At the moment, a lot of my work seems to be in the area of writing fund-raising letters and collateral copy. This is stimulating work because you have to encapsulate the entire ‘ask’ in your opening line and then build an irresistible rhetorical crescendo to produce the desired result of a donation.
It may surprise you to learn that the opening line comes before the letter itself is opened; it comes in the form of a handful of carefully-chosen words on the envelope. I enjoy the challenge of refining a complex or otherwise verbose proposition into 12 or 16 finely-tuned words.
This helps me appreciate the work of advertising copywriters who face similar challenges. So when I look at printed adverts in the press and magazines, I enjoy thinking through what the ad executive’s thought-process might have been in coming up with the advert copy.
Adverts often reflect the cultural Zeitgeist and provide a window into the joys, anxieties and aspirations of the time. I was therefore highly amused to see adverts from the 1950s and ’60s in a stack of old newspapers I found. I had an endless array to show you, so I limited myself to three, all within the theme of drinking for health and pleasure (however irresponsibly!).
I’d love to see advertising executives try to pitch these concepts now… enjoy!
Imagine the pitch: “We can sell your gin by pointing out the cost savings to be had by switching from a car to a motorbike when driving to and from the pub. People can drink more and still drive home!”
(And, yes, 1607 glasses of gin in a year averages out at 4.4 units of alcohol per day. This would put you over the UK drink-drive limit and then some.)
Don’t go to the gym – drink yourself healthy!
Lucozade is really a health drink. Buy it for your children today.
UPDATED TO ADD:
By sheer coincidence I just saw this advert (below) which reveals a remarkably different Zeitgeist from above:Read more about this advert on the BBC.