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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Laz

This is not a mille-feuille

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Testing, testing.

I am willing to play the game, and like any creative, as a copywriter, I am asked to be tested. The problem is the people who demand tests from me don’t work in advertising, have never worked in an advertising agencies, and are not creatives. They belong to what I call a mille-feuille, recruitment agencies, transcreation agencies, layers of middle-management of some kind who liaise between me and an anonymous client via unanswered e-mails.

Mystery Tour.

I spend hours responding to that kind of demand and more often than not, end up like water in the sand, with no clear results, lies or even pretty insulting feedback. I am selected for tests because they’ve all seen my “very, very impressive” CV (their words, not mine), but somehow it’s not working for them. Why? Because creativity is not what they’re after.

Is the ad industry stifling creativity? Q, Campaign 22.04.16

“It’s not impossible but it’s more difficult for creatives to work as freely as they once did. That’s partly because more people are now involved in the process. And with the average tenure for a marketing director about 18 months, it’s hard to establish a relationship that results in the best work.” Peter Souter, chairman and chief creative officer, TBWA UK

All change.

The advertising landscape has changed beyond recognition for creative people and especially copywriters. Not only the traditional media have been supplanted by the Internet, but something more insidious has taken place. Copywriting is being replaced by content.

Copywriting vs content.

Filling the space on website people will scroll in a hurry without really reading it, because it’s free and because it may not be well written either. It may tell an interesting story but there’s another difference with a printed ad: the writer has been paid a fraction of what a copywriter would have been paid.

WCMS anyone?

Furthermore, he’s not called a copywriter anymore, but a web editor and he must know all about WCMS or Web content Management System. Can he write a good headline and a compelling copy? At that rate, probably not, but who cares? His skills are about as sophisticated as someone writing for catalogues, but that’s what the industry is recruiting right now.

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