(Via V and M.)
(Via V and M.)
A new book on copywriting just landed on my doormat:
It begins by asking the very relevant question: ‘Does the world really need another book on copywriting?’
To which the answer is clearly ‘no’, unless you stretch the definition of ‘need’ to the point where it can span the gap between Sydney Harbour Bridge and Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport.
Then again, we do need better copy if the advertising industry (although the lessons within the book can also be applied to marketing, PR, design, branding, sales etc.) is to avoid sinking like a boulder to the bottom of an ocean of squitty poos.
So please buy it and get better at writing. There’s really no downside to doing that, other than the use of time that could be better spent kicking Nigel Farage in the testicles.
To demonstrate how committed I am to this cause, here’s a contribution I made to the book:
Thanks, Gyles and Roger.
Jimmy Page explains Stairway to Heaven (thanks, A&G).
Worst movie death scene ever (thanks, S):
The scroguard! (Thanks, B.):
Fincher and Towne discuss one of the best movies of all time:
The best slo-mo shots of all time:
My opinion of Shia Labeouf was not high… until I watched this (thanks, J):
Dick-shaped weather (thanks, J):
A message reaches me from my friend John Allison, erstwhile ECD of the famed 4Creative advertising agency:
We’ve been stitched up by Ben&Ken. Our placement team. We asked them for fundraising ideas. They came up with this: send me and Chris back on placement.
So we’re pimping/raffling ourselves out for hire/humiliation. It’s £150 a ticket. The price of a placement team. We want to sell 100 tickets and raise as much as we can for Cancer Research.
We’ll work, make tea, write small space ads, answer the phones, whatever you want.
If you’re a boss buy some tickets and exploit us. If you’re not send this to your boss and get them to buy as many tickets as they can afford.
More info here.
Cheap at twice, or even thrice the price. AND you get to help fuck cancer.
Is there a better deal available in all of cyberspace?
(I’d get them to orally pleasure a trout.)
Interesting how it chimes with the ‘unintended consequences’ angle of yesterday’s post.
Also, about six months ago I wrote a post that touched on some of those ‘pretending not to be an arsehole’ points. The Foster Wallace quote seems particularly apposite:
“An ad that pretends to be art is – at absolute best – like somebody who smiles warmly at you only because he wants something from you.
“This is dishonest,” he goes on, “but what’s sinister is the cumulative effect that such dishonesty has on us: since it offers a perfect facsimile or simulacrum of goodwill without goodwill’s real spirit, it messes with our heads and eventually starts upping our defences even in cases of genuine smiles and real art and true goodwill. It makes us feel confused and lonely and impotent and angry and scared. It causes despair.”
That is pretty depressing, but for me it’s the last paragraph that really twists the knife into our collective souls:
Perhaps capitalism that makes no attempt to conceal its intentions is the best we can hope for because at least in that climate the distinction between life and advertising can be felt. It’s not ideal, but when the alternative is a form of marketing masquerading as a piece of hand-painted earthenware on the bric-a-brac stall of a local fête, it’s got to be an improvement.
Well, I hate being lied to as I find it pushes my buttons in all the wrong places, so I’d prefer the lack of subterfuge, but if it’s the ‘best we can hope for’ I might just go and find a scalpel, a bottle of Hendricks and a warm bath (semi colon, hyphen, close parentheses).
Gerry Graf, brilliant US ECD and agency owner gave a speech in New York’s Advertising Week that (tongue somewhat in cheek) went a little something like this:
“The reason why people don’t take chances is because they’re afraid, right? And what are they afraid of? They’re afraid of losing their jobs. That’s why people are not brave in our industry. So, they’re afraid of not having money. I would remove fear from the equation, and I have some suggestions for both clients and agency people.
“Keep the overhead low. Don’t get married. Don’t have children. Have no dependents. Avoid second mortgages. Try to pay everything in cash.
“Follow the lead of Steve Jobs and stay unmarried for as long as possible, so you can spend all your time at work. Don’t buy a boat. Move to Queens. If you are married, do not get divorced. Love your spouse with all your heart and make sure they love you because one, love is good and everything, and two, nothing kills a creative career like divorce. Alimony can make you stay at horrible jobs. If you have your own company and you get divorced, you can lose half of that, right? So, love, love, love. And if you have kids, you can ignore them until they’re about 5; they won’t remember.”
Of course, every joke is a truth in disguise. I read that and wondered about the climate of fear that many of us live within. Chatting to my dad (a semi-retired financial journalist) I discovered that the very fear that keeps us more timid than we would like to be is actually the same fear that’s continuing to fuck up the economy. After the global meltdown of 2008 many people are still too scared to spend their money. Inflation is low, interest rates are low, but nobody wants to borrow money because they know what happened when they did that ten years ago.
So the money that needs to swirl around the economy in order to keep it growing is just sitting in bank accounts, keeping the spectre of fear just a little further at bay. The idea of people doing what Gerry is suggesting – holding onto as much of your cash for as long as possible – is very appealing, but it reduces the risk-taking that we’d all love to see. No one wants to make the grand gestures that could see them having to sell their car or move to a shitty neighbourhood. We’ve been burned, we hated it and we’ll go to great lengths to avoid it happening again. And that extends to many creative industries: who wants to take the risk? The 2008 fucking that the economy experienced will continue to reverberate down the years…
Unless someone shows us the way out. There are other ways, and the more people that find them the more the rest of us will consider those ways to be the norm.
Because things can’t carry on like this. Or, rather, if they do, life will lean further and further in the direction of being nothing more than a gigantic diarrhoea sandwich that we all have to chow down on every single day.
Surely a burst or two of bravery is less unpleasant than a couple of thousand more weeks of shitting bricks.
Accidental cool art (thanks, J).
Worst selfies (thanks, J):
The world’s most intriguing lists (thanks, E).
I’m Roy Keane, shove it up your bollocks!
Guy surprises girlfriend with LOTR quotes more often than she would like:
Hilarious bad performance of Bang Bang:
Like many wonderful American ads, it gets the selling bit right out there, front and centre.
Thanks God for that.
(Seems to have directed by Ringan Ledwidge.)