“I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight.”
— Bonnie Tyler
Sure, you might not know it to look at us. And some of my fellow copywriters might be too ashamed to say it. But I’m not afraid. (Especially in an anonymous column.)
Copywriters are truly heroes.
We’re brave. Evil deadlines. Horrifyingly under-thought creative briefs. Scary clients who throw obstacles in our paths. We are beset on all sides by terror, and yet we dig down deep to arrive at the office every morning by 11:00.
We have incredible skills. Talking art directors out of their weird lunch-place choices. Correcting our colleagues’ spelling and grammar mistakes without making them cry. Persuading account execs and clients that our ideas are valid, strategic, and will stand out from the competition. That’s all eighth-level-black-belt-ninja stuff.
Oh, and we craft diamond-encrusted copy that will soothe your soul and drive you insane.
We’re willing to sacrifice. It’s not every person who is blessed with creative genius, yet turns it down 85% in order to sell insurance or cheaply made sneakers or social anxiety medication whose main side effect is nervousness. In order to keep the wheels of capitalism greasy smooth, copywriters must battle against every good and pure instinct they have to make sure that Chubby Charlie demands that Mommy buys him Mega Sugar Choco Cereal as part of his nutritious breakfast.
We seek out adventure. There are times, though, when we allow our impish creative mind-elves to party. When we suggest using humor to market a product whose industry has none. Or we aggressively assert an alliterative approach, although our audience is aloof. We take risks when our hearts and guts and nethers drive us to do so (even though our minds know that it’s usually pointless).
We save the day. Imagine...the client has given us little to go on. The art director has no clue where to begin. The ad space purchased is too small, and no one in the target audience will ever find it. The unrealistic deadline approaches like a bullet train to Crapville.
So the noble copywriter takes action. Armed with only a MacBook, this word warrior digs down deep to find the perfect idea. Guarding it against all odds, naysayers and enemies, the copywriter delivers the idea to its rightful place in the pantheon of advertising genius. And the reward? A round of watered-down drinks and the smug satisfaction that I wrote “Got Milk?”
After a year of creative incarceration in Corporate World, your beloved Corporate Hack finally distracted the guards, outran the bloodhounds and scaled the wall to make his escape. Now that he’s back where he belongs in Ad World, he’s re-branded himself as The Inside Man...but he’s still having Ad-Verse Reactions.