Monday, July 25, 2011

The write-to-work state

     Annie, a friend of mine in Toronto, got the word to me on Linked In that I've really got it made...sitting in cafes in Berkeley and writing.

      Annie isn't wrong. But then, writers always have it made. All they need are a pen, paper, and a brain. The rest just happens. Sort of.

      There are times I've written ads or commercials on hotel beds, airplanes, the St. Francis Hotel lobby, Canadian railroad stations, museum luncheonettes, and on the floor in my house, watching TV. (One commercial I wrote on the floor of my bedroom --- about why you owe your feet comfortable shoes --- went on to win my first Addy.)

       When students tell me they can stare at their laptops for hours and nothing happens, I remind them that laptops can't write and maybe they should close them and just let their minds wander for a while. Or even better, just to think about the customer, and what she's interested in and how you can help her.

       There are a lot of writers and art directors who are into techniques, instead of ideas. They're always looking for something that's never been done before, such as the first car commercial that doesn't show the car. (Someone tried that for introducing the Infinity. Nobody showed up at the showrooms. The client changed agencies.)

        One of my friends at DDB in New York tried for months to create "The World's First Engine Transplant" for the VW. It was a parody on heart transplants, and the idea was for the VW to reject another car's engine. He couldn't make it work, and that's probably a good thing.

        Writers all have tricks to get their juices flowing.  Mine is to imagine Woody Allen talking to Annie Hall. Once I get that out of my system, I try other directions...Bob Newhart, a whispering Marilyn Monroe, two detectives, three bank robbers, and so on.

        The main thing is to read and write every day. It's fun and Annie's right. Be an art director or copywriter and you've got it made. Just be prepared for it to take longer to finish your latte.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Harvey! You may find this article interesting.

    The power of good advertising and good product...