a writer's blog

My Personal Heroes, Teil 3

Paul Fishlock

Paul Fishlock

Paul Fishlock

For years I lived in fear of being found out. I’m not a proper writer, see. […] Every time I had more than the baseline of a poster to write I became paralised with fear, wishing I was a ‘concept creator’ instead of a copywriter […].

So I studied award-winning copy until I thought I knew all the tricks backwards. […] I tried them all, but somehow my copy was still the same self-conscious drivel it had always been.

Then, one day, faced with an agonisingly straightforward piece of copy, I could put off no longer. I threw my hands in the air and officially gave up. It was time to confront the horrible truth. I would never make the Copywriter’s Hall of Fame. I simply wasn’t cut out to be a proper writer and should cut my losses. From now on I would work out the absolut minimum required and write as simple and clearly as possible using common words and ordinary phrases anyone could understand.

Rejected headlines and clever word plays were banned unless they said something absolutely essential at least as quickly as the ‘straight’ equivalent. And as soon as I’d said everything that had to be said, I’d stop. Even if it meant finishing on a phone number instead of a joke.

Then I’d go back to the beginning to see if any smart-arse indulgencies had slipped through the net and whether any particularly hoary old clichés could be freshened up without forcing the reader to translate them back into what I’d just changed them from.

Ein Arbeitsbeispiel, mit Kommentar, für die Australian Nutrition Foundation:

Autralian Nutrition Foundation

(click to embiggen)

Telling women their health is at risk is no laughing matter, so no jokes.

[Ergänzung: Much later. It tells you a something about Fishlock, and it tells you what a infernal shithole Y&R really is.]
Crompton, Alastair and Ian White (Eds.). The Copy Book. Crans-Près-Céligny, CH: RotoVision, 2001. 50.
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