Darwin and the power of 140 characters (or less)

Digital and Social

A bird wrote a poem.

Mrs Darwin

‘7 April 1852 . Went to the Zoo. 
I said to Him—
Something about that Chimpanzee over there reminds me of you.’

111 characters.

Lesson: If we, as creatives, can replicate this depth of insight and human understanding in 140 characters (or less) for our clients, they will rule the earth. I guarantee it.



Chip Shop Awards – Ad of the Week



It had to be done people. So I did it. Words and pics. Vote with your thumbs at The Chip Shop Awards. If you think it sucks, don’t. Just don’t tell me to my face. I hate public displays of emotion.

Is the copywriter toast?


Copywriter, huh? Thought so. It’s the look in your eye, see. I’ve seen that look a hundred times before my friend. Right there, behind that ‘I’m-a-writer-don’t-you-know’ sparkle, there’s fear. No use denying it son, it is what it is.

You’ve clocked the rumors. You’ve heard the whispers, “No-one reads copy anymore.” And you’re starting to think they’re right, haven’t you?

“What if they don’t?” I hear you whimper. “What if visual is everything?”

“What if the days of ‘copy’ are dead? After all, brands ‘crowd-source’ here, then they ‘consumer-generate’ there”.

Most of the ads you pass feature only a word or two. No one even knows what ‘copywriting’ means – even your mother thinks you work in law.

You start to shake. Sweat pours from your brow and you reach for the gin. (Or perhaps that’s just me.)

Are you a dead copy man? Are you like that big guy in the Green Mile? Will Tom Hanks be so kind to you as the account handlers come to march you to your doom?

In a word, ‘no’. Copywriters aren’t dead. And Tom Hanks doesn’t give a monkeys. Sorry, he doesn’t.

Tom Hanks may not care, but brands do

The great news, the best news is; copywriters are now more important than they’ve ever been. Their role hasn’t shriveled thanks to the dawn of the one-word ad. It’s expanded beyond what we ever imagined.

In fact, my gorgeous copywriting hombre, copywriters have in their hands right now one of the fattest creative opportunities they’ve ever had.

Teressa Iezzi, Editor of Advertising Age’s Creativity, calls this new era, ‘the next creative revolution’ in her book The Idea Writers. The copywriting landscape has exploded – because the media landscape is richer than ever before and clever brands know they need to be a multi-platform part of it to connect with their promiscuous customers.

Which means copywriters are no longer tied to the medium of print or TV or just churners of copy chunks. Woo hoo!

Copywriters today go beyond words

Today, good sir or madam, you can puff out your chest with pride, because the copywriter of 2013 is an inventor. And their job is to invent ideas that build brands, in whatever form and whatever medium is the best for that client at that particular time. The copy then follows, or doesn’t (if it’s a one-word ad).

Feel the freedom baby, turn your face to the sweet, sweet breeze of media-neutral thinking and take a deep, deep breath.

Tomorrow you may be called upon to spark a conversation with an attitude-laden Emo, wake up a 50 Shades of Bored housewife with 140 characters, invent an app that’ll keep kids quiet on long car journeys, or name an epoch-defining product. (The iPod was named by freelance writer Vinnie Chieco you know.)

You’re a storyteller. A scriptwriter. A conversationalist. A commentator. A techy. An executor. A curator. A lover, not a fighter (again this could just be me).

So you see, forget those who make myopic comments like ‘no-one reads copy anymore’ or ‘the copywriter is toast’. Because the copywriter is not an overdone bread product.

But perhaps the label we give ourselves, ‘copywriter’, is.

Claire Robinson

Freelance ‘ideas writer’ and all round good egg.

Should we call ourselves copywriters in today’s world?

If we were to ‘rebrand’ what would we be called?