My time at Make Happy has come to a close already, and no matter how excited I am to return home, it will be sad to leave this office. These fleeting experiences are often the fate of the interns. We gain so much from each brief encounter, as they shape the course of our careers. We meet great people and are ever thankful to those who gave us a chance.
But can we ever leave behind as much as we leave with? It’s all about passing on knowledge to the new generation, but what does the new generation give back to those who come before us? The only plausible answer is terribly cliché, but here it is: Hope.
This could come in a variety of forms, but what I’ll leave behind is my hope as a potential copywriter…
It troubles me to be part of a generation that infected writing with a terrible disease. I sometimes think I am the only one left who would text an appreciative “You are great” rather than a degrading “U r gr8.” The latter makes me cringe and seriously consider gouging out my eyeballs. Those aren’t words; they are letters and numbers jumbled together into implausibly comprehensible matter. I understand that they are useful for ease and speed. But writing should require both thought and effort, and we butcher it at our own peril.
Writing is completely under appreciated by many in the general populace. It’s taught as a necessity, as a tool for communication. Well, it is that and so much more. It’s a purified extension of the spoken word. It’s our humanity laid out on paper. Excuse me as I get my profound-ness all over you.
Introducing: my personal campaign to save the written word.
Which brings me to advertising, where copywriting has lost some of its glamour. It’s all about big, flashy visuals. Companies will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a photo-shoot or film-shoot, but I guarantee they never spend that much on words.
I understand the argument. Visuals are global; writing is much more segmented by language and cultural barriers.
So find a really good translator, because here’s my opinion of the truth: words have a deeper power than any visual. Because they let you create your own.
Of course it varies from person to person, but everyone has an imagination, and the right words have the power to spark it. That’s where the magic comes from. And (as we’ve discussed in one of my classes this semester) magical thinking sells. I like to think of Advertising as the FGM (Fairy God Mother) of business.
I’m not really talking fairies, dragons, and unicorns, although that would be awesome. Advertising uses magical thinking by getting a consumer to believe they’ll receive an impossibly big change or benefit from very little effort. In my opinion, words can often do this better than visuals. Forget seeing, to read is truly to believe (my proof: the Bible).
I’m not suggesting that every ad should just be plain words on paper or screen (Although some of the best ads have been. Take The Economist for example.). But there is a reason that the book is always better than the movie. I just think we need to foster renewed appreciation for copywriting and writing in general. That’s my hope for the future, and I’m sticking to it.