Throughout my entire schooling career I attended an all girls Christian school, most of the people that I was surrounded by lived in a somewhat close-minded bubble and if someone were to burst it they would end up with one seriously bruised ego. I was situated in a rigid environment where only certain things were seen as acceptable and if you stepped outside your comfort zone you were seen as a rebel because you didn’t fit the “criteria”. However moving to Vega and choosing copywriting as my specialisation completely changed my career path and lifestyle for the better.
I found myself climbing the creative ladder and after a few months I discovered that creative writing has become one of my passions. In the midst of it all I soon became familiar with the smart, wickedly funny and cynical souls of the copywriting field. There are a number of people, local and international, dead and alive who have influenced and inspired my creative style, personal identity and niche within my core discipline. I believe that copywriting and advertising is a congregation of many different influences from all cracks and crevasses in the world of creation and imagination.
When it comes to identifying the influencers of my “creative style” it is safe to say that Alistair King cofounder of King James agency has played a significant role. According to (King, 2014) he started off his career as a copywriter for an agency called Rightford Searle-Trip and Makin in 1994 and from there he worked his way up to his dream of owning his own agency. King matriculated from Westridge High School in 1984 and went on to complete his BA in 1988. In 2015 an interview was conducted by (Andrews, 2015) in which King expresses his love for the industry. In terms of his creative style he often has to sit in front of his computer or notebook and force the ideas to happen in order to get his brain working. Once he is presented with an opportunity he constantly questions whether his ideas are good enough which can usually be very stressful. However he also believes that it’s not all about the work and that entering a nurturing environment is essential in order for a person to grow. I am able to relate to King’s creative style, as I am both an innovative thinker as well as an adaptive thinker.
When I start generating new ideas I have the need for structure and discipline as well as radical change and letting my imagination run wild. King and his agency influenced me to move boldly and not be afraid of what others might think of my ideas because the best ideas might not even be realistic. King believes in jumping fearlessly between mediums, being bold and never doing things that have been done before, this then creates an environment of trust between him (his agency) and the client. King is so passionate about his work and put putting his absolute all in everything he does which inspires me to do the same, I try not to stick to one medium and to never hinder one the same ideas throughout. His creativity and personality encourage me to explore and take steps that haven’t been taking before. King’s journey started from a junior copywriter and eventually ended up in him owning his own agency. His journey has allowed me to envision the possible future and how much further one can go in life.
According to (Manson, 2012) at the age of 30 King became the creative director and member of the board at O&MRS-T&M however decision-making became a frustrating process and he hardly had time to create communications. This was when he met James Barty who completely opened Kings eyes at the opportunity of creating his own agency before it was too late. Barty being the sound businessman was interested and so they got their first client; Gilbys. King James opened its doors 5 January 1998 above a chip store.
I recently watched a seriously inspiring that on Allistair King speaking at UJ in 2014. It tells you how and why they make the adverts that they do. His journey from the start to the finish is something that will give anyone goosebumps.
Here is the YouTube link:
Youtube. (2015). Creative director, Mr Alistair King KingJames Group Presentation at UJ 2014. [Online Video]. 24 June 2015. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY2TVssrg60. [Accessed: 30 May 2016].
We all know Lewis Caroll as the author who wrote the famous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. His unique style of writing gives off a certain type of energy that not only encapsulates children but adults too. You can’t help but feel like a child again who is fantasizing about a magical garden and where it will lead. His writing can be read over and over again and still be as fresh as the first time it was written. His writing can almost be seen as “unprofessional” because he often uses capitals letters, italics and parentheses that encapsulates the reader and hold their attention throughout the book. His writing communicates a sense of innocence and truth, which is what inspires when I write or create certain, adverts. His writing is light hearted and humorous. The way I write I often incorporate human truth while making it creative and humorous which is similar to the way Caroll writes in his books and his poems.
