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Refining my writing “voice”


Young journalist-turned-copywriting hopeful with a BBA and a BJ (couldn’t have made the latter up). I love to write and I’m confident that the days of long body copy are not yet numbered, so I’m trying to reflect that in my book.
I’m interested in tweaking the tone of my copy. I know the “voice” will always be dependent on the brand that it’s speaking for, but I wonder if you have any recommendations as to the breadth of voice required in a portfolio? It seems as though the smug, know-it-all voice and the Apple-esque “benevolent big brother” have both been mimicked to death. What are some examples of fresh voices the industry could stand to listen to?

intro Refining my writing voiceUnless you’re a writer in the league of a Neil French whose body of work has been known for decades for his voice, which just seemed to be one people wanted to hear no matter the context, you’d do well to demonstrate that you can indeed sound like the person the target would most relate to. As a very broad trend, “authentic”/”un-addy” has been where writers have gravitated…the “announcer-y” delivery has been generally avoided like the plague in better work, unless a cliche announcer delivery is part of the idea. Listening for fresh voices? The best read we heard lately was in work that’s not all that recent— Alec Baldwin did an unbelievably great job for a President’s Choice radio campaign. And we wouldn’t have recognized his voice if we weren’t told—he was not “himself”. When budgets are good, the great Hollywood actors often demonstrate why they’re paid the big bucks. Casting against type is often the charm. As far as the written word goes, we’re partial to smart and entertaining tone. It’s impossible to imagine any context where dull or assuming the reader has a low IQ are good choices. Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Yet most ads seem to do just that. Regardless of the voice you write with, make your words ones you’d like to hear yourself and you can’t go far wrong.

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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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