As a freelance copywriter I am now faced with my biggest challenge. Retro-fitting ideas into work other people have come up with.
Invariably, I marvel at the bit of tech and the functions that the ‘wizard’ has created and tell them so. Then I am asked to ‘populate’ it with words.
“Love to. So what do you want to say?” I ask.
“I don’t know, can’t you just put some words to it?” They reply.
“I’d be delighted to put some words to it, but you have to tell me how this fits into the client’s marketing strategy, or I’m flying blind.”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“I have a good idea, but I would really like to hear your thinking before I commit keyboard to word document. You know, a brief?”
“Err, we haven’t really got one. We just thought it would be really cool to do this.”
“What do the account people say about it?”
“They think it’s awesome.”
“They want some words in it.”
“Again, what kind of words?”
“You’re the copywriter, you tell me.”
There then follows a strange back and forth where I put my thoughts forward to try and sell in an idea that doesn’t really have an idea.
When they finally settle on something that fits with their vision I am asked to write the creative part of the presentation.
“Why?” I ask.
“Because you seem to have a handle on it.” They reply.
“Well, yes, because I had to come up with an idea that fastens this in reality.”
“But they came up with the idea.”
“No, that’s a ‘technique’. What are you trying to convey to the customer?”
More often than not, they have no clue what they are trying to say except ‘look how clever this technology is’.
What people have forgotten is that the first rule of advertising is ‘sell’. If you’re not selling for your client, they will walk off into the sunset with their money, and you won’t get the chance to do any more ‘whizzy’ things
An old graphic designer friend of mine always says, ‘you may design the most fantastic thing in the world but if there isn’t a reason for it, you’re just wanking’.
I must attend his ‘Ted’ talk sometime.