Writer, Reader, Rascal

To be a successful copywriter you need 8 key things. Fingers. Chortle.

This is the kind of massively unhelpful and entirely spurious advice you can expect from Andrew Boulton, ...

...copywriter at Together and all round scoundrel.

Having smashed his increasingly chubby copywriting fingertips against keyboards for many years – starting life as copywriter for Egg before moving on to top Midlands agency Together – he’s learned a thing or two about how to deliver a captivatingly brilliant piece of copy.

Sadly, he’s forgotten all of that and all we’re left with are his shambolic, often scurrilous, ramblings about whatever has caught his wild copywriter’s eye that week.

Enjoy his words, say nice things to him and send him free biscuits. This is all he asks.

You can venture into the world of Together at www.togetheragency.co.uk and follow him on Twitter @Boultini

Read more...
5 November 2012 - 9:35am | posted by | 1 comment

Ode on a Copywriter: The highs and lows of rhymes, poetry and jingles in advertising

Despite the propaganda, very few people in the Congo actually drink Um Bongo. Do not believe the lies.Despite the propaganda, very few people in the Congo actually drink Um

‘Um Bongo, Um Bongo they drink in the Congo…’

Fear not dear reader, you have not been transported back to 1985, an age where another seven Star Wars films would have seemed like a wonderful idea.

The reason for the classic little ditty that opened this week’s blog is that we are going to ponder the role of rhymes, poems and jingles in modern advertising.

As a copywriter I personally love lyrical advertising. It allows me to pretend I am a proper writer and not, as my dear wife often tells me, a credit card salesman.

Along with dinosaurs and obscure Die Hard references, rhymes and poems are amongst my most regularly pitched (and, sadly, rejected) concepts.

I once spent the best part of two days desperately trying to form a line that would rhyme with ‘terms and conditions apply’ – my best attempt being ‘worms and magicians reply’ (which was not only a terrible rhyme but also factually inaccurate).

However, I am pleased to see examples where copywriters have been encouraged to unleash the poetry that is buried within their dark and miserable souls.

The McDonald’s ‘Just Passing By’ poetry ads were surprisingly charming for a corporation that most people think is a tiny bit evil.

Similarly the narration of the Cathedral City adverts has a captivating sense of poetry, aided considerably by a sublime delivery from Pete Postlethwaite.

Then of course, there is the use of classic poetry in advertising with Centre Parcs using a William Henry Davies verse, Waitrose narrating an ad with Keats’ ‘Ode To Autumn’ and Volkswagen choosing an extract from Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’ read, beautifully, by Richard Burton.

All were incredibly effective, although I’m not sure what Dylan Thomas would have made of his poetry being used to flog cars, in the same way I’m not convinced that WH Auden would have been thrilled to know his poem helped inflict John Hannah upon us for the next 20 years.

Of course, poetry in advertising is very much a knife edge commitment. Well applied, like the examples above, it can be appealing and persuasive. Poorly executed it can make you cringe so intensely you very nearly implode.

On the other hand, jingles in marketing do not seem to be enjoying the same kind of success and profile they did in previous decades.

Growing up as a ‘less-chubby-than-I-am-now’ youth in the fine city of Nottingham, there were countless superb advertising jingles or songs. Back then it was vital to your status (and physical safety) in the playground to learn all the words to the latest popular tune. The penalty for failing to know Kia-Ora’s ‘I’ll be your crow’ song and dance was the Killer Peanut*.

* This where you pull on the victim’s tie so tightly that the knot shrinks down to the size of a peanut. More people are hospitalised each year because of the Killer Peanut than for shark, hippo and badger attacks combined. FACT.

Nowadays I struggle to think of a single advertising jingle that matches up to the standards set by Um Bongo, Kia-Ora, Kwik Fit (‘You can’t better than a Kwik Fit Fitter’) Club (‘if you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our club’) and the like.

The ‘Go Compare’ tune is regrettably memorable, but that was clearly designed to be intentionally and actively annoying – hence the current series of ads in which Stuart Pearce and Ray Mears mercilessly bully Gio Compario.

I personally hope the jingle does recapture its glory days. Partly because I think it’s a playful medium of old-fashioned advertising that has more than earned its right to be a credible creative technique.

Mostly though, because I no longer wear a tie and should therefore be entirely safe from the Killer Peanut.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to pick an apricot, a guava and a mango, stick it with the others and dance a dainty tango. That’s just what I like to do.

@Boultini

Andrew Boulton is a copywriter at the Together Agency. Nothing rhymes with Andrew, Boulton, copywriter or Together Agency.

Don't miss out... Get your Advertising news by email

Comments

8 Nov 2012 - 14:12
hanna94218's picture
1
comments

At a reunion last week, my friends and I were reminiscing about the radio ad for "First Choice Drains" in North Yorkshire, which we could all remember with rather startling clarity. Our delight when we heard the EXACT advert in our taxi on the way in to town that night was, understandably, very great and marred only by the drivers refusal to take us any further if we did not stop our "screaming" (tuneful singing).

1
0

Write Your Comment

New to The Drum

You will be sent a verification email. Click on the link in the email to post your comment.

Have your say

Opinion, blogs and columnists - call them what you like - this is the section where people have something to say. You might agree or you might not - whatever opinion you have make your views known in comments. Views of writers are not necessarily those of The Drum. If you would like to contribute a comment piece, email your idea to opinion@thedrum.com.