Blogs & Comment

Losing the write stuff?

Phil Lynagh is managing partner of LightBlue

Is the art of copywriting disappearing, or worse, dead altogether? I hope not, but in my humble opinion 2010 brought more clumsy, badly-crafted tripe than ever. If we want to creatively perform we can’t just leave the writing part of it in the hands of the account manager who also ‘writes 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 need highly skilled and qualified practitioners working co-dependently to produce strong and seamless creative thinking.

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 communications past and I guarantee that you’ll find the noble strapline or slogan is the outright victor, and by some distance. Just think “Vorsprung durch technik” and, more recently, “Keep discovering”. Both 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 ubuiquitous “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.

The explosion of social media and its growing importance is sadly speeding up this process. 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 things change, but surely we have a moral obligation to protect the tools of our trade? They afford us a living after all and, until language is no longer taught at schools and is replaced by grunts, 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.