I had spent much of my youth eagerly watching the adventures of the Starship Enterprise. But, being an advertising man, Nimoy’s death brought to mind something else: a poster that I consider to be the greatest-ever created for the famous ‘Heineken refreshes the parts campaign’: Mr. Spock’s pointy ears in need of refreshment.
Nick Asbury, a fellow writer, has produced a masterpiece of negative thinking. It’s called the Perpetual Disappointments Diary.
A short while ago I completed a project that I undertook on behalf of D&AD, the international creative awards organisation. It involved me interviewing 20 of the country’s top creative people and then writing about the D&AD training courses that they conducted. I wasn’t surprised to learn that creative professionals who wish to brush up their skills take up the lion’s share of places on these courses. But increasingly D&AD find that a significant number of non-creative professionals are signing up, too.
Recently the advertising news website ‘More About Advertising’ published my choice of ads to take to a desert island. Many people have chosen their Desert Island Ads before. Often they select ads, (usually TV commercials) that others have previously chosen, which is fair enough. If you’re going to be alone, stuck on a desert island, you’re entitled to take whichever ads you want, even if a bunch of other people have picked the same ones. But I wanted to be different.
For the second year running, I have been asked by Stephen Foster, editor of advertising news website, More About Advertising, to ghost-write an article on behalf of one of the site’s more unusual contributors. The contributor in question is Ebenezer Scrooge, the Victorian miser. Unlike his creator, Charles Dickens, Scrooge isn’t much of a writer. So the task falls to me. And what a task it is.
Back in the sixties I was a messenger boy in a small advertising agency. For some reason the agency had an international department. This meant I could get my hands on copies of Life Magazine, The New Yorker and McCall’s. Flicking through these magazines, I started to see ads, the like of which I had never seen before. Mostly, they were for Volkswagen.
We were asked to find a director of some artistic subtlety to produce a piece of animated work that, whilst being CGI-based, had to have an ‘organic’ or ‘illustrated’ quality instead of the more normal ‘hard-gloss’ look, in order to give a more appealing feeling to this quality product.
Last Thursday, at the Ham Yard Hotel, the Direct Marketing Association hosted part of their Great British Copywriting Campaign. I was invited to join a panel on the stage of the hotel’s theatre to discuss the demise or otherwise of copywriting. The question that underpinned the evening was this: Is the art of copywriting dead?