If you’ve gone this far in your exploration of me as a potential job candidate, you must have seen something that pricked your interest. Perhaps it was my quirky resume, or the whispered promises of lots of baked goods, or maybe you could smell the sweet reek of desperation that scented my email/phone call/application. Either way, if you’ve stumbled here out of pity or curiosity, you’ve probably arrived at my portfolio and thought two things:
1) “Wow! She’s a great writer!” and…
2) “Wow!…has this girl ever even tried to write ad copy?”
The answers to your thoughts? Yes, and…well, no. BUT! (And it is a big, bodacious, juicy but), I don’t see this as a necessarily negative thing. In fact, if you’re having a tough time adopting my optimism, I’ve crafted a list of 5 reasons NOT to run away screaming from a girl like me with no copywriting portfolio.
1. I’m a blank slate. I come to you with an empty cup, begging you to fill it with your knowledge. I have no preconceived notions on the “right’ way to do things, so even if your way is ass backwards from industry standards, I’ll embrace it wholeheartedly and never question it. I’ve got the raw materials, and I come to you with the ability to be shaped and molded into whatever you need me to be.
2. I will be forever grateful to you for giving me a chance. I’m like that one shelter dog that was probably someone’s pet at one time, because they know a few basic tricks, but then they rolled in a pile of poop before being picked up by animal control, and no one’s bothered bathing them yet. I constantly get overlooked, even though I’m dying for the love and affection of an (advertising) home. Yes, it may take some creativity and forward-thinking to look past the awkward exterior, but isn’t that what advertising is all about? And, once you save me from the pound-like hell that is living at home with my parents as a 22-year old, you will never find anyone else that is so completely grateful for your help. Yes, I may follow you around the office for a few weeks with huge, soulful “thank you” eyes, but I will also work harder than any one of the ad school graduates, ask for less (it’s easy to take less when you’re not trying to pay back $40,000 of student loans) and be completely loyal to our company.
3. I bring in a unique perspective. Though most successful advertising copywriters are such because they bring something new to the table, my experiences are very different, and therefore, very unique. Because I come from a creative writing background instead of an advertising background, I tend to approach problems in a different way, and come up with downright strange solutions that sometimes border on brilliance. Creative writing classes are all about finding the unique perspective, and making your reader care about what you’re writing about. The “why should I care” muscle is one that I find most advertising students struggle with, but that I’ve had beaten into me for years. And, at the end of the day, when advertising is all about making the consumer care, that muscle matters.
4. I’m young. This is another of those arguments that people may make against hiring a relatively inexperienced college graduate, but I see it as one of my greatest assets. Not only am I young for the world (I mean, with the way scientific advances are going these days, I’d say I have at least another 80 good years ahead of me), but I’m young for the industry. Because most young copywriters follow the course of get out of school, try to find a job, can’t find a job, take a crappy hourly job somewhere for a few years to pay for portfolio school, spend 2 years at portfolio school, then try to find a job again, by the time they are ready to market themselves, they’re usually closer to 30 than 20. Because I’m trying to get my foot in the door and skip the purgatory stage, I’m still closer to 20. To an employer, this means I still have that youthful energy and optimism that all good ads should contain. It means I will work harder, and relish in it, because I haven’t been beaten down trying to reach my dreams over the course of an entire decade. And, it means I still have the ability to connect to a younger, teen and college-based audience, which most people have lost by their 30s.
5. I am a jack of all trades. Like most kids in my generation, I learned that doing one thing well just doesn’t cut it in this day and age–employers today are looking to hire people who can do 5 jobs all in one low-paying salary and benefits package. This is a concept I fully embraced in college, as most of my collegiate employment was as a graphic designer while I simultaneously honed my writing skills in the classroom. I can do it all. I’m good with the written word, but I’m also tech savvy, and good with Adobe Creative suites. This enables you to take a chance on one writer who can do a little of everything, instead of a writer and an art director in the same boat. Help me help you save money! I’m a cheap date.
Hopefully, if you have arrived at this page, you are a potential employer looking for my portfolio (Woo! Please, great mysterious one, save me from the impoverished monotony of feasting on Ramen every night and give me a real place in this world!). My “greatest hits” can be found in the posts below. However, if you’re pressed for time, this post should give you a very rough sketch of my writing capabilities and who I am. Enjoy, and I look forward to working with you in the future!
All About Me, in 15 Short Writing Samples:
1. Three things on my not to do list:
1. Do not pick your nose while driving. Though your new Jeep is awesome, she lacks the tinted windows that made the old ’94 Buick Regal so much more attractive. You are no longer Jamie Bond. You have been burned. You have officially lost your anonymity.
