Lafcadio Hern ended his ode to words with this lasting phrase,
“Because they cannot perceive the pouting of words, the weeping, the raging and the rocking of words. Is that any reason why we should not try to make them hear, to make them feel?”
He was of course referring to those who do not appreciate the
beauty of words./p>
I wish I could tell you that I could write as beautifully and with so much tenderness as Lafcadio, to do so would be indeed an arrogance, for my skills pale into insignificance next to the work and lyrical cadence of such a master. Nonetheless I am a copy writer and as such my job is to communicate. Unlike others in my profession I do not lean towards the workings of advertising soliloquy which convinces itself that persuasion is the art of creating desire. I flaunt convention and try to include the workings of the great masters in my deliverance of commercial communication. I also attempt to ensure that the communication does not imply a certain level of ignorance or lack of intellect on the part of the reader. Rightly or wrongly I take the high ground and assume that everyone is smart and intelligent – why should I not?
Most commercial copy is mundane and assumes that consumers are either immature or even stupid. It borders on the banal and for any writer it abounds in platitudes, patronising pros and a certain hedonism as they fashion the phrases to illuminate transparency and hide the truth. It is more spin than spine! So why do copy writers resort to such mechanisms? I know many of them, all competent writers with excellent intellect and if you ask them ‘why?’ they will all respond the same way – It’s the expectation of the client, they
What is it about our profession that allows people with little or no skills in this field to believe they can better communicate because they know their product or service better than the person they commission to write their work? I don’t know the answer and I’m not about to guess or presume I know the answer all I ask is this.
Next time you see that phrase, “you’ll never experience anything like it”; “we give you the very best…” or one of those mundane sales pitches. Please, please, oh please, remember we write the words but we don’t always control the pen. Copy cats abound, they pounce and kill and they are fast diminishing our commercial writers. In fact we are endangered.
I am a writer, but I’m nothing without a story.