AD NAUSEAM: a copywriter's life

Tales from the copy crypt – volume 1

Posted in Uncategorized by CopyBlogger on the January 30th, 2011


Lonza-Ad-and-CD-pkgAH, Y2K! ON THE CUSP of the 21st century, clients everywhere yearned to take prospects on virtual tours via that biggest of next big things, the CD-ROM. Here’s a rarely-seen project I did at O’Neil Griffin Bodi (Manchester, NH) for Lonza, a gentech multinational specializing in batch manufacture of new pharmaceutical products for evaluation in clinical trials.

The brief was simple: publicize Lonza’s unusually long 15-year track record and position the company as a safe choice for jittery drug makers who had seen too many contract manufacturers disappear quickly after early gentech hype.  Account man Pat McGee then had the inspired idea of redefining our category. Why not change the discussion from “contract manufacturing” to confidence manufacturing, since Lonza clients were staking millions in product R&D on every clinical trial?

With confidence as our watchword, I and creative director Elaine Krause tackled two tasks. We needed a high-impact print ad to draw inquiries from pharmaceutical journals, plus a packaging concept for the Lonza CD-ROM already in development.


For the ad we selected a visual unlike anything else in the staid industry books: a nervous swimmer leaping off a diving board into an endless sea, equipped with everything from life preserver to swim fins. My headline: Think of us as the inner tube. Copy from the campaign explained it this way:

Diving into a contract manufacturing relationship can be an intimidating decision. When you’re braving the unknown depths of biopharmaceutical manufacturing, what you really need is a confidence manufacturer.

Our offer was a CD detailing Lonza’s time-tested capabilities, complete with virtual tour. How to package that CD? I had the perfect answer, and it was easy. Put it in a laboratory Petri dish! We then added a circular insert, headlined Confidence is in our culture. Distinctive, relevant and cheap, it allowed plenty of room for supporting quotes from Lonza’s best-known experts — helping industry decision-makers accept Lonza as THE risk-free partner they could feel confident about.

TALES FROM THE COPY CRYPT is a look back at lesser-known projects from Dave Conley’s 25-year career as copywriter, editor and marketing strategist. To see other samples, visit

Remembering Joe

Posted in Uncategorized by CopyBlogger on the January 28th, 2011
Joe Sweet, 1959 - 2002

Joe Sweet, 1959 - 2002

EIGHT YEARS AGO this month I wrote about my friend and fellow copywriter Joe Sweet, who died far too soon at age 43. That page has sort of gotten lost amid the many domain and navigation changes to my site, so I’m linking to it here as a way of putting a memorable old friend back on the radar. Click here for his obituary.

A sad thing about advertising is the institutionalized shallowness it glorifies. For all but the most famous industry figures, an obituary is pretty much limited to “What were his campaigns?” and “Did he win many awards?” Google up Joe Sweet and you’ll find that he did groundbreaking work for BMW at Fallon, back in the 1990s. But you won’t find much else. So check out my more personal memories of an old friend … before he became enough of a somebody to merit a two-line trade obit.