#writerscrawl2018 - Signs of the times | DMA

A room with placards pasted on the walls – big, bold and brave words scrawled across them.

A taste of things to come with Wunderman at their Signs of the times workshop as part of our #writerscrawl festival this week.

Opening proceedings, renowned sign photographer, Elaine Mott, who has photographed some of the world’s most powerful political and ethical marches, most recently – the Women’s March and the March for Grenfell.

‘These signs are an art form – they can make you laugh, make you cry’ said Mott ‘I am often quite humbled by the passion, and often – fury behind them’.

Mott went on to share her vast collection of images she has captured across the many marches she has attended, camera in hand.

‘You go to a march and it teaches you things you weren’t aware of; the plight you didn’t know about, the books you haven’t read’

Following Mott’s insight into protest photography, Wunderman creative lead, Georgie McCarthy took the floor.

‘There is so much that can be taken from these signs’ spoke McCarthy ‘what we are essentially looking at is a single-minded thought that ties everything together – a common practice of any copywriter’.

‘Copywriters, you have to fight for your right to write!’ McCarthy continued before sharing the top six tips for crafting a great sign slogan:

  1. Parallelism – ‘My body, my choice’
  2. Rhyming – ‘Ovaries before bovaeries’
  3. Personal attributes ‘There will be hell toupee!’
  4. Incredulity – ‘I still can’t believe I have to protest this shit’
  5. Mirroring – ‘Make America gay again’
  6. Positivity – ‘Build kindness, not walls’
  7. Repetition – ‘Black lives matter’

With the tips as guidance, the room was then challenged to create their own signage – with the best picked by Mott and plastered up onto the wall.

‘It’s a form that forces your audience to reconsider’ Wunderman creative copywriter, Lucy Eldridge said, speaking next ‘you aren’t handing your audience the answer, you are demanding action - asking them to think about the alternative’

Eldridge’s challenge came in the form of petty-post-it notes and lollipop sticks – mini signs, asking the room for their irritations and annoyances, ‘the more pathetic, the better’.

Wunderman senior writer, Alex Horlock examined humour, repetition and signs that inspire action, in particular, the call from Arsenal fans for manager, Arsene Wenger to resign with their worldwide placard ‘Wenger Out’ appearing in the most unlikely of places.

Horlock also touched on Donald Trump’s natural ability to create natural calls to action saying ‘his words arguably won him the election – you can’t deny the punchiness of ‘lock her up’ and ‘build the wall’

Concluding with a final challenge, with opposing signs on two sides of one argument – the evening came to an end with a room full of new words, new thoughts and a greater appreciation of giving voices to often voiceless.

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