A copywriter’s Christmas wishes

By Andrew Boulton |

December 15, 2014 | 4 min read

As a copywriter I’m not entirely sure what I’d like for Christmas. As a person it’s easy. Lynx, strong cheese, a beard that teenagers won’t laugh at and possibly a useless book about something like Jeff Goldblum’s 100 favourite types of milk.

But as a copywriter, I get a bit stuck. Should I ask that the clients who ask us to make copy ‘zingy’ or ‘punchy’ or anything equally vague, like ‘can we make it fall from the skies like a clumsy monkey’, should be made to live in a wheelie bin filled with their own tears?

Perhaps I should ask for the secret to one of those extraordinary pieces of copy that makes all other copywriters jab themselves enviously in the gums with a hot teaspoon. Perhaps I should just ask for the magnanimity to not be one of the gum jabbers when I’m faced, as I often am, with a breathtaking piece of writing.

As a cheeky stocking filler I’d happily take either a full and persuasive explanation, or the utter abandonment of the semi-colon. I’d also probably take the introduction of some entirely new punctuation mark in its place. Something either named the Conflexual Niblet or simply Phil.

I’d like a machine that squashes the 400 words of copy I’m far too precious to edit into the 80 words the original brief clearly asked for. If the machine could also make cheese toasties that would be a bonus, but not a deal breaker.

Reluctantly stepping away from the spirit of receiving, I’d probably love to see a great deal more of the extraordinary young copywriters I meet and hear from getting opportunities that don’t first require them to work for nothing, or exchange thoughtful and creative articles for less money than you’d need to buy a jumbo sausage roll.

I’d like a pencil that fires a stream of hot lava into the skull of anyone who suggest I can’t or shouldn’t start a sentence with ‘And’. I want an afternoon where I’m able to drink, write, look, dress, smell and arse about like Don Draper. And I absolutely want the opportunity to write a concept that involves a fistfight between a big crab and a small polar bear.

Most of all, I’d like a single moment where we all get to see just what we, as copywriters, have done over the year. It’s easy to assume that what we write is disposable, perishable, sometimes even less than incidental to the people we write to. But there are times when our words just may have prompted someone to act in a way that has made their life, and possibly the lives of the people they think are ace, a tiny bit happier for even the tiniest amount of time. I’ll have that. Or some Lego.

Follow Andrew Boulton on Twitter to find out his own 100 favourite types of milk.


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