AD NAUSEAM: a copywriter's life

My Brookstone gig

Posted in Uncategorized by CopyBlogger on the February 19th, 2011
For once, I believe the product warnings.

For once, I believe the product warnings.

THESE PAST TWO WEEKS I’ve been freelancing at Brookstone, the specialty retailer whose catalogs and stores bring upscale gifts to those who have everything.

Mostly I proofread catalog pages, look over fine print or warning disclaimers (the Soothing Head Massager with Music, shown above, has a bunch) and assist with Internet product write-ups while the in-house creative team fights through an unexpected catalog crunch. It’s an enjoyable gig, only 10 minutes from my house. And there is considerable novelty being at a place where marketers enjoy positive self-esteem. At this company, words move merchandise.

Creating desire is any ad professional’s job description, of course, but Brookstone has an easier job of it than most. The catalog pages teem with exotic gadgets, toys, soothers and extravagances.  What’s especially cool about working there is that samples are everywhere. At my little freelancer cube (as with freelancer desks everywhere, it is adjacent to the office junk cubicle), I am surrounded by iPod/iPad/iPhone cases, motorized scooters, USB adapters and travel kits of every kind.

It’s all so… Nineties.  Silver and matte gray everything, sleek blobby designs, and above all, that aura of carefree discretionary consumption which typified my single years as a New York ad guy. New stuff, better stuff, progress.

In contrast, my writing the past few years was for customers and audiences who accepted a dour, recessionary outlook: new purchase as necessary evil, hopefully a competitive leveler in an uphill world. Enthusiasm was not trusted. But at Brookstone there is brio in offering delightful McGuffins that people will proudly wrap and present to delighted recipients.

I think it has done me a lot of good, stretching old writing muscles and putting grimness on hold. Brookstone is a nice place, and the people are friendly. I’ll likely put in another week while the catalogs wrap up, and my hope is that they’ll keep me in mind for the future.

Wax tadpoles, going postal & more

Posted in Uncategorized by CopyBlogger on the February 2nd, 2011
At the Manchester Post Office, 2002
At the Manchester Post Office, 2002

HERE ARE A FEW more links to my old legacy pages. Check ‘em out:

  • The Wax Tadpole Awards, honoring the most ill-advised attempts at translating one country’s advertising into another. This was a particular interest of mine after six years of multinational campaigns at Anderson & Lembke.
  • Reminiscences about my time at the U.S. Postal Service during an earlier interlude of creative unemployment.
  • An article on Howard Gossage, legendary 1960s ad man and iconoclast, which was originally written for the A&L website.
  • My movie review of cult favorite “Faster, Pussycat! Kill, Kill!” Another A&L article.