Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Circle of Life

One of the things I enjoy about being a freelance copywriter is the variety of assignments. This is especially important to someone like me who is afflicted with ADD, Additional Dollars Desired.

One week, I can be writing about batter-dipped, deep-fried fish sticks and the next I can be doing a white paper on the wisdom of diversified asset management. Last week, I was thrust back into the world of recruitment advertising.

Not exactly the same Help Wanted ads that launched my career at the humble Encino offices of Bernard Hodes Advertising, but not far from it either.

Permit me to take a nostalgic walk into the past to these not-so gloried days.

The mailroom at an ad agency is no place to be. Especially if you have just graduated from college and your parents are hocking you about giving up on this fakakta dream about being a writer. So when I saw that a recruitment ad agency was looking for a junior writer I sprung into action.

I knew there would be a hundred other applicants for the job. So I told the Creative Director I would do anything for the gig. She gave me a spec assignment and asked what I would do get Integrated Systems Engineers in the door at Northrop Aircraft, one of their clients.

I had no idea what Integrated Systems were. Or who Northrop Aircraft was. Or even what a Help Wanted ad for an Engineer looked like. This was pre-Internet, so I spent half the weekend at the library. And the other half writing and coming up spec ads.

"Tomorrow's challenges, today. At Northrop."

"Join us at our environment for innovation."

"We're engineered for Engineers."  

Nothing inspirational. In fact it was all crap.

But the Creative Director was impressed that I had it on her desk at 8:30 Monday morning before anyone had even arrived at the office. I beat out a hundred, maybe two hundred, other applicants, not because I was better but because I wanted it more.

Little did I know I'd spend the next two years of my life cranking out one shit recruitment ad after another. Sometimes twenty a day. Dreadful long copy ads about opportunity, imagination, competitive salaries and comprehensive dental care.

And now some .....(cough) years later, I am writing recruitment ads again.

As a friend of mine put it, I have come full circle. I can, with a clear conscience and boatload of debt, go into the light.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I won a One Show pencil for a recruitment ad. Mark Fenske got into CA the first time with a spread for urinary catheters. Before becoming famous as "The Finisher," Rich Siegel wrote for TV (shudder). Never turn down an assignment, no matter how beneath you it seems. Toilet paper, for instance.