need of the internet, radio or TV to support them.

 

The question is, will robots be able to copywrite them too? For brands seeking to engage with customers, creating human connections is even more important in today’s fragmented media world. And strong, well thought out messaging is a crucial part of that.

If there’s one thing copywriters know, it’s that everyone – man or machine – thinks they’re a writer. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Copywriters needn’t worry too much just yet.

Meanwhile, if you’re off to put Alexa on the top of your shopping list, you won’t be the only one.

As Executive Creative Director, Paul Kitcatt, recently wrote in The Drum, “Just when you get wind of a new trend in technology, you find it’s already happened, and it’s changed your life forever.”

September

I’m on the hunt for a new role and your ad excited me.

Concepts. Long copy. Short form. Digital. Social. Direct. Film. Strategy. Proofing.
Bring me in. You won’t be put out. They say it’s hard to find a good writer these days.
Well you just have. Let’s talk…
Hello

Dream film script

I’m pretty happy with this piece of work, see below.

A dream piece, no less, featuring a few of my favourite things: Beer, Rugby and Cornwall. Lovely.

The brief was to deliver a brand film tapping into the brand promise, ‘Quality Speaks for Itself’, bringing this delicious local ale to new audiences further afield. Great photography with exquisite shots have really brought the original script to life. Just add one brilliant Art Director…

 

 

 

Say it loud

Copywriting tip no. 92

When you’re writing, say your words out loud before settling on a final draft.

Everyone knows this, right? Whether we want to be known as the office loon, is another matter. In a busy work environment, you might feel a bit foolish suddenly speaking what you’re writing, but it is hugely helpful when sense checking and proofreading what you’ve written.

Mumble it, mutter it or splutter it.

Far better to seem like madness is setting in than make a mistake. Remember, grammar is there to be respected but sometimes the vernacular is necessary when writing good copy. If your copy is too stilted, it won’t sound natural or conversational and will actually turn customers off.

Good English or good copy? 

Grammar pedants aren’t always right when it comes to critiquing the written word. This is where a good copywriter can bridge the gap between writing compelling sales copy and correct use of English. For example, in spite of what your teacher may have said, starting sentences with ‘and’ or ‘so’ is permissible. But we all know this, right?

So if we know so much, why is writing great copy, so difficult? Unfortunately, some things can’t be taught. You’ve either got a knack for it, or you haven’t. When it comes to your business, it’s this knack that brings results. And that’s where I come in.

Get in touch if you need a copywriter to bring some copy magic to your communications. I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year

Nothing says ‘Happy New Year’ like a good grammar debate about syntax. I’m sure other copywriters will agree, the use of the term New Year can be a total room 101 moment.

So, should it be new year or New Year when it comes to good grammar? Should you capitalise New Year or should you keep it in lower case?

The answer is in the context.

If you use a greeting, followed by the downtrodden exclamation mark – yes, it is still good grammar to use one! – then you should use uppercase lettering.

For example: “Hi Jane, Happy New Year!”

But if you are talking generally about the new year, it should be lower case. Do not mix your cases! I’ve seen this a lot on Twitter recently and it’s guaranteed to turn every grammar pedant purple. No ‘Happy new Year’, please!

It’s a Proper Noun, dude…

The reason is that the New Year in ‘Happy New Year!’ acts as a proper noun and as such should be capitalised. When it is a common noun (usually preceded by an indefinite article or ‘a’) it is lower case, just like every other common noun.

…but it’s not always proper

But if you’re talking about ‘the new year’, this is where it gets a bit more tricky. Because you’re using the definite article. If the reference is talking about the actual event of New Year’s, it should be upper case, e.g. “The New Year’s performance was given by Robbie Williams.”

When common, think lower case

However, if you’re saying “Spend over £50 in the new year and earn more points”, it should be lower case, because it’s talking about the new year in general and includes more than one day in the reference.

And there we have it. Your copywriting new year lesson in how to suck eggs in 2017. Have a happy, healthy new year and remember, a rolling stone gathers no moss. So tap me up for some freelance copywriting. Or if you need any freelance tea making, I can handle that too.