Introducing the #writerscrawl2018 | DMA

‘Sometimes, you do just need to trust the confidence inside – your gut instinct’ said Debi Bester, CEO, Department of Change and DMA’s writer in residence, opening the week for our #writerscrawl2018 festival.

Debi has been at the beating heart of our Campaign for great British copywriting and nurtures the next generation of copywriters as the lead tutor on our Future Writers’ Labs.

It is in that spirit that we kicked off our #writerscrawl2018 week, celebrating some of the finest pieces to come out of the labs, with live critique and feedback from some of influential names in the business.

A collection of Future Writers’ Labs pieces on show set in the evening in good stead – all looking created in the name of rebranding taboo areas of society, from age to mental health.

One with sugar, one without

‘Before we met it was different’ opened Rory Smith, innovation associate at Department of Change inviting the room into his intimate long form piece, a tale of two people and a coffee pot, ‘One with sugar, one without’.

‘This piece is very much about drawing people in’ critiqued by executive creative director at RAPP, Ben Golik ‘and what I love is that Rory hasn’t shied away from long sentences. It’s a format writers seemed to have strayed away from nowadays, but there is so much rhythm to be taken from them’.

Golik went on to say ‘This is the work of a natural writer, there are narrative tricks here built through natural storytelling – the tenderness of it pours out of the page’


‘I had to shock them’ Challenged with rebranding mental health, volunteer support executive at The Charity for Civil Servants Calleigh-Marie Lawrence spoke on her Future Writers’ Labs piece, #NotChildsPlay.

Inviting the room into what she called her ‘doll’s house of doom’ Lawrence used an actual doll’s house to display her work with her copy campaign littered throughout, accompanied by scenes of disarray and scenes connected to mental health.

Lawrence continued ‘I wanted to make people feel uncomfortable – I wanted to make people angry, because that serves change and words are there to serve change’

‘The writing is empathetic – you can really visualise the people you are talking about and that has so much power behind it’ fed back managing director at bigdog, Cordell Burke in his appraisal of the piece ‘You can imagine people walking through this house – it has a campaign behind it’

He went on ‘what it does need is a call to action, where there is a problem – there needs to be a solution and that is what needs to come out this – because it is such an important message’


The final piece of the evening came from National Gallery eCRM social media executive, Ellie Wyant, sharing her campaign - addressing gender - #ItsNotJust.

After interviewing her sister, who had originally trained as a carpenter for two years, Wyant became aware of the frustrations of lack of clarity and communities for women in construction industries.

‘One evening, I came across a door frame that featured the ‘Danger: Men at work’ sign and after hearing from my sister, it just struck me in such a different way. It was so deeply archaic. I knew it had to become the centre of my campaign’ said Wyant.

Continuing she spoke ‘I came up with the slogan #ItsNotJust as a way to create a community for women in these industries – I altered the classic sign and started to stick these signs up at various construction sites around London’

‘I love that you’ve gone to take this out to the people’ Bester commented ‘Go beyond and serve because it isn’t just about digital’

Yes&Pepper creative partner, Andy Bolter offered his thoughts on the work saying ‘This has so much potential – the hashtag is so simple, but so strong’

Remarking on Wyant’s website where she created a hub for people to encourage other women to share their stories and print the #ItsNotJust sign, he said ‘You are offering this out to the people, and I think that is so humbling for a writer to do – there is a whole world you could create with this campaign’

Always offering room for improvement Bolter went on to say ‘The art director side of me really want you to flip the logo – making the exclamation mark upside down, you could afford to have that little bit more fun with it.’

Rounding off the evening with further discussions around the work, the evening came to an end with an invitation for those in the room to sign themselves up to the Future Writers’ Labs.

‘Who knows what you could create?’ Bester concluded.

To find out more about #writerscrawl2018 events, click here.

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