by Sara Mohs
When I tell people I’m a writer, they usually assume I’m a novelist.
“What sort of stories do you write?” they ask.
“I’m in advertising,” I say, inserting a sharp pin into their bubble of high expectations.
“That’s too bad,” they say.
(Okay, they don’t actually say that. In so many words.)
Advertising copywriters are the red-headed stepchildren of the writing world. Because — let’s face it — advertising isn’t always considered a noble profession. Advertisers have a reputation for being superficial, pushy, and less than honest.
But here’s the real deal. In my 25+ years in the industry, I’ve never known a really talented creative who wasn’t passionate about getting down to the nitty gritty truth of the product he or she was working on … and how that truth impacts the customer. If the product doesn’t create the experience we say it will, we just wasted a lot of time and money. Because it costs a lot more to attract new customers than it does to keep the ones we have. And even the best campaign won’t save a product that can’t hold up its end of the bargain.
Finding those truths is ground zero of any creative strategy. It’s often the best (yet, toughest) part of our job. It can take a lot of research, time, and thought. But, when we finally put our finger on the place where the most basic customer need intersects with an authentic product experience, it’s worth the end result. The best branding efforts, communication plans, and promotional campaigns are borne out of that sweet spot. It’s where we build strategies that resonate with customers before the sale … and live up to the product’s promise long after.
Advertising doesn’t always have the best reputation. But when it’s done with thought and care and skill, it’s both challenging and rewarding. I love that about my job.
In fact, I may write a story about it someday.