2. Do not fall asleep outside on your lawn chair again. It’s time to admit that you are, in fact, a ginger, and that your melanin receptors stopped showing up for work approximately 22 years ago. Go home, you’re (probably) drunk.
3. Do not give up on finding your dream copywriting job. Just because you have thus far been the only one to find yourself funny doesn’t mean it will last forever. Besides, statistically speaking, there has to be at least one other person in the world that thinks you’re funny, too.
2. What I said/what I meant:
What I actually said: Who the hell allows their dog to lick their kid’s dirty diapers? You, sir, are a heathen and an irresponsible infant caretaker!
What I should have said: Perhaps letting your dog clean Harry’s dirty diaper stains from his caboose isn’t the most ethical decision, Aaron. I’d be happy to get you more Pampers wipes if that would help you make a more responsible–and hygienic–decision for both baby and pet in the future.
3. One reality TV show idea I have been dying to pitch is called Vanished. I’m actually pretty positive this show already exists, and I am its unknowing star. You know, like the Truman Show. But basically, people hide in your house and move all your shit around and then film your frantic reaction as you try to find your keys, when you are positive you left them in the bowl of fruit on the top shelf of your fridge. Then, right when you are truly about to lose it, they replace your vanished item in its proper place, and allow you to find it. Insanity ensues as participants then begin searching their homes for evil shit-moving gnomes.
4. One sad memory: I got The Call early in the morning. My cell phone ringer bit through the darkness like an omen. I read the caller ID, not understanding why my best friend’s mom would be calling me at four am. Mrs. Meyer’s garbled voice could barely be made out at the other end of the crackled connection. Or maybe it was my brain that refused to interpret the words, refused to acknowledge that the phrase “Emily is dead” could possibly exist in such a sequence. I think I responded, but the rushing in my ears was so loud it was difficult to tell. I shoved my pillow over my head to drown out the sound of someone screaming next to me. I roll over, only to discover the animal ache is coming from my own chest. The sinking in my stomach is more than a twist; it is a complete removal of truth and reality. My best friend. My golden-skinned, freckle-faced best friend, with the laughing blue eyes and the dough-shaped, shining baby boy, is gone.
5. What I said/What I meant:
What I said: Um. I can write pretty good. And, uh, I’m a good talkist, too.
What I meant: There are many reasons I am an excellent candidate for the position, not the least of which is that I am extremely articulate, both verbally and in the written word.
6. One daily activity I always take to the extreme is brushing my teeth. I have an electric toothbrush that likes to offend me by automatically shutting itself off every two minutes. The logistics of this are so ridiculous it hurts. A typical adult has 28 permanent teeth, with four on each side being a molar (assuming you have had your wisdom teeth removed). So, with four left and four right upper molars, and an additional four left and four right lower molars, we have 16 teeth with three separate scrubbable surfaces, plus 12 teeth with two scrubbable surfaces each. This gives us 72 separate dental surfaces that need attention in a regular tooth brushing session, and the electric toothbrush gods decide that a mere 120 seconds is time enough to cover every surface? This allows for each surface to get less than two seconds each. And they call this hygienic? The nerve. So, yes, I frequently reset my toothbrush for an additional two minutes of not-long-enough time. And people call me excessive.
7. I think that brilliance and insanity are often confused, and that’s ok, as long as brilliance is mistaken for insanity less than insanity is mistaken for brilliance. I also think creativity may be the bastard child of both.
8. You know the birthday party has gone south when Uncle Earl is licking the cake topper again. Only, the cake topper is actually the banquet server.
9. A good ad is just like a good book–one that grabs your attention right from the beginning, and never lets go. An ad with a message that keeps you thinking and maintains the impact long after you’ve stopped looking at it.
9. What I said/What I should have said
What I said: Congratulations on your baby! How far along are you? My God, you look like you’re about to pop!
What I should’ve said: I’m not sure horizontal stripes are the most flattering look on you.
10. I never make the same mistake twice. But when I do, I ensure that I fail even more spectacularly the second time around.
11. If you asked my dad, he would probably say he has no idea what the hell a copywriter does, or why advertising schools and internships are so important to a portfolio. But he’d also probably say he recognizes that I’ve finally found my passion and he’s proud that I’m out chasing my dreams.
12. It may be time to get more exercise when you’ve begun naming your fat rolls and giving them each their own unique personalities, personal histories, and accents from exotic locations.
13. I love a fat old flea-bitten horse that saved my life more times than I care to count.
14. I’d rather be sitting in a weird loft advertising agency slaving over the perfect copy on a friday night than out at the bars with my friends.
