A blog for the New Zealand creative advertising industry, now at www.campaignbrief.com/nz. Email news to: michael@campaignbrief.com

Sunday, September 03, 2006


An open letter to advertising copyrwiters throughout the region, from Titus Upputuru, from WordSociey, New Delhi, India:

This letter is from one Copywriter to another.
I was going through the results of the award shows this year and
was saddened to notice a death.
The Word has almost disappeared.
In most ads, there are just one or two. (There are a few
exceptions though, and the outdoor Grand Prix at Cannes gives me
In many, there are none at all.
I was wondering what happened to the Copywriter.
When did we stop writing Copy? And when I say Copy I do not mean
the long copy masterpiece that we all set out to make at least
once in our lifetime.
When was the last time we wrote a good, full-bodied headline,
even? Was it because the Client had rejected the picture-only ad
so many times that we had no option left but to do a headline
This email is an initiative to 'Save The Word'.
If you would like to join this movement, contribute by doing the
1) Do your next five ads or campaigns with headlines,
irrespective of brand guidelines.
2) Pick an old One Show/D&AD Annual and photocopy copy-led ads
and paste them up all over the agency.
3) Dnt wrt lke ths.
4) If you are a Creative Director, ask your writers to show a
headline, with every visual-led ad that they show.
5) Hire writers who have at least ten headlines in their
6) Spread the word. Send this email to all the copywriters you
You can add more to the list.
The only way, we are going to Save The Word is by getting
together and ensuring that we see more Copy in the media. For
that to happen, this email needs to find legs and travel far and
wide. So, please forward this to as many Copywriters in the
world as you can.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems a bit out of place in NZ, this plea. My cup runneth over with headline-led ads...usually because the client has no money or balls to do anything else.

8:01 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't be bothered reading this.

Is there a quick visual version?

9:09 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must work at Y&R, 8:01. The best agencies seem to get away with headline free work: Look at all the Saatchi print ads lately: Bose, Amstel, Sol Beer, Reef, Women's Refuge, Yellow Pages, Telecom, WWF. Mojo has heaps as well, as does DDB.

9:21 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody reads copy anymore, let alone knows how to write it, especially anyone under 30.

9:24 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of bollocks. Nobody reads copy? A more accurate statement would be that nobody reads boring copy. Or nobody remembers cheap visual solutions.

If you can't write a headline that's interesting enough to capture your audience then you need to learn or get out. A visual pun or similar engages you for 3 seconds. An intriguing headline will have your attention for much longer.

Do you think it's any coincidence that many ad students and juniors are now able to write as good a print as seasoned vets? I think it's because it's relatively easy to brainstorm quirky visuals and much harder to write a great headline and supporting copy.

And I'm not talking about a joke or a pun. I'm talking about a valid insight related in an eloquent and appropriate manner.

In a world dominated by visual gags and plays we're only concerned with the new and the fresh rather than having a conversation with our customers.

I think most copywriters are too scared to try for fear of being exposed as incapable. Or worse, and probably more tellingly, of having nothing relevant to say.

10:07 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

With a name like Titus Upputuru it's no wonder he love's writing. He must be stoked everytime he gets to fill out a form.

10:18 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:07 AM - How do people know if the copy is great or boring since they never read it?

11:23 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have a poorly written newspaper column on a boring subject, the fact that no one reads it might lead you to a similar conclusion ie. no one reads newspaper columns anymore.

Whether you're doing visual or copy ads, if it is interesting people will take time with it. The difference is that no one will sit and stare at a purely visual ad for 3 minutes. Or if they do you will win a grand prix for your troubles and rightly so.

But therein lies the challenge that most of us will not accept. Do we do the hard work to write something engaging enough to hold someone's attention, or do we chuck a visual one-liner down on a page and call it an ad?

I am not so naive to suggest that some people will not read your copy, but I ask you this: If you walk down the street and say hi to 20 strangers and then have a 3 minute conversation with the 21st, which of these people are you more likely to remember and form a relationship with?

12:42 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good on em, I love Indian copywriters. The tagline on a bottle Kingfisher beer is 'Most Thrilling chilled'.

I've just arrived in LA, which is a very visual place.

But I digress, I'm running 'The Power Of (Magazine) Print' right now, for the MPA, and the best solution so far is copy driven. We'll see.



12:28 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long copy sucks.

5:44 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to spoil the misty-eyed pining for the days
of slow-burning copy ads, but surely the idea should
dictate whether a long copy execution is appropriate?
I think the written word is as powerful, entertaining and illuminating as 1000 retouched visual transpositions, but let's not be putting carts before horses people.

10:20 AM NZST


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home