Thursday, October 11, 2012

Writing Right

Last week, Michael Wolff, the former editor of ADWEEK published an article in USA TODAY.

If you work in advertising, it's worth a read. The piece details the demise of writing and the lack of respect once afforded the copywriter, a position held by the original Mad Man Don Draper.

Wolff's article appeared on September 30, 2012.

I preceded him with a very similar piece posted right here on August 13, 2012. And indeed fellow bloggers George Tannenbaum and Bob Hoffman, the Ad Contrarian, have also covered this territory.

Wolff and USA TODAY are staging a contest and offering a million dollars of free ad space to the best written ad in order to prove his point that, What Ad Biz Needs Are Writers. But I'm here to suggest that Wolff has jumped the gun.

Because What The Ad Biz Needs Are Writers Who Write Right.

Am I going off on another rant about sloppiness, poor grammar and bad sentence construction? Yes. Yes I am.

Let me preface what I am about to say with some candor. I am by no means perfect. This blog is littered with typos, occasional malaprops and some questionable paragraph breaks. But this blog is written quickly. And often under the influence of too much caffeine/vicoden.

It is also NOT my resume or portfolio. When I was sending out resumes, on expensive weighted paper, I made sure they were neat and error-free. The same can be said about my book. Why? Because there was a time when that was simply the price of entry.

Today, it appears the bar has been lowered. And entry is granted to anyone who can wear a Fedora and endure an intern program.

Some people like to watch cat videos on the Internet. Others like to follow fantasy football. Me? I like to look at other copywriter's portfolios. Here are some examples of what I found. Verbatim.

It's is not the possessive form of its.

The proper American spelling is judging, not judgeing.

There are three ways to spell there. 
There's there. 
There's their. 
And then there is they're. 
As in, they're crazy if they hire you.

If you're (not your) a young writer and you recognize these mistakes on your portfolio, you can curse me now and thank me later. Then I'd suggest having a professional proofreader go through your entire portfolio.

Finally, you should be grateful that I'm no longer a Creative Director. And that I am no longer a  gatekeeper.  Because when I judge portfolios, I look not only for a professional who knows how to write well, I look for one who knows how to write.

1 comment:

Berk said...

Nice job professor...