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The future state of copywriting


I have a family friend who used to be the executive director of one of the branches of a worldwide agency. He has worked in the advertising business for a long time.
I asked if he had any career advice for an aspiring copywriter like myself. What he told me scared the bejeebus out of me.
He said that in 10 years or so, print and television will be almost entirely dead. A majority of people will be using on-demand and Tivo, and they will read all news and other articles on this thing called “The Internet”.
He told me that if I really want to make it as a copywriter, I need to learn to write for the internet and focus on that. “That’s what everyone is going to be looking for,” he said.
So? Is it true? Should my portfolio contain viral internet campaigns, cell phone text-advertising concepts, and other things to keep up with the wave of scary technology that is exponentially getting more and more…technical? Do you feel that writing for the internet is an entirely different beast compared to tradition print/tv concepts? Or do you think it’s something that any creative who feels they are good at print/tv/radio/etc can adapt to?
Thanks for all your help.

intro The future state of copywritingThis is a very exciting, transitional time in communications. That’s how we see it. Yes, consumer’s habits have changed radically since the days of network television and meeting at the appointed hour, annoying commercials included. But today’s habits mean lots of good things for people who want to make a living in advertising. The old, bad rules are going out the window. Even our more conservative clients are asking us to be experimental as we create work that people will actually want to see. Is the writing job a whole new job now? Only in the sense that writers are really going to need to be able to write again—it’s been a “poster” age for a long time now. The Internet is rooted in the written word. Yay. At the end of the day it’s all about having good ideas to solve client’s problems. That can mean landing on a phone or a computer screen or a good old tv spot. The traditional media aren’t folding up camp and disappearing. But they are being joined by many new ways to engage consumers. Gaming is huge. Soon we predict it will be almost standard to be asked for the game. At our agency we’re doing documentaries and even plays. How fun is that? And who’s doing it? The same creative people who create the traditional media ideas.

So don’t spaz out. Embrace entering advertising as a stake is being put through the heart of boring work and the bar is higher than ever creatively.

Your portfolio should still include print and for writers we really like to see radio scripts, but also showcase thinking that’s outside of traditional media. That can mean literally anything. As always, creative directors will be looking for good problem solving.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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