I run Copywriting workshops around the world. Sometimes 10 people come. Sometimes 30. Sometimes they’re just starting out. Sometimes they've been in the industry a while. Sometimes they think they don’t know anything. Sometimes they think they need a reminder – or just some reassurance that they’re doing it right. I tell everyone the same thing: Copywriting is a conversation. We’re talking to people. And they’re busy. They’re taking the kids to school. Going to work. Working out. Shopping. Cleaning the house. Walking the dog. Feeding the cat. Making dinner. Washing up. Relaxing. And we’re in their ears on the radio. In their face in print, on TV, online, on billboards – the list goes… well, on. So we must talk their language. We must be welcome in their home and in their car, or on their mobile, on their commute, and on their high street. We must write how we talk. Even better, we must write how our customer talks.
It’s no secret that female product commercials tend to recycle the same, tired clichés. Shaving commercials feature women pointlessly shaving already hairless armpits and unrealistically stone-smooth legs. Chicago-based photographer, Ashley Armitage, has teamed up with Billie, a female-first shave and body brand, to produce the first ever advert to feature women’s body hair. Long overdue, the commercial sees girls reclaiming and celebrating natural beauty. Set to Princess Nokia’s “Tomboy”, Ashley describes her directional debut as “dreamy, playful and lighthearted”, and it appreciates women for what they are, rather than pushing them towards unrealistic, ridiculous ends. Known for her body-positive images, centred around the female gaze, Billie’s company values truly align with Ashley’s;
New research has revealed the extent of sexual harassment in the industry, with 26% of people saying they have been sexually harassed at some point during their career – 72% of those more than once and 25% six times or more. Of those, 34% were women and 9% were men, with a further 30% saying they have witnessed sexual harassment happening to others. 20% of women and 5% of men between the ages of 18 and 24 have been sexually harassed in the first few years of working. The vast majority (82%) said it was by somebody senior to them. Some also described the involvement of senior management in covering up sexual harassment cases, while others highlighted their role in encouraging staff to flirt with their clients or customers – or put up with unwelcome attention to win, or retain, business. Less than one in five (17%) have ever officially reported it.
After another week of Brexit bickering it was interesting to see one bit of news livening up the debate was the announcement that Airbus are considering to jump ship if the UK fails to secure a transition deal. And if that wasn’t a big enough blow to the ‘keep calm and carry on’ brigade, it was shortly followed by Mini and Rolls Royce (now owned by BMW) who announced they too are considering pressing the ejector seat button. Whilst this type of posturing is an inevitable part of the Brexit melt down, it felt all the more heart wrenching that two brands that are so wedded to their British heritage would be considering an expat life. But alas, Rolls and Mini weren’t the only brands this month to be caught up in the debate. Whilst Mr Trump has been busy making enemies stateside, it appears that Harley Davidson have been taking the brunt of retaliatory tariffs. They too are talking of moving production outside of the US - albeit not all of it.
Quick quiz for you. How many of the following statements have you heard in the last three months? Consumers are ad-savvy. Nobody reads ads anymore. Advertising has to be entertaining. People are interested in our brand purpose. If you employ an advertising agency, or work in one, the chances are high that you’ll have nodded, mm-hmm-ed or “yes”ed to all four. But here’s the thing. Most people, and by that I mean, statistically, all people, don’t work in or employ advertising agencies. About 15 years ago, I moved from an ad-folk-heavy part of West London to Salisbury. Once a sleepy market town with a piece of paper entitling it to call itself a city, Salisbury is now renowned globally for its recent dalliance with Novichok, and matters geopolitical.