15. I believe that people seriously underestimate the power of staying positive, working your ass off, and being nice to everybody, even [especially] when they don’t deserve it.
I am currently rebranding all of the marketing and advertising materials for Superior Roofing, an owner-owned and operated roofing company out of Wamego, Ks. This is an example of a few things I’ve worked on for them thus far, and shows my capacity to step out of strictly the creative writing box to work on the marketing side of things a bit, too.
Brand Name: Superior Roofing
Role for Advertising: Increase customer interest and sales; create a distinction between Superior roofing and the other numerous roofing companies in the area.
Target Market: Down-to-earth, no-nonsense, “Mom and Pop” kind of people. Wamego is a small town, and Superior caters to those small-town needs. Their market is single-family residencies, and they are not interested in expanding into commercial facilities or rental properties.
Consumer Insight: Consumers are aware of Superior roofing, mainly from word-of-mouth and personal relationships with the owners, Jim and Bruce. However, they are currently having trouble differentiating between Superior and other roofing companies.
Advertising Opportunity: Superior seeks to rebrand the company and give its image a face-lift to provide its customers with a modernized business with the same traditions and “old school” service they have always expected.
Desired Consumer Response: “Wow, Superior’s ad is far better than the other ads. I’m going to take my business there!”
Brand Personality: Superior is an older, more traditional, family-owned business out of Wamego, KS. The owners are two blue-collar professionals with families, and each is in his fifties. They currently are only advertising with a Yellow Pages form-style website and with an ad in the phonebook. They are hesitant to expand their advertising to TV, Radio, billboards, or upgrade their webpage, because they feel that people in their area only use the phone book to look up things like roofing. For this project, it’s my job not only to find market research supporting my opinion that a professional-looking website is paramount to advertising success these days, but to rebrand the company with new, fresh copy.
We’re not a faceless corporation with multiple locations across the state; we’re not a company that switches its workers every six months. We’re not hip, we don’t Tweet, we don’t Facebook, and you won’t find us texting you to let you know that we’re running late. We are a just down-to-earth, simple, hardworking, small-town business. Our values are as old-fashioned as our technology. We may not be the fastest, but we are the most thorough. We may not be the cheapest, but we are the best value. Because we aren’t a company; we’re your neighbors. We’re the friends you call to help finish baling hay when a storm’s coming in. We’re the parents of your son’s little league team; our wives are in the same book club. And we will always guarantee a dry, safe roof over your head. We’re not a company; we’re your friends. And from one friend to another, you can expect a Superior Roofing experience, every time.
Tag Line/Slogan: From one friend to another, It’s got to be Superior.
This is an example of a faux ad campaign I created for a made-up brand.
Brand Name: FRESH baby products
Role for Advertising: Increase awareness of FRESH newborn and infant-safe hygiene and cleaning products, and subsequently raise sales.
Target Market: Young, “modern” couples. Mothers focused on protecting the environment and going “green” on home products, including personal care and hygiene. Well-educated, involved in environmental preservation, busy, and looking for a quick fix that does a great job both saving the world and protecting their children.
Consumer Insight: Consumers are aware of the brand, may have passed it in stores, but information about how helpful the product is in environmental preservation and it’s all-organic, completely child-safe ingredients isn’t well known.
Advertising Opportunity: FRESH seeks to spread the word about its organic-based line of cleaning and infant hygiene products in order to alleviate environmental and parental guilt at the use of chemical-based products.
Desired Consumer Response: “Wow, look how easy it would be to switch from my current baby supplies to the FRESH product line. And look–it’s completely organic and is great for the environment, too!”
Brand Personality: FRESH is a young, innovative up-and-coming product. They seek to target creative, trendsetting individuals such as themselves. The Brand Personality is edgy, quirky, and creative, and they are so environmentally-conscious that even their packaging is created using recycled, biodegradable materials.
You work full-time, run a household, and care for your newborn baby. We get it–you’re busy. Really, really busy. You care about your child and environmentally-sound practices, so he can grow up in the world the way he deserves. But who has time to mix their own bubble bath, or make their own baby wipes? Not you, supermom. That’s why you need FRESH–the innovative new line of hygiene and cleaning products safe for you, your baby, and Mother Earth. And the best part about it? Because FRESH is made from recyclable packaging and created using ingredients you actually recognize, it’s as easy on the environment as it is on your baby’s skin. FRESH: for your baby. For the earth. And for their future together.
Tag Line/Slogan: For your baby. For the earth. For their future together.