I was just explaining to my smart, classy friend Gary why I am such a good copywriter.
Gary thinks it's because I crave the attention of strangers. (I do.)
"Gary, I am hurt that you think I'm that shallow," I say. "I love stories! I love solving customer pain points! And yeah, I love self-aware product inserts written in the voice of a cartoon fox. So sue me."
Gary goes on to say that all good copywriters are fearless. They use plain language, language that sings, and they respect their audience. They're funny, but they don't sacrifice clarity for cleverness. Gary is really nailing it tonight. He's staring wistfully at a can of grapefruit LaCroix while he talks, peering somehow both into and beyond it.
At this point I am prepared to launch into a whole thing: how my short-form work can be found on boxes, blogs and boutique brand strategies across the country and how my long-form work has appeared in The Stranger, The Airgonaut, The Princeton Sun. How I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016 and how I once wrote a novel in the margins of a machine manual I found in a fox den in Alaska, and-
But Gary leans his head on my shoulder before I can speak. He points: a shooting star is burning across the sky. Isn't it beautiful? He seems to be saying. Isn't it beyond words?
And it is, so we leave it at that.
web copy, product descriptions, short and long-form content
An Origin Story
The Ideal Customer
Like a chimera made from mismatched raincoats,
Stitch the world of advertising and the world of art together
such that light shines through the crooked seam,
breathing little fire into its lungs,
lending little life from your own muscles:
A rain-soaked VHS copy of Steven Wright’s 1990 HBO Special Wicker Chairs and Gravity.
The marketing team watches in awe as the monster lobs
flaming arrows straight into the heart
of our baffled, enchanted Ideal Customer.
Lured by the reflected image of herself, she is unable to stop
“The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy. This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire – but to channel and direct it.”
- Eugene Schwartz
"A MACHINE THAT STEALS YOUR SOUL." - Ulysses S. Grant
The typewriter was to souls as Rickey Henderson was to third base. Read it and weep, Steve Jobs.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF THE TYPEWRITER, 1868-2021
Only the daguerreotype stole more souls.
Who doesn't love getting letters from strangers on roughly the same schedule as the Olympic games?