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27th April 2017

Is the art of copywriting disappearing or worse dead altogether?

I do hope not but in my humble opinion the majority of last year’s creativity brought more clumsy, badly crafted tripe than ever before. If we want to creatively perform we can’t just leave the writing part in the hands of the Account Executive who tells you he can ‘Write a bit’. To do so will ultimately guarantee the demise of the writer and simultaneously dilute the artist’s contribution. Both roles are essential and highly skilled. We need qualified practitioners working co-dependently to produce strong and seamless creative thinking.

“Both roles are essential and highly skilled.”

Yes the days of the long copy print ad are long gone but I have yet to see a brand’s call to action presented as competently or as powerfully using pure visualisation. Ask consumers what they remember from communication both past and present and I guarantee that you’ll find the noble strap line or slogan is the outright victor and by some distance. Just think, “Schhh…You-Know-Who” or “Vorsprung durch technik” and more recently “Keep discovering, and “Long Live Ambition”. All are original representations of a brand’s USP and tremendous cornerstones allowing continuity and the building of considerable trust and equity. Now I may be wrong but I don’t think the ubiquitous “Redefining refinement” and “Delivering excellence” really cut the mustard. Take a look around, try to remain impartial and see how much of the copy out there is pedestrian at best and redundant at worst. You’ll be shocked.

“You’ll find the noble strap line or slogan is the outright victor and by some distance”

The explosion of social media and its growing importance is sadly speeding up this process and if this trend remains unchecked it will leave us with the ability to communicate solely using abridged twitter speak and parenthesis. Punctuation will completely disappear, grammar will cease to exist and all produced copy will resemble a drunken SMS. I know we are not educators and the world turns and things change, but surely we do have a moral obligation to protect the tools of our own trade.

“Grammar will cease to exist and all produced copy will resemble a drunken SMS”

Those tools afford us a living after all and until language is no longer taught at schools and is replaced by grunts and the tapping of phone screens we should remain very good at it. Remember without a simple capitalisation, helping your Uncle Jack off a horse on the farm takes on a whole new meaning.

That’s the frightening power of copy.

Phil Lynagh
Director SHA.

“The opinions in this article are that of the author alone and in no way, reflect the opinions or viewpoint of the agency. Unless of course we happen to agree with those opinions completely, in which case they might, but otherwise they don’t”
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