It's said that copywriters are the unsung heroes of the advertising world. The art directors often get the accolades and the glory. They are more involved in the execution of the idea than the writer. And even the job descriptions create a strange imbalance, with art director sounding noble and important, and copywriter sounding more like a dull job in the legal profession.
However, further analysis into the role reveals that it's actually one of the most important roles in the advertising agency, let alone the creative department. Good copywriters have to be strategic and visual thinkers, and also have to arm themselves with the kind of knowledge most clients don't even know.
Ask any copywriter about the product or service he or she is advertising, they will no doubt amaze you with their depth of understanding. The reason for this is simple - when it comes down to it, the writers have to impart that knowledge to the customers, the art directors have no such burden.
So, as we celebrate the role of the humble copywriter, here is a collection of articles focused on them and their understated job.
Creative teams in advertising agencies know exactly what a copywriter brings to the table. But many people outside of the creative arena, including those in management and the clients of the agency, seem a little thrown by the title and the definition. In fact, some people believe it to be a kind of legal job, belonging to someone who writes the small print at the bottom of advertisements. It couldn't be further from the truth.
Copywriting in the advertising profession has undergone some serious changes over the decades. Way back in 30s and 40s, copy was king. It wasn't particularly smart of savvy, it used a lot of puns and it often just stated the name and benefit of the product or service.
Headlines like "Do you smoke the cigarette that satisfies?" and "How's your breath today?" were the norm. Usually, the ads featured long copy explaining (and sometimes over-explaining) the features and benefits. Outrageous claims could be made with no fear of litigation. Cigarettes were refreshing and good for you. Soda was filled with vitamins. Women knew their place and it was always in the kitchen.
If you're a seasoned copywriter with 20+ years of writing experience behind you, you'll have a list of go-to words and phrases that help you craft good copy. In fact, you start building this library after just a few months on the job, and it becomes something that grows with you as you grow as a writer.
Although some say that copy is a dying art, most believe that it is undergoing a resurgence. What is out of fashion one minute is back on top the next, and the power of words to sell a product or service can never be underestimated.
Yes, bad copy is dying out. But there will always be a need for carefully crafted, powerful and imaginative copy. And with the right words and phrases, you can help keep that copy alive and kicking.
In direct response advertising, a great direct mail pack can work wonders for both the brand, and the bottom line. Truly successful direct mail is targeted, says something powerfully (and memorably) and talks directly to the customer. And there's no better way to engage in conversation than with a letter.
Superstar copywriters are few and far between in the advertising industry. Neil French is at the top of a very short list (one which also includes David Abbott, Tony Brignull, Dan Weiden, Mike Lescarbeau,Luke Sullivan, Lionel Hunt and, well, anyone featured in the D&AD Copy Book).Now, learn a little about a man who is still considered to be one of the best writers in the business.