What it takes to become an advertising copywriter
Lawson Clarke AKA Male CopywriterÂ was named one of Top Five Ad Agency Twitter Accounts To Follow by Digiday. A couple of weeks back we interviewedÂ Male Copywriter about his life in advertising.Â We now follow this up with his unique insight on how to make it as a copywriter, and while keeping your cloths on.
Advertising isÂ a creative industry, and by itâ€™s very nature itâ€™s in aÂ constant state ofÂ evolution.
Lawson Clarke: Iâ€™m probably the wrong person to ask about what it takes toÂ become a copywriter because I was essentially born into theÂ industry. My father had an agency calledÂ Clarke GowardÂ which was a great, little creative shop in Boston for about 30 years. Boston University used to have me come in toÂ talk to kids about getting their first job in advertising, and Iâ€™d go up to theÂ chalkboard and write in huge letters, â€œNEPOTISM,â€ figuring it would get aÂ laugh. But it bombed every time. To be honest,Â though, Iâ€™m not 100% sure theyÂ knew what the word meant.
But as long as youâ€™re asking me, Iâ€™ll give you my bestÂ advice.
First off, youâ€™re not looking for a job in advertising. Youâ€™re looking for a career. And to have oneÂ of those, you need the putÂ together the best portfolio you can. And to do THAT,Â you need to go to school.
I have kids ask, â€œWell, what if I work on my book byÂ myself?â€ Sure, I guess you could doÂ that, but thereâ€™s just no substitute for aÂ salon environment where youâ€™reÂ surrounded by talented people who have the same creative goals.
I get kids fresh out of college who are convinced they have aÂ book good enough to land their first job as a Jr. Copywriter, andÂ what they typicallyÂ have is a book good enough to be considered for a portfolio school. Does it suck hearing you have to goÂ back toÂ school just as youâ€™re getting out of college?Â Â Sure, but itâ€™s the truth. And the sooner you come to grips with it, theÂ sooner youâ€™ll be on the path to building a weapons-grade book.
As for the future of copywriters, all I can say is that as longÂ as people keep buying shit, companies who make shit are going toÂ need creativeÂ people like us to sell their shit.
IÂ know the past few years have been a little scary, but the industry is not goingÂ away. Has it changed?Â Â Yes. IsÂ it going to continue to change? Yes, andÂ believe me, thatâ€™s a good thing. Frankly,Â thatâ€™s theÂ reason most of us stick around, because who wants to show up to aÂ job day after day and face the same predictable routine? IfÂ thatâ€™s you, then go sell medicalÂ instruments or something.
Make no mistake, right now isÂ The Golden Age of advertising. Itâ€™s gonna be like the Wild West asÂ we claw ourÂ way out of this recession, and thereâ€™s always going to be room for smart, funnyÂ and insightful people withÂ throbbing creative glands.