In terms of typography I often use capital letters in the way Caroll does to try and create a specific mood I am trying to convey or message. According to (Brady, 1998) there were a number of factors that influenced his writing style as well as his life such as bad eating habits, interest in photography of little girls, sleeping disorders, mathematical background, troubled childhood and living in the Victorian era. Most of his influences come from within which is why I admire him, he puts his whole self into his work rather than “faking” it. Caroll was born in the Victorian era, which influenced his writing style. During that time Queen Victoria ruled therefore there was a strong female dominance, which then influenced Carroll’s writing. He placed a great negative association on eating which can also be seen his book, the consequence of Alice eating results in her reducing in size. Caroll was said to have insomnia, which was represented in his literature such as the dormouse constantly falling asleep at the mad tea party. In terms of a neglected childhood he had four other siblings that were born before he has even six years old, he then felt neglected and that no attention was placed on him. Lewis Caroll can be seen as an eccentric man however for me his light hearted and humorous writing style is phenomenal and can capture many readers both young and old.
If someone were to ask me what my niche was in terms of copywriting I wouldn’t be able to answer, as I haven’t exactly discovered it yet as well as lack of experience. However if I were to try and ‘define’ my niche of copywriting it would be creative copywriting. Being able to share wonderful and creative words that make up one idea is something that I love. One person in particular that really triggers my imagination and allows me to see the power of constraints is Dr Seuss. Most of us know Dr Seuss’s writing style as rhyming however for me it is far more than that. His writing for me involves a wonderful mess of chaos that is resolved at the end. He promotes creativity and makes you feel like its ok to be weird and different. According to (Fairchild, 2016) he once quoted “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” His writing influences me to just multiple the chaos and let my imagination go wild but still be able to make sense of it. He is able to jump from imagination back to reality while still giving his writing rhythm. This for me is the perfect combination of creative style. Once I pick up one of his books it is impossible to put it down. Every sentence and word he creates has meaning and is unique and this is what I aim to do in all of my writing, to put my all into everything that I do. According to (Clear, 2014) Dr Seuss found that a useful strategy was to set limitations to his work which then inspired his creativity. An example includes Cat in The Hat where Dr Seuss only used a first grade vocabulary list. In this way it forces you to get things done. I often set limitations or constraints for myself in order to not get lost from my original idea and set specific goals for myself.
According to (Timmerman, 2012) Dr Seuss’s first book was inspired by the rhythm of a boat engine when he was returning to the states from Europe. Stated in (Nell, 2010) Seuss had many influences for all his different books however one question that many people ask is why he wrote children’s books if he didn’t have any of his own. Dr Seuss’s wife was unable to have children however Seuss often said that the reason was because of his contract with Standard Oil (makers of Flit), he was told that he was not allowed to write about many things but he was not prohibited from writing children’s books. He wrote his first book the year that his wife found out she was not able to have children. For me Seuss has been one of my major inspirations as he wrote books that made people think and imagine, everything is unique and creative. The grass doesn’t always have to be painted green or the sky blue. He has inspired me to go out there and write creatively without being afraid. His writing may be seen as cute and fluffy but if you look closer there’s so much more and this is what I am to do in my writing, to get people to find meaning in the all the chaos.
If I were to describe what my ‘main’ ideology or personal identity it would be existentialism. I believe in freethinking and intellectualism, when I talk about intellectualism I mean that I question everything in life and I don’t believe everything I see. I believe that if I question then I exist. One writer in particular that influences my personal identity, which is reflected in my writing, is George Orwell. According to (Worldsocialism.org, 2016) he was known as a fine yet somewhat confused journalist who became famous for his plain style of writing. Throughout Orwell’s essays, documentaries, essays and novels he criticised imperialism, nationalism, capitalism, political dishonesty, power, totalitarianism, privilege and private education. In this why I am the exact same, I often question propaganda and the aspect of privilege and private education. I myself went to a private school and often criticised the rules and regulations. Orwell’s writing is extremely truthful and he does not sugar coat anything that he writes. When I write about I feel is right or wrong I aim to be truthful. However when it comes to advertising the tables turn because my imagination runs wild. Orwell’s writing almost gives me grounding and stabilisation. He brings me back down to earth, which gives me a healthy balance in my writing.
