#writerscrawl2018 - Anatomy of award-winning copy with OLIVER

How do you get cynical media buyers to sit up and take notice?

‘Making them laugh is a good starting point’ said Sam Jacobs, design director of OLIVER opening their webinar as part of the #writerscrawl2018 festival week.

Joined by OLIVER senior copywriter, James Fieldhouse – the pair joined forces again, providing invaluable insight into their DMA award-winning campaign for best writing: The Guardian, The Media Planner.

The Guardian asked us for a fun and memorable way to launch their new ad proposition’ continued Jacobs ‘we had to find a new and engaging way to get media planners attention – which is no mean feat’

‘It is a noisy market’ said Fieldhouse ‘we wanted to cut through the noise with something that would surprise and delight – but we soon realised our power came in shocking people too’

From knowing that media planners get a fair amount landing in their letterboxes, the team really wanted to push the boundaries of what was acceptable, all the while being faithful to The Guardian’s core values.

Fieldhouse went on ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal – we stole that phrase from someone actually’

The team decided to move forward with the concept of the adult version of the classic Penguin books, leading with the title ‘The Media Planner’.

‘We ruthlessly pillaged the idea of the book’ said Jacobs ‘we knew it was the right avenue’

Having successfully pitched the idea, it was onto the writing ‘For the first draft we wanted to push it as far as we could – without us being arrested’ said Fieldhouse ‘But we were surprised when the feedback from the client was fairly positive, they wanted to take a few extremities out but essentially left us with a really strong framework to play with.’

‘We worked with a company called Hoot to pack in as many laughs per page as possible’ said Jacobs ‘they gave us some great feedback that really allowed us to be imaginative as possible’

Commenting on the marriage of copy and illustrations, Jacobs continued ‘At the beginning - the illustrations were very much a product of the copy, but that dynamic changed in the rewrites, where we wrote to the illustrations – which was actually really nice as we knew where we had to go with it’

‘It was all about making fun of yourself – that went for The Guardian too, we tried to push it to the edge’ said Fieldhouse ‘that self-deprecation can be extremely appealing for a brand’

He continued ‘We became so attached to the world of it, and the characters – we follow-on ideas where you could get a pack to dress like the characters, and we also wanted to turn into a play and have it acted out by children – unfortunately budget wouldn’t allow us’

‘The book did rather well’ Fieldhouse concluded ‘Not that we like to brag – but it win a DMA, and in the end, that’s all that really matters isn’t it?’

Advice on becoming a successful copywriter?

‘Be persistent’ finished Jacobs ‘I remember running around to every agency in Liverpool with my portfolio when I started out – so make sure you have your portfolio sorted too. From there, you just have to put in the time and love what you do.’

Please login to comment.