Copywriting is good for the soul

Its a hard knock life for creatives, as one copywriter on reddit explained with rather salty language.

Receive a creative brief. Explain why it’s a piece of shit and that there’s not enough time to complete the project even if the brief was right. Get talked into doing two versions: the way the client asked (which sucks), and the way it should be done. Of course, you’re short on time, information/research, and other employees who give a shit, so the way it “should” be done is also going to suck. Find another writer or art director (or several) to brainstorm concepts for the ask (e.g., “Create a holiday campaign for this fucking candle.”). Balance this work with 10 similar projects. Stay late to prepare for an internal review with the Creative Director (CD). The CD thinks it all blows, so start over. Luckily, he/she has direction for you. Not so lucky, his/her direction is 100% off brief for both concepts, and it sucks more than the work that you just tossed. Stay late to complete new round of work. Two rounds later, the CD begrudgingly approves, because the client review is tomorrow. But the Executive Creative Director (ECD) thinks it really needs a funny monkey picture and a headline pun based on lyrics from a 60s song only the ECD recognizes. Quickly adapt the ECD’s brain fart copy to be somewhat presentable. Present concepts to account leadership. They respond with the politest “what the flying fuck is this shit” you’ll ever hear. They suggest it’d be wise to push the client meeting and go back to the brief. This triggers a debate between the ECD and account team over what good creative is. The ECD expects you to back he/she up, but at this point you’ve dubbed everyone an idiot and have tuned out the entire argument in favor of day dreaming about tonight, when you expect to get totally shit faced drunk and fuck the office slut. You snap out of it and take whatever side seems most likely to get this nightmare off your plate. You lose that argument too. The meeting ends, and the ECD asserts we can address the account team’s issues not by starting over, but rather by adding in an elephant, an extra paragraph of payoff copy that attempts to explain to consumers what the fuck they’re looking at, and a QR code nobody will ever scan. Account team sweats bullets at the next review. After receiving threats on their lives, they agree to show this work to the client, but only if we do a safer option as well. You quickly hack together a safer option from a list of headline options everyone rejected for last year’s campaign. You have the first client review. They’re silent on the phone. When you ask if they have questions, they thank you profusely for the “hard work” and “great thinking.” They ultimately choose the safe option, claiming it “really nailed the brief.” However, they have some revisions. They think it could “work harder” and it needs to “have a strong social component.” But most importantly, they think the idea is so big that this can now be a 52-week play, not just a holiday campaign. You are tasked with taking an idea that had no legs to begin with and finding a way to stretch it out to a full year, with a holiday-specific activation. It’d due Monday, so you’ll have to skip your vacation. It’s OK, though, because it wasn’t your wedding. Repeat all previous steps until a drop-dead date forces something in market that absolutely nobody likes but which you all pretend to. Attend meeting with the team where you discuss how we need to elevate the work and not let this happen again. Pick specific people to blame. Watch as those people get shifted onto other businesses, get fired, or quit. Receive new creative brief from new account leader who was just “laid off” from their last job. Repeat process.

via @jdmandell

I’ve covered this before – “why creatives are confused“.


One Response to Copywriting is good for the soul

  1. Chris says:


    Watches all unfold from other side of office; moves numbers, words and Gantt charts around on spreadsheets every second or third day; disaster-checks and flags “risks” at concept stage- all presented to client as is; promises big future project to supplier(s) to help meet non-existent budget/timelines for this one; traffics three dozen rounds of proofs with AD and watches very first version get presented to client; get scolded by AM with 2-3 years of “similar experience” in event planning/PR/office administration for missing useless intermediate deadline; wants to yell at supplier for being off schedule/over budget but has to continue to suck dick so they keep working on project (see “promises” – above); works until 3AM on due date even though project had 14 months lead time; attends “post-mortem”; restocks vodka in SIGG bottle at desk. Repeat…

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