This is the Direct Marketing Association’s attempted analysis of the state of the copywriting industry. The film – Madmen v Mavens – poses several questions to two separate groups; one of seasoned agency writers, and another of young whippersnapper writers. The results are interesting – see for yourself and let me know what you think.
A rather heated debate today with design friends resulted in my conceding to the view that a copywriter isn’t always necessary. I should point out that I was outnumbered by five to one for the entire duration of the debate and we were only talking about magazine ads. However, I’ve been presented with some great proof which, despite the obvious career suicide, I’m happy to share.
A few years ago, I ran a photography project in a primary school where I took pictures of every single child in school. Using black and white film and focussing each image on just part of their face, we posted all 200 of them as a ‘wall of faces’ covering the entire back wall of the school hall. The kids (and happily the teachers) loved the process and the impact of the final result.
My inspiration for the project was JR, a Parisian photographer and street artist who has been changing landscapes and attitudes for some years now. His work on the Face 2 Face project pastes wonderful images of Palestinian and Israeli citizens side by side in prominent locations on both sides of the wall.
JR’s project ‘Women are Heroes,’ uses the same large-scale format to paste images of Women from Africa, Asia and South America in their own neighbourhoods.
I agree with the article tone that official campaign offerings are more than unimpressive, but I’ve really enjoyed the unofficial and not so underground stuff like My David Cameron. If anyone can teach the big parties a thing or two about clear copy, it’s the creators of some of these gems.
Very early comments on the Guardian site suggest there is a big gap between fine art and graphic design when it comes to posters. My own take – unsurprisingly – is it comes down to the copy and the connection the copy has with the design. Hence my favourite of the lot is this one by Goshka Macuga. Clear, clever, totally connected to its purpose and comes with a back-story.
If you happen to be in Boston this summer, go and see this guy’s exhibition at the ICA. Jerónimo López Ramírez (aka Dr Lakra) is an artist and tattooist based in Mexico. I really like his process – the way he invalidates what he’s chosen to paint on and the slightly subverted tone. You can see a slideshow of some of his work here.
I love this extract from Vanity Fair’s ‘The First of Elvis’ article – a profile of photographer Al Wertheimer who followed Elvis in 1956:
“He dared to move,” says Wertheimer. “Singers just did not move onstage in those days. You stood there like Frank Sinatra or Perry Como, and you sang from the waist up. Elvis broke all the rules. He moved his hips. He charged the microphone. He was introducing something that was just not acceptable to grown-ups and the more conservative groups. I have the William Morris guys getting him into a corner, and they’re giving him advice: ‘Now, Elvis, look, you get up there, you sing your song, but don’t move too much.’ Elvis dutifully listened. He wouldn’t argue with them. But once he got onstage he did what he wanted. And it created such a sensation. Not because you could hear him sing—there was too much screaming going on. The kids loved it. And the kids were the ones who bought the 45s.”
Nothing quite like ignoring the William Morris guys.
I’ve been reading a few blogs by fairly well-lit individuals in the business and marketing world. Some appear to conjure up new concepts on a regular basis. Quite aside from how exhausting this must be, it made me think about whether it’s actually possible to come up with more than one Big Idea.
One or two of my subscriptions include the blogs of successful business gurus, considered experts who are watched by a certain sector of Corporate plc for the next big thing – this on the basis that they’ve already delivered one widely adopted Big Idea. But are subsequent pearls of wisdom original new ideas of value and reason for contact, or just the same story set in a different scene?