Stated in (Papova, 2012) Orwell was influenced by a number of things including his childhood, an absent father, bullying and loneliness. He points out that his four main motives include aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, political impulse and sheer egoism. He had a desire to be clever or seem clever and be remembered after death. He saw the beauty of the external world. His historical and political impulses are the influences I can relate to the most. His desire to see the world as it is and find out true facts as well as using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense is what inspires me. He tries to push the world in a certain direction and to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. I often debate with people and try to get them to follow my opinion however when it comes to my writing I let my imgaination flow from all corners. He often has to be taking with a pich of salt because of how open minded and truthful he is which is exactly why I admire him.
David Ogilvy is said to be the king of advertising and one of the greatest ad men ever. His work is iconic and has influenced people from all over the world. According to (Ogilvy.com, 2016) the Ogilvy and Mather agency was founded. Ogilvy focused on a number of factors when it came to advertising however the one that really stood out for me was how much importance he placed on the headline of an advertisement. According to (Gauther, 2016) Ogilvy stated, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
After reading a few of Ogilvy’s famous headlines I noticed that he connects with the audience without making the headlines tricky or confusing. They are simple yet capture the audience’s attention. He almost speaks to your personally instead of a room full of people. What inspired me were his simple yet bold headlining statements even though each of them differed according to the audience. I often like to keep my writing simple, to not try and be tricky or confusing but to grab the readers’ attention and hold it till the end. His copy is sharply defined when it comes to the clients’ personality. He uses that personality and turns it into something wonderful. They way Ogilvy writes inspired to try and speak the language of my intended audience, to completely get down to their level and give them exactly what they want. The way he uses the clients’ story or background and incorporates it with audience is something I aim to achieve in my writing. His main aim or belief in advertising was to sell the products. His copy was designed solely for this purpose. Ogilvy was able to “sell ice to an eskimo”. In this way I aim to be the same, I want to be able to speak to people of all kinds and all places.
According to (Ogilvy.com, 2016) one of Ogilvy’s main influences included George Gallup’s Audience Research Institute in New Jersey. He cited that Gallup was one of the core influences on his thinking, emphasizing meticulous research methods and adherence to reality. From there he went on to be one one of the greatest copywriters in the world.
One of my favourite quotes from David Ogilvy:
When it comes to identifying my personal identity as well as my creative style Ernest Hemingway has played a large role in contributing to both factors. If I were to try and identify my personal ideology I would call my self an existentialist. I believe in questioning the world around me and making my own meaning of life, to not be rational but to make decisions that are meaningful to me. According to (Essays, 2016) Hemingway was mostly recognised for being a stylist and an innovator of form however he also embraced a modern and existentialist worldview that influenced twentieth century literature. In his work he often stems away from traditional views and rejects propaganda. In this way I am exactly the same, I believe in being an intellect and educating ones self at what else is out there instead of following the crowd and believing everything you see.
His writing conveyed what was meaningful and real to him. He wrote about the feelings he got and tried to give the readers the same feeling. He used his skills, which included direct observation and objective reporting to send a message to communicate to people what was compelling in a sentence. In a way I aim to write the way Hemingway did, I believe in writing about what is knowledgeable to me and to try and get people to see things from a different perspective instead of one. I aim to educate myself on as many things as possible, to write words that are real and crisp yet persuasive and meaningful.
Modernists in the previous century helped Hemingway write in a certain style. One of Hemingway’s greatest influences included Ezra Pound. He learnt to focus his writing on what was seen as the immediate, essential, tangible and meaningful in an experience.
For those of you who don’t really understand what existentialism means heres a pretty cool video that explains it:
Youtube. (2014). PHILOSOPHY – Sartre. [Online Video]. 7 November 2014. Available from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bQsZxDQgzU. [Accessed: 30 May 2016].