The decadent life of a UK Copywriter

27 November 2009

The decadent life of a UK Copywriter

Being a UK copywriter, carefully crafting words for all kinds of clients, occasionally has unusual rewards.

In the last week, I’ve found myself hanging out with the green gliterati in St Luke’s LSO, London and meeting Martha Lane Fox down here in Brighton. Copywriter to the stars? Not quite, but fun all the same.

The Green Awards, London
It all looked gorgeous from the outside. Purists might have been offended by the light pollution from the projected image on the outer walls, but the Swedish fairies on stilts were a nice touch (see above). Inside 400 people sipped fair trade wines and organics smoothies.

Jonathon Porritt delivered a quick green thought for the day about the Government’s latest TV carbon campaign. Jo Wood – she of Jo Wood Organics, Strictly Come Dancing and Ronnie Wood Rolling Stones fame – presented an award. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sports, Ben Bradshaw then generously spared us five minutes on how committed he is to green causes, before rushing off to appear on Newsnight. Our client, Responsible Print, was runner up in the DM award, and we all went home slightly tired and emotional.

Martha Lane Fox, Brighton
Like buses, along came another invitation right behind the Green Awards, and I found myself listening to Martha Lane Fox – joint founder of lastminute.com.

Lastminute.com was a simple idea but a hugely complicated business to get off the ground. They had to persuade huge airline and hotel businesses to promote their last minute capacity by making it available through a clever bit of never-been-used backroom trickery. It would appear on a website these big brands didn’t own, run by people they’d never heard of. This was pioneering stuff and it was inspiring to hear all about it.

Martha sold out of lastminute.com a few years ago and, among other things, is now working with the government as an advisor to try to bring broadband Britain to people who might otherwise miss out on the digital revolution. Worthy stuff.

Her parting mantra was: “Think BIG. Be optimistic.” I liked that. Indeed I preferred it a whole lot more to the Right Honorable Ben Bradshaw’s parting mantra from a few nights before in London (copywriter licence accepted) which seemed to be: “I’m way more important than you. I’m on telly. Bye.”


Categories: General ruminations, Ads, Direct marketing