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Category Archives: Words and writing

“Do you want your receipt?”

Here is a new but pervasive conversation in my home area (upstate New York). You’ll be completing a credit card transaction at a retail counter and the checker says, “do you want your receipt?” Well, of course I don’t. In an era of readily available online statements there are easier ways to track my purchases. […]

John Burgess: a life well lived on the internet

I thought about making this anonymous, but I don’t think there’s anything that John Burgess and his family wouldn’t want to share. And maybe they’ll see this and contact me with additional details. Recently, for reasons of my own, I googled “what does turtle taste like”. One of the top hits was an excellent answer […]

Hopkins Scientific Advertising for free?

Would you like a free copy of Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins? Sure you would, because this marketing classic is as relevant today as when it was published in 1923. Here are four principles from the book, as summarized on the Marketing Experiments blog: 1. People are selfish. 2. Generalities are worthless. 3. Advertising is salesmanship. […]

Are copywriters the last storytellers?

Every copywriter should read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and following that, Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. The first describes the classic myth structure which has existed across many civilizations and millennia: the hero emerges from humble beginnings, deals with adversity and learns from it, battles for cause and identity, suffers a major setback and enters […]

Sixfold: A crowd sourced literary competition

Are you a copywriter who has dreams of publishing legitimate (i.e. non-marketing) prose or poetry? Then take a look at Sixfold.org. This outfit puts on regular literary competitions you can enter for the very reasonable fee of $5, plus a commitment to read and critique 18 fellow competitors’ work. Entries are submitted via the web, […]

Does ScoreIt teach you to write like Stephen King?

Food for thought: I recently received an email from Bowker, a service that provides ISBN numbers to self-published authors. They have a new product that allows you to compare your prose to that of successful published writers and find out who has a style and genre close to yours. The software is ScoreIt, and it […]

What the pool guy can teach us about selling freelance creative

I’ve recently moved into a house which, two owners ago, was tricked out with all the bells and whistles available in the early 1990s. Most of these tchotchkes have fallen into disrepair and must either be abandoned (like the in-wall coax cabling throughout the house) or gussied up. This has caused visits by a stream […]

Why Cadillac “Dare Greatly” campaign doesn’t

While many brands made a political statement with ads on the 2017 Super Bowl, Cadillac saved theirs for the (surprisingly non-political) Academy Awards telecast. “We are a nation divided. That’s what they tell us, right?” the ad begins. “But what they don’t tell you, what doesn’t make the news, is this: We carry each other forward.” […]

Super Bowl FSIs (2017 edition): it’s a home run! Oh, wait…

  It’s been a full two years since we checked in on the newspaper supplement coupons that appear the Sunday before the Super Bowl, wherein advertisers contort themselves to refer to the event without using the actual name, which is licensed and which license is heavily enforced. The world has gone through painful gyrations in […]

Lessons not learned in 2016

Brexit and Donald Trump’s election were, according to fivethirtyeight.com, well within the margin of error in polling predictions and so were shocking only because people were mentally and emotionally incapable of thinking these events would take place. This made me think of some experiences with focus groups and direct mail back in the days when […]

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