The UK’s DMA (Direct Marketing Association) has launched a campaign for ‘Great British Copywriting.’
It might as well be the World Wildlife Fund doing it, as ‘great’ copywriters are indeed a threatened species, as you can see from the DMA’s film ‘Madmen v Mavens.’
Which is a bit of a misnomer in itself. A maven is a ‘trusted expert’ whereas the mavens in the film are, chiefly, youngsters who think the advocates of copywriting are old dinosaurs – one bloke in a beenie says he think copywriting itself is a misnomer. Whereas the ‘Madmen’ are oldies from CDP and once-famous direct marketing agencies (hardly ‘Mad Men’ in a Don Draper way) who would, indeed, be summoned to write some words while an art director commissioned a picture or two.
Which ain’t the way things work now, as the mavens, who seem to favour blue hair, point out.
So it’s an argument that’s never likely to be resolved. Famous CDP creative director John Salmon is right to say that much of today’s British advertising is ‘boring and predictable.’
You do occasionally get an ad out of the CDP mould: like this one for Kronebourg from Ogilvy; made 18 months or so ago but still on the telly.
So somebody thinks the old ways still work.
CDP’s Tony Brignull, along with the late David Abbott the best of British copywriters, argues that you don’t even find decent copywriting on posters these days – which is inexcusable, especially given the huge range of spectacular outdoor options now available. And posters are where copywriters and art directors always did function as full-on teams, in the modern way.
But it’s a great poster.
Maybe we should be campaigning for ‘Great British Ideas.’