Why did the copywriter cross the road?

Inglourious BasterdsHumour works in many ways and on many levels. Here’s a Telegraph extract from ‘The Naked Jape‘, by Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greeves that shares some of them. They talk about setting up the punchline, comic timing and economy of language – check it out it you have time, there’s a wonderful Emo Philips routine that’s worth the admission fee alone. Much humour relies on a simple premise – you set a scenario then undermine it – the insight switch.

Copywriters too, whatever they’re copywriting, from SEO articles, to web marketing copy to blogs can also use the same technique to spike interest and win some fresh angles – to pervert the cliché.

Familiarity breeds content – a good post about preparation, how important it is to have a clear understand of the brief and do plenty of research.

The path of most resistance – some tips and tricks to help you find inspiration for your next project.

It’s not rocket surgery – a post about how geek speak and corporate starch kills your messages.

Sex and drugs and sausage rolls – would look good on a T-shirt (for about 9 seconds).

Apathy for the Devil – Decent title of a ’70s Memoir by Rock Journalist Nick Kent that looks like essential reading

I’m sure you get the idea.

You’re twisting your readers’ experience and snapping them out of just looking and not reading. Hopefully you are offering some useful insight as well as showing clients and prospective clients that maybe, just maybe you’re got the kind of free thinking creative input that can deliver inspirational copywriting. Then again, they might just think you’re a dick.

Seth Godin also likes to take a cliché and turn it back on itself. To act all counter intuitively – ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is the common advice, well ‘I don’t know about you, but I judge books by their cover every day,’ says Seth. You can see what he’s doing – it’s smart. His contrary take on a common expression, a perceived wisdom, is breathing new life and perspective into a lazy, stale throw away bunch of words. His new interpretation, his re-appraisal gives us a new way of seeing things and it offers him a little more clear water between him and those that just want to be him. To paraphrase Patti Smith and a million others, ‘to be an artist is to see what others cannot.’

Sure – copywriters aren’t necessarily paid for their artistry but if a little colour (or is it color these days?), a little twink catches the eye, isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that a copywriter’s job?

For phonetics sake!

What do you think? What about spelling? Is correct spelling clichéd too? What about corrupting spelling to differentiate?  SEO copywriters already deliberately misspell words to capture search spelling errors. Brands often warp spelling too for phonetics sake. But copywriters deliberately misspelling words for marketing purposes? Inglourious Basterds.

Imagine – a massive billboard with a big fat misspelling slap bang in the middel. Or even a little one snuck in the corner. Would people share? Would they talk about it? Would it create?

Is ridicule something to be scared of ?

Would you? Dare you even put it to a client?

Tell me what you think.

Inglourious Basterds?

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Why did the copywriter cross the road?

6 Responses

  1. Would I misspell if it helped a client sell more. Fcuk yeah!

    Andy Maslen February 23, 2010 at 6:50 am #
  2. Ahhhhh I get it now!

    Martin February 23, 2010 at 7:20 am #
  3. You have to be a Trevor Beattie fan!

    Andy Maslen February 23, 2010 at 10:36 am #
  4. Genuis!

    Martin March 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

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