I don't come from an advertising background, and the other day a prospective copywriter was patiently, (and somewhat patronisingly) explaining to me how a creative team is made of two, not three, and certainly not one, and how a copywriter and a creative should go off into a room and come up with a range of ideas backed up by visuals and copy, and then the artwork would be created from these concepts across a range of media.
Once I came round I suggested that an advertisement is like a phone call. It's an interaction where you receive some information.
A phone call is just little packets of data. So why can't an advertising campaign be broken into little packets of data.
In fact better yet why can't the information be broken down into little bits (like the internet) and then shared around by, well, the internet. Like an idea.
And then the next part of that is that the bits should really be the information, not an association, or implication, or a complete abstraction (e.g. Coke == Happiness. Really? wtf? it's a brown fizzy drink.)
To me a good advertising campaign is one that *is* the product, and the message.
The famous Word-of-Mouth does this, but rarely does it involve your colleague standing on the table and insisting (every 15 minutes) just how much you have to go see True Grit, starring thingy, by those guys, the ones who did Fargo. It's fucking awesome.
Advertising should involve small, reasonable, undemanding, unthreatening and often very brief moments in which a small amount of directly relevant information is shared, preferably in a way that is useful, timely, personal, fun and contextually relevant.
I suggested that all campaigns should start by breaking what they want down to those pieces of information, understanding them, and then working out what they would look like in a map, or a wiki, or in a game, or sponsored links, or a fortune cookie. or on twitter. And in a bigger way how the information would behave if you got to make a video, or a banner campaign, or a poster, or had to explain it to your mum, or to the woman next door, the one with the dogs. And then finally how would you let that information go, how would you open-source it so that the world could take the idea and make it their own and your campaign would live for the next five years despite no media spend or new creative because people actually used that idea to break up and share their own information, maybe about something completely different.
And I suggested that when you think like that digital feels innate and obvious and easy.
And that's what I think copywriters should do.
[ I am aware that none of the above stands up to scrutiny. But it's about ways of seeing, not physics]