DMA asks: ‘Is copywriting dead?’

DMA asks 'Is copywriting dead'The DMA is attempting to spark a major debate about the creative crafts with a new initiative dubbed “The Campaign for Great British Copywriting” which aims to raise awareness of what it sees as declining writing standards in the creative industry today.
The campaign – created in collaboration with the DMA’s own agency, An Abundance – kicks off with the launch of the first ever copywriters’ census, designed to recognise every copywriter in the UK and explore the state of copywriting in a digital age.
It has been supported by a nine-minute video, which was shot over two days in September, that considers how copywriting has evolved over the past few decades, is being shaped by changing media and commercial pressures, and the future it faces.
Madmen v Mavens marks the start of the DMA’s campaign to restore the international status of British copywriting to what the trade body claims was its once-envied position.
The film is divided into two groups – the “industry veterans” versus the “youngish guns” – who debate the issue separately at different venues.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the veterans bemoan the state of copywriting today, with former adman Tony Brignull – D&AD’s most awarded copywriter – proclaiming: “Copywriting is dead.” Meanwhile self-confessed junk mailer John Watson says: “There seems to be a resistance in this country now to reading and learning about copywriting.”
On the other side of the fence, sit the youngish guns. Ross Newton, associate creative director of Partners Andrews Aldridge and Lida executive creative director Nicky Bullard recognise the industry is simply changing – some changes for the good, others not so. But one very young gun – CHI & Partners junior copywriter Helen Rogerson – hails Twitter as “one of my favourite things, because you are interacting with people”.
Commenting on the campaign, the DMA’s executive director,Chris Combemale, said: “We want to shine a light on the art and craft of great copywriting and give copywriters a voice. As part of our initiative to champion creativity, we have set out to listen to copywriters’ views on the state of their craft.
“We want to inspire writers and demonstrate their value to growing business and rally the industry and clients to support them as they create the future of one-to-one to millions marketing.”
However, in the comments section on YouTube, Russell Norris, a freelance copywriter at Burberry seems unimpressed. He writes: “Both sides come off quite badly in this video, I think. The older writers seem bitter and full of disdain for the changing landscape of advertising; the younger writers seem superficial and curiously inarticulate. Also: why the perpetual focus on agency-side copywriting? What about the in-house copywriters – who are much more prevalent than you’d think?”
To join in the debate check out the Twitter tag #DMAwriting and take the census at the DMA microsite http://dma.org.uk/greatbritishcopywriting

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