Copywriters. Getting it right for decades.

Well this is interesting.

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.

For me, the most screamingly obvious point I want to make is why, DMA, did you not put these people in the same room? I can’t help thinking that the outcome would have been a lot richer, more intriguing, enlightening and probably amusing.

I also felt the choice of group type was a little simplified. Many of us have a boot in each camp so to speak; experience of the agency craft and plenty of expertise in shorter form writing for social media.

But with those niggles now outed, there’s some great stuff here. I loved the powerful self belief of “…we’re the ones making the point…” when describing the relative importance of writing Vs design (see my Copywriter not required post).

I laughed out loud at the brilliant “…track changes undermines what we’re trying to do” from 4:40 on and then wondered what alternative we could or should offer as writers. And I was heartened towards the end to see that the term copywriter is clearly valued among those entering the industry.

The Guardian looked at this recently under the title ‘Copywriting is dead? Don’t tell the journalists’. There are a few interesting points in the article, but be warned all copywriters – reading it will raise your hackles.

It is more than a little misguided in believing that journalists have the monopoly on responding to a brief quickly. I’d challenge any journalist to create campaign pieces for a product launch (no second drafts) across a variety of media to a variety of audiences in a variety of tones, make them exciting, engaging, eye-catching, responsive and relevant, and do it all to deadline.

We do this all the time. And we do it well because we spend the time understanding the needs of our clients, their voice and their customers, and we know our marketing regardless of whether the platform is digital or antedeluvian.

All of which reminds me of one of the text-only poster ads for The Economist that brilliantly illustrates how to write for your market:


Good job copywriters.