Creative Interviews

Be funny or thought provoking, otherwise do everyone a favor and step away from the keyboard.

Fluffy Links caught up with Lawson Clarke aka Male Copywriter who is listed as one of the Top Five Ad Agency Twitter Accounts To Follow by Digiday for an exclusive interview.

Be funny or thought provoking, otherwise do everyone a favor and step away from the keyboard. Male Copywriter

Q1: Where did you get the idea for Male Copywriter?

I mean, it’s obvious I work out. I love Burt Reynolds. And I look ravishing on animal fur. But if you want a little backstory on the history of Malecopywriter.com I can give you that.

malecopywriter

Okay, so remember when the Great Recession put two torpedoes into the hull of the ad industry? Well, a lot of people went into the water, including yours truly. And like everyone else clinging to the deck furniture, I really didn’t see it coming. Case in point, when my boss called me into his office, I was convinced I was getting a promotion, because, well, I’m just that kind of asshole.

As luck would have it, I was already in the process of putting together my portfolio site.  In fact, I think we were a few weeks away from putting the final touches on it when the ax fell. There’s this perception that I walked out of Arnold with my pink slip in hand and thought, “Oh, God, what am I going to do now?” and decided right then and there to pose nude like the Octomom, as if that was my only option. But the reality is I had been working on the site for a while when I got laid off.

Lawson Clarke Male Copywriter

And to be honest, at the time I was just trying to build a site that would make me laugh if it came across my desk.  I really wasn’t setting out to create the viral phenomenon that it ultimately tuned into. I’m told at the peak of the insanity it was getting something like two million hits a month, which, for a copywriter’s portfolio site, is just plain silly.

In the end, I think it was just matter of being nude on the right bear at the right time.

Highlights from the whole experience were being featured in People Magazine, winning two Webby Awards

and, of course, making it into “Lemonade”, which by the way, I can’t take any credit for.  I just agreed to be interviewed for it.

Nevertheless, I’m eternally grateful for all the attention my website got me.  It was the product of a lot of hard work by a handful of brilliant people who were kind enough to work for booze.

Lesson learned: when it comes to low budget projects, ALWAYS hire talented alcoholics.

Q2: Describe a typical workday 

A freelance copywriter’s life is not too different from that of a meth addict’s.  When you’re not booked you typically spend the majority of your time looking for your next fix.  And at the end of the day, we both wind up ripping the copper wiring out of abandoned homes for cash.

Q3: What are your 3 favorite advertising campaigns of all time?

What is this, Sophie’s Choice? For the love of God, don’t make me choose! Okay, since you’re putting a gun to my head…

• The work TBWA/Chiat/Day NY first did for Skittles was truly groundbreaking.  It was the first time I saw an ad on TV that made me stop and say, “Holy shit, we can do that?”  And it never stopped.  They were relentless.  They just kept coming and coming and coming like Peter North.  They’re still holding their own, but that early work made me green with creative envy.

• This may be a controversial call, but I’m going to say the Kenny Fucking Powers campaign 72 and Sunny is currently doing for KSwiss.  As far as I’m concerned, that first video was a shot heard ‘round the ad industry. It drew a line in the sand and said, “You want to be funny?  Then have the balls to be fucking funny.” Here’s the thing with humor in advertising.  You’re not just competing against other funny brands.  You’re competing against everything in the world that’s funny. And you know what’s funny?  Kenny Power’s using the word “bukkake” in a meeting.  Now, do you have to be vulgar to be funny?  No, but if that campaign proves anything it’s that you don’t have to be so antiseptic when it comes to building a brand around comedy. I hope more CMO’s have the courage to let it rip like that in the future.

• I know it’s not a campaign, and it’s probably a cliché to talk about it, but I have to say Apple’s1984 still reigns supreme on the game-changer scale. There was nothing like it before, and there hasn’t been anything like it since.  Nearly 30 years later, we’re still talking about it.  Speaking of which, I love these guys who write articles in Ad Age claiming that “1984” is an overrated spot.  Really, asshole?  Then why are you talking about it in the year 2012?  By the way, I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without shamelessly plugging my “1984 Focus Group” video.  This must be some sort of record.

Q4: Who are the 3 most creative people you follow on Twitter?

I love Twitter. Mostly because it was MADE for copywriters. I mean, we essentially spent our entire careers within the constraints of 140 characters or less, so when Twitter came along it was like being given a cherry brief for an endless small-space campaign.

Now, I look at Twitter this way.  Unless you’re going to advance the ball, don’t bother playing.  Nobody likes the person who just writes “Ha!” in an email chain, because, honestly, what’s the fucking point in that?  So if you’re going to participate in Twitter then do something to justify being there.

Be funny or thought provoking, otherwise do everyone a favor and step away from the keyboard.

Now, all that said, there are a ton of people who are killing it on Twitter.  Off the top of my head, though, these are the three people who consistently make me laugh.  Oh, and take note, not one of them has ever posted an update about their P90X workout.

Tim Siedell@BadBannana

For my money, pound for pound, the best writer on Twitter.  He’s got a great voice and a warped view of the world.  Even when he doesn’t connect for power, he still ends up on base.  Oh, and it just so happens that he’s a copywriter.

Jenny Johnson@JennyJohnsonHi5

Maybe it’s because she has a mouth like a longshoreman.  Maybe it’s because she won’t let Kim Kardashian get away with being a vapid, histrionic brat. Either way, I like the way she moves.

My Wife@WomenArentFunny

Full disclosure: this one is my wife.  But she’s funnier than most comedians who claim they have 50,000 followers.  If we weren’t married I’d still follow her and secretly slow jack it to her tweets.  So what I’m saying is, “Follow my wife and secretly slow jack it to her tweets.”

Q5: Which Mad Men character do you most resemble and why?

I’d have to say Chauncey, the show-worthy Irish Setter Duck Phillips puts out on the streets of Manhattan after he falls off the wagon.  I don’t know how long Chauncey lasted out there, but you better believe he looked fabulous eating out of dumpsters. If there was ever a character who embodies the spirit of a freelance copywriter, it’s that beautiful son of a bitch.  By the way, we all know he’s dead, right?

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