No presentations with titles like “Effective management thru visualization!”
No slides with lines like “follow your heart to creativity!”
No advice like “let your creativity sparkle brightly!” ever.
No fluffy non-speeches like “be more creative in three easy steps!”
No slides that say “creativity is courage” ever.
No cliches about “don't be afraid to try!”
I got my first job in the business in 1979.
Some kid out there just went, “Nineteen Seventy Nine?? Dude, did they even have ads back then?”
Why, yes we did, thank you very much. In fact, my first agency job was at Bonetool, Thog & Tarpit and I worked on prestigious new products like Fire® and Pointy-Edged Rock Cutting Tool Thing.®
As it turns out, a lot, actually. Because to survive 33 years in the ad business I had to stay up to the minute. I had to stay up on all the emerging media and technology. And so will you.
You’ll have to know about optimizing search engine results. You’ll have to know what cool technology was just unveiled at SXSW Interactive. You’ll have to know about APIs and RFIDs. And you’ll have to keeping learning new skills all the time.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert at everything. As a copywriter, I don’t really have to know how to prototype an app. But if I want to be a valued and contributing member on any project, I basically have to be the second-smartest person in the room on that subject. I have to be the second-smartest on pretty much everything except copywriting, where I hope I’d be, well, first-smartest.
Digitally, I’ve managed to hold my own through four editions of the book. Just the same, I figured it was time to bring in someone smarter than me on the subject.
Which brings me to Whipple’s new contributing author – Edward Boches. During his 31 years at agencies like Mullen and Hill Holiday, Edward went from being an early adopter and advocate of digital, to a thought leader and recognized expert.
Edward wrote Chapters 10 through 15 and brought the book up a couple of levels. I’m thrilled to call him a partner. The book comes out January 16th, 2016, but I do want to bring up a technical note before you buy it.
Hey Whipple will be available in a medium known as a “book.” Books are an excellent medium for long-copy content, but please note that if you touch a picture in the book, it will not “play.” While nothing will happen, this does not mean the book is broken. Nor does it need to be recharged. Note also, the pages do not “swipe.” You must grip the corner at the top of the right “page” and then sort of roll it back and to the left.
It’s available for pre-order now. Have a Merry Christmas.
Students: Don’t say you have an insight when you don’t. And don’t say you have a big idea, even when you do.
I’ve seen a pattern in student books over the years. The first of these two common mistakes is in the set-up, in a section students commonly title “the insight.”
Most of time these read something like “People buy this product (for example) because it’s the quickest way to clean the sink.” This however is not an insight, only an observation of what the product does.
Insights are rarely — if ever — about products or benefits, but about people; about people and all the nooks and crannies of our behavior and all the silly things we humans do related to some product, category, or service.
I’ll just throw out one example of an insight, this one from one of my own students, Brian M. In a campaign for Weber grills his insight was how guys (mostly guys, anyway) often stand behind the guy at the grill and give him advice on the correct way to grill a piece of meat. He called it “back-seat grilling” and in my book, that’s an insight. I’ve seen this behavior happen, but didn’t realize it’s really a thing until Brian pointed it out.
The other error happens when a student introduces a campaign with the title, “the big idea.” My advice is not to call anything in your book a big idea and let the person who’s reviewing your work decide whether it’s big or not. I’d probably go with something like “the idea” or “the work.”
That’s all for now. Look for tons more student advice when the 5th edition of Hey Whipple comes out in January. Ciao.