Is copywriting an indulgence a client can’t afford? picture

The inversion of Salman Rushdie’s immortal line, exhorting a nation facing the first wave of healthy eating fascism, to feel OK about eating cream cakes, is how the copywriter usually feels when his/her expertise is rejected by a client as an unnecessary luxury.

We’ve all been there – the fat, juicy job that comes in, the brochures, adverts and PR that are required. The designers rub their hands in sure certainty. Design is the steak and salad – the meat of marketing, and the dressing. The copywriter, bright-eyed at the terminal, fingers already twitching with embryonic lines, has the creative juices smartly staunched with an apologetic shrug, because the client has already written the copy. Wordsmithing has dropped off the bottom of the menu – an indulgence, a case of too many calories in a fat-conscious world.

What can we do? We sulk over our screens, brooding on the reality we live with – that while the need for design is a no-brainer, copy is not seen as an indispensible ingredient of a healthy marketing campaign, but an optional extra. And why choose the extravagance of a copywriter when the client company is already full of people more than capable of stringing a sentence together?

In the same way slimmers cut calories to reduce bulging waistlines, clients trim their marketing campaigns to achieve cost efficiency. A tummy-tuck here, a dash of liposuction there, smaller portions all round – and the pounds are saved, the campaign slim and trim. But there’s a difference between being lean and mean and being simply skinny. And often, the first cut falls on the copywriter. Why is this?

One of Dynam’s clear thinking strategies rests on the notion that we never produce design for design’s sake – you’ll never be offered a piece of marketing that’s all looks and no brains. Fit, healthy marketing campaigns are created to reflect a business in prime condition – and terrific-looking design can’t do the job alone. No client wants to be represented by a beauty queen that looks great but has nothing to say – what a client really needs is a body-builder.

At Dynam, the copywriter is both the bridge between design and marketing, and the bridge between client knowledge and target market understanding. It’s their job to interpret product and client information, extract a sales proposition and then deliver it to the target market. Design and copy are a symbiosis – image and message work together under the clear thinking umbrella to make your product or service memorable, individual – and irresistible. If buff design runs up against floppy copy, the whole campaign fails the fitness test.

So next time you’re thinking about shedding a few pounds off your next campaign, here are five great things a copywriter can do to fight the flab:

  1. 20x20 vision - a copywriter brings objectivity and clarity to the campaign, separating background detail from essential information, and communicates it clearly to the target market
  2. Style – a copywriter talks convincingly and seductively to the people most interested in you, in the language they understand
  3. Precision – a copywriter slices away unwanted fat, illuminating your most attractive features with alluring key words and shapely selling messages
  4. Elegance – a copywriter is a professional trained in the art of words – a poet, wit, spin doctor, temptress, persuader, teacher; above all, a sales person who clinches deals
  5. Authenticity – with vision, style, precision and elegance, a copywriter gives you credibility, builds belief, gives you a platform in the marketplace – and gives your campaign a sleek athleticism that keeps it running long after the launch.

Still think a copywriter is a cream cake? Or is the copywriter the ultimate health and fitness regime – with a fat-free cherry on top?

I guess we’ll find out the next time that fat, juicy job comes in.