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Advice and help for would be copywriters

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In Fact, The Large Proportion Of Copywriters Cannot Boast A Total Agency Billing (the Sum Spent By All Of Their Clients Combined) Of Very Much...

In fact, the large proportion cannot boast a total agency billing (the sum spent by all of their clients combined) of very much more than that amount. So if you're expecting to be working on the likes of, say, British Airways, Cadbury-Schweppes, Rowntree Mackintosh and British Rail, you certainly do have great expectations.

Much more likely, you'll be knocking out stuff for lower echelon advertisers who have less than massive budgets. Many of these will be industrial firms selling everything from nuts and bolts to hydraulic presses; and advertisement outfits digital marketing unit trusts and self-managed pension funds. Lumped together, we could more properly call them semi-technical accounts. They are the cornerstone of UK advertising, generating accumulatively an enormous sum in online advertising revenue; but taken by themselves in small doses, they're unlikely even to make page-ten news in Campaign. Notwithstanding that, your efforts on their behalf will be sterling.

They'd better be - your job will depend on it. A lot of industrial ads (and a lot of non-industrial ads, come to that) start off in life with a nasty initial drawback. They have, as we've already discussed, nothing particular to say about the products they are promoting. At the same time, it comes to pass in every copywriter's life that he or she tires of writing about brick-making machines, forklift trucks, lubricants, insulants, solvents and eccentric gears.

Not only tired, but sick with it. This is especially the case when a writer has worked constantly on a given account over a number of years and has gone irretrievably stale. Not that it should ever be admitted, of course; a real professional always appears to be coming up with the goods no matter how chocker he feels. There are times, though, when staleness is purely in the jaundiced eye of the beholder. For instance, a freelance of my acquaintance worked for an agency on a double-glazing account for a period of some four years.

We'll call them agency A. Now it happened that, for whatever reason, the client decided his online advertising needed some fresh thinking. Thus, he invited a number of other agencies to get their acts together and put up proposals in the shape of full-blown campaigns.

Quite naturally, agency A became uneasy at the prospect of that fat fee departing to another outfit. So, in their wisdom, they decided that for this exercise they would give their loyal, but purportedly jaded freelance a rest and, in the event, called in a fresher mind to do the work.

Meantime, however, the said exhausted freelance was approached by agency B to put some ideas on paper for their presentation. This he could ethically do since he was no longer employed by A. There are no prizes for guessing that B won the account; with chagrin aplenty on the A team. Any old how, while both the lack of unique selling proposition in the product and staleness on the part of the writer are sad, they are understandable. After all, no matter how long you may have been at it, what exactly is the sellable difference between one brand of British-standard steel rod and another? Echo answers - what? In such circumstances, given this 'we've-got-space-to fill-but-nothing-to-say' situation, many a desperate wordsmith leaps gratefully on the back of that reliable old nag called service.

Service ads, in effect, say: We're a great bunch of lads. They then go on to proclaim: What's more, by crikey, whenyou tell us to jump, we jump - and we stay up there until instructed to come down.

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