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Great British copywriting

Last month I mourned the lack of writing skills I was noticing in marketing. So I was delighted to be invited to the launch of the DMAs ‘Great British copywriting’ campaign.

Patrick Collister, head of design at Google, hosted the event and, when reflecting on his time in the industry, he hit upon the main difference between when he started and now: “I expected to be trained. Now they expect a portfolio of D&AD work at 24 years old.”

Advertising copywriter Mike Everett echoed this sentiment when he said: “Businesses are too short-termist, there’s no time for training because it doesn’t make money. There’s no revenue next to it.” Everett made my favourite point of the evening, and one I’ve come to see myself. He said: “Everyone thinks they can write because they learnt it in school.”

I didn’t appreciate what I’d chosen to do for a living was a specialised skill until I began work and saw how little most of the business population knew about writing. If it weren’t for dedicated teams checking copy before it goes public, there would be many red-faced business leaders. But these teams are being pushed beyond reasonable limits, copywriting has turned into a quantity over quality game.

So in a bid to get back to great copywriting I urge all you agencies and marketers to get behind the DMA’s campaign. Started by Debi Bester, founder and managing partner of Abundance, the campaign is running a copywriting census to gather information from those working in the industry to help shape its future. It’s open until12 December at:

Please stop stifling your content teams, respect the written word and see it for what it is: a specialised skill that needs to be learnt and invested in.