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Diary of a Copywriter: PEAG-CLANPU

Posted on October 25, 2011 and read 3,309 times

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lindsay Diary of a Copywriter: PEAG CLANPU Lindsay Smith

Sometimes the best way to come up with ideas for a new project is to leave it alone for a while. Stephen King even said that. And look how famous and rich talented and successful he is?

Occasionally, if I’ve been brainstorming all day on something, when I’m just about to fall asleep, I come up with killer headlines. I know you know what I’m talking about. And that’s the time when you’re supposed to write that shit down. Sometimes I even do. And then I can fall asleep peacefully because I know I’ve figured out the perfect solution for my project. And I won’t have to do any work the following day because I’m going to wow my co-workers and creative directors with my sleepy time wit and brilliance.

And then I wake up in the morning, feeling well-rested but still with puffy eyes and ridiculous hair and I look at what I’ve written and it’s something like this: “This is your chance to act now or never on something for nothing!”

What? No.

It turns out my mind plays tricks on me when I’m in mid-sleep state. It thinks total dribble is brilliant. And who put that exclamation mark in? That’s just blasphemy.

Quite some time ago, I named myself president of PEAG-CLANPU (People Against Clichés and Puns) because I like to be the President of things and because clichés and puns are the most unoriginal writing in the history of ever. So far, I am also the only member. You can join, if you want.

Basically, the function of PEAG-CLANPU is to spot clichés and puns, judge people who use them, and vow to never ever use them. Ever.

As president, I made a short list of some unfortunate clichés and expressions that make me very upset.

1. You can’t have your cake and eat it too: What? What the hell else are you going to do with your cake? So, I get my cake, and then I’m just supposed to just look at it? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of. This expression refers to someone who thinks they are entitled to more of something, after they already got the first something. I think. So clearly there is a much easier way to explain this concept: Stop whining about cake. There isn’t any. Now go home.

2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew: Hey, bossypants, I can bite off as much as I want. Stop telling me what to do! Asshat. If I choke, it’s my own problem. If I bite off more than I can chew, I’ll just spit it out. It’s not rocket science. This expression refers to someone taking on too many responsibilities. Which is just stupid. Obviously the expression should be: Stop saying yes to everyone. And maybe you’d have more time to eat, and not choke on your food.

3. It is what it is: What the WHAT!? What the hell else would “it” be? This expression is most likely used when you want an answer to something. And this is positively the least satisfying answer of all time. I effing hate you, stupid expression of NOTHING. What does it express, exactly? It shouldn’t even qualify in the category of expressions. Like that James Frey book. Oprah bitched him out because his book was in the memoir category and it should have been in the fictional memoir category. Or, whatever. Well, this expression should be in the dumb sentences category. And obviously a better alternative would be: I have nothing smart to say to you right now so instead of using a dumb sentence that means nothing, I’m going to turn away from you and eat this trail mix I keep in my desk.

4. Eat your heart out: Now we’re just getting into the gross category. This expression is related to some kind of “too bad for you” meaning. The only example I can think of is boy-related. If some douche breaks up with you and you move on and start dating some super awesome hot guy, you get to tell the ex “eat your heart out.” I mean, come on. Maybe the guy was a douche, but eating his own heart? It’s a bit extreme. And super gross. Unless he was a cannibal vampire or a zombie or something. Then I guess it would be socially acceptable. But obviously a more appropriate expression with the same meaning would be: Sucks to be you, douche canoe. I’m awesome and you’re clearly not.

  • evan

    In ad school we ad a cw teacher who would fine us if we used puns in headlines. Same with boring words and phrases like ‘conveniently located.’ I still feel my eyeballs twinge whenever someone uses a pun. 

  • Alexander Patterson

    At the end of the day, all that matters is that we put our best foot forward with pun-tacular headlines with pun-sational images. Sometimes, you CAN put lipstick on a gorilla.




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