Tony Lucas

As the SEO sledgehammer ‘keyword packs’ to death all traces of originality from online copy and a new generation of creatives ‘txtspk’ their way through the teenage-grunt world of communications (now there’s an oxymoron for you) it’s time to ask a big question – is copywriting dead?

Probably not, but it’s definitely time to get out the little blue pills. Too many clients settle for, or even demand, dull copy. If you picked up a novel and the first two pages read like a standard piece of B2B, would you buy it? Good copy should be fresh, lively, come at you from a different angle, sell without sounding as if it’s trying to sell.

Ah, the dark, mysterious, ancient arts of the copywriter – passed down from the days of Merlin. Smoke and mirrors, runes and tealeaves; that will be £500 quid sir. Old copywriters, huddling round the cauldron, often joke that if they could write it in half the number of words, they would charge the client twice as much. But there’s no big secret. If you need tight copy, learn to précis. Here’s an old copywriting exercise, from the days of quill and parchment, designed to hone that very skill.

Write a character sketch in less than 50 words, a summation of a personality. Think of it as Haiku for the IQ.See if you can guess who this is.

So sad that women describe him as nice. Regards beige as too racy for everyday wear, but writes copy the old fashioned way like a tortured poet, every word ripped from his soul and strewn bleeding across the page. Purple prose a speciality, no extra charge.

I make that 46 words. There you are, sold - and I didn’t mention ‘consumer initiated, marketing-focused, brand integrated communications’ once.

Tony Lucas
01743 235770
Park House
Abbey Foregate
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