This is one hell of a genre-specific article. If you’re not really into advertising or you’re still in school, do yourself a favor and don’t read this crap. Go and read something else, anything else. read something about neuroscience or how they construct railroads nowadays. Go read shitty poetry like Milk & Honey or read something motivational by literally everyone these days.
To everyone who is still reading, this title will need some explaining, I get that. Let me start off by saying that I love writing. Other’s, your’s and occasionally my own. I find excitement in it. It delivers ideas to my doorstep, it makes the world feel a little lighter and sometimes it takes you by the throat. But for all these reasons, I’m dreading the perspective of taking it serious. Words shouldn’t do what someone else wants them to, they should roll, scream, kick and cling. It’s what makes them jump out on a billboard or being covered in yellow by a marker.
I’m currently a Jr. copywriter. And as is in my nature to kick over some trashcans and cover front doors in last night’s pudding (true story), I’m having difficulties looking in front of me. Here I see people who are my elders — experienced seniors who have done this thing for a while — and man, it doesn’t excite me. It’s not that they’re not good, that’s for damn sure. Because they thrive at the chance to write something funny or ballsy as the opportunity presents itself, but it has become more of an on-the-side-thing now. What they really seem to have put their time in is to learn the brand’s tongue and repeat its movements as accurately and efficiently as possible. It’s like a teenager sharing his first kiss, where the girl complaints he is acting like her mouth is a laundry machine. This is probably why we’re ignoring text in ads, even though we’re reading more than ever before. It just isn’t surprising anymore. Do you know that feeling when you’re eating something spicy without knowing it beforehand? Whether it fills you with endorphins or strokes of pain — hell, it makes you feel something. Yeah, we need more spice in our words.
I understand brands want assurance. I understand things should align. If a brand talks like a sophisticated gentleman, it can’t start blabbing like a teenage boy. But they can interact. They can play, fist bump and laugh. I get it if in this part of the article you’re like: hmm, this is getting a little too abstract for my taste. That’s completely fine. Please help yourself to one of the suggestions in the intro, but I’m coming to my point with Godspeed.
But senior copywriters seem to become administrative workers with a fist full of puns they can’t squeeze.
In contrary, it seems to me like senior art directors keep doing their thing. They keep their sense of surprise and tension as they make/direct art to become something we haven’t seen before or haven’t seen in a long time. But senior copywriters seem to become administrative workers with a fist full of puns they can’t squeeze. What does this mean for the ambitious copywriter who wants to grow and ascend like everybody else in his own right.
Should he become a pain to work with? Should he stick to his g(p)uns? Or should he conform and accept? Should he realize that he has outgrown the amusement park of words and watch the youngsters enjoy it? If it’s up to me, none of the above. As I progress and learn, I’ll probably just stay a junior indefinitely. An ignorant kid who doesn’t know what to do with words until they hit him in the head. Because chances are, they’re gonna at least tap yours too.