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Lots of words, people. Lots of words.

Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Copywriters February 15, 2009

Filed under: Do Re Me,Life, Whatnot,Write On — indiakonstanze @ 1:42 am

Let me share with you a typical day in the life of a copywriter.  If you were pondering this as a career field, I can tell you right now: stop.  You’d have to deal with shit like this:

The Life Cycle of a Corporate Advertising Email

Two weeks ago: Write email. Use company database for product info; told to write about a pant’s new spring colors.

Three days later: Rewrite email. Now told to write about two pants and their three lengths; no one cares about spring colors.

One day later: Rewrite email again. VP decided price point should be mentioned ($30) and headline should change because…oh hell, because it’s Tuesday.

One day later: Rewrite email yet again. VP decided model’s blouse needs to be mentioned, too. Let’s mention GDP of Uganda while we’re at it, just for the sake of completeness.

One day later: Proof email. Someone messed up the VP’s changes, marked on proof copy. Wonder how hard it is to look at black pen marks on paper and hit corresponding keys on keyboard. Anyone capable of downloading fart noise app for iPhone should be capable of this.

Friday morning: Receive summons from VP to discuss rewriting email again, along with internet marketing analyst (IMA) and product development woman (PDW). PDW now wants to talk about a buttload of things that are not in the database from which we are allowed to pull info (wrinkle resistance, new pockets, versatility, washability, etc.). Wonder why we have database in the first place since no one uses it but me; should eliminate this altogether and employ Dionne Warwick or Shirley MacLaine instead. They could probably just look at a photo of the pant and say, GODDAMN, NOW THAT IS SOME WRINKLE-RESISTANT SHIT AND THANK THE FUCK GOD THEY FINALLY ADDED POCKETS TO THAT BITCH.

Later Friday morning: Rewrite email for 4th time. Send copy to IMA; wait for new proof.

After lunch: See new proof with VP, IMA and PDW. Realize IMA has rewritten my rewritten copy, making it awkward and jumbled. Ask self why the fuck I even bother to come to work…why not just paste “your words here, you illiterate shit” into every blank page of every assignment.

PDW says we have to say “the GREENWICH fit” instead of “GREENWICH fit” because of how the phrase is trademarked; gee, it would have been nice to, um, I don’t know, LOOK THAT SHIT UP IN A DATABASE OR SOMETHING.

PDW wants to know why we mention “non-iron” before “machine washable” in bulleted list of features…does not make sense, she says, because no one irons before they wash. Was not aware features of shirt had to correspond with actual order of tasks necessary to clean said shirt.

PDW wants to know why we say “available in great new spring colors” without also listing standard boring-ass colors they always come in. Boring-ass colors not mentioned earlier, not in database, not the point, not important to anyone, but what the hell, let’s waste another 10 minutes of our lives talking about it.

PDW wants to know whether correct phrasing is 2-ply oxford cotton, 2-ply cotton oxford, or oxford 2-ply cotton. Average customer doesn’t even use 2-ply toilet paper; don’t think wording about yarn and weave is really going to resonate.

PDW wants to know why we mention “non-iron,” “machine washable,” and “special finish gives a just-pressed look right out of the dryer”; apparently unaware that each characteristic applies to a different household appliance. Invent one machine that does all three and you’ll get one friggin’ bullet point.

Finally: After hashing out every damn point until PDW is finished, sign off on final copy of email. Would sign a declaration of war with Iran if it meant getting that stupid email off my desk. All those man-hours for a three-line email that less than 2% of recipients will even open. Way to go, [company that will remain unnamed].  Keep on keepin’ on.

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2 Responses to “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Copywriters”

  1. beckitheboss Says:

    a-MEN. But at least corporate advertising pays actual money, right? More than, say, a writing-centric job at a non-profit. So that’s something. ??

    Found your blog randomly and set up a Word Press account just to be able to comment and tell you how funny your posts are. Keep them coming!

  2. indiakonstanze Says:

    Thanks so much! I’m glad you enjoyed my rant. Writing for money is a thankless task…sounds like you have experienced this yourself. 😉


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