A guest post for the lads over at Bank of Creativity. Read it here. Be sure to show them some love at @BOC_ATM and @OneMinuteBriefs
WHY CHOOSE ADS OVER ACADEMIA? (a.k.a. Dr. Sheldon Cooper vs. Don Draper)
How many professors does it take to change a lightbulb?
1 to undertake lengthy yet inconclusive research into the phenomenon – no Wikipedia allowed.
1 to write down his findings.
1 to call the electrician when all else fails.
Sorry, bad joke. Let me get straight to the point: here’s the reasons why ads kick academia’s lily ass.
1. Writing academically is just so frustratingly bland, mundane and ball-numbingly serious.
Yes academics can write, but it’s hardly inspiring stuff.
Language is so multi-faceted yet they’re only bothering with half the utility belt – not exactly Batman’s style. And to be honest Batman is awesome. Why wouldn’t you want to emulate Batman?
Writing is about expression and academics could seriously learn a few things from writing to advertise.
Less complicated sentences for a start.
As a reader I want to be entertained, not bored, as I descend an entire page that contains just 3 sentences.
As a writer I want to add the odd colloquialism here and there. I want to swear (BOLLOCKS) and I want to be engaging with real people; not a bunch of musty, tweed-wearing fucks.
2. REAL PEOPLE + REAL WORLD = GREAT WRITING.
You’ve heard the stereotype haven’t you? Academics are a bit like bubble boy. Except their bubble is full of wine, old-book smell and self-importance.
They lack exposure to the real world. From the translucence of their bubble it’s like viewing the world through some shower glass.
It doesn’t help that an academic career consists of: school; college; university; more uni; even more uni; and finally research/ teaching – so much bloody learning. No wonder academic writing is so stale.
Real life inspires. Ads are organic – they need sustenance and real-world current events are damn tasty. Take the “Nando’s” ad (above) for instance:
Yep, that’s right. When I watch football, technically I’m working. If that’s not an incentive to make a switch I don’t know what is.
3. Why does everything I write sound like ‘90s rap?
A historian reads and reads and reads until, hopefully, something original appears to them. Half the time it’s just a skewed interpretation of some other guy’s theory.
With advertising, originality is a must not a plus. That’s why it remains important to stay connected with the outside world and pop that bubble.
Crafting the perfect copy for your ads is as refreshing as a cold-one on a summers day. Your words connecting with real people, not some academic peer or journal.
The name of the game is creation, not regurgitation.
That may sound like a line from a terrible ‘90s rap, but it’s true.
The emphasis on originality does mean that some ads will leave you guffawing, whilst others will leave you gargling… bleach.
Oh yes, hyperbole. Something else that’s far too much fun for your history paper.
I’ve just finished my degree. As you might be able to tell, I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been blogging for a while, but my career in copywriting is just beginning. And I can’t bloody wait.
If you love writing like a real person, for real people, then you should understand.
Regardless, no one likes a Sheldon.