My business card says ‘Andrew Miller. Copywriter.’
I’ve never been satisfied with that title. I respect it, but don’t feel like it defines me well. ‘Copywriter’ to me sounds like something that is hanging on from the days of Madmen. I know it’s a strong calling card in the world of advertising, but as the world of advertising is stretching on a daily basis into ‘the world of creativity,’ I struggle to understand how the term can keep up.
Traditionally a copywriter wrote the words that would appear in advertising. They would write scripts for television commercials, and headlines and body copy for print ads. I do all of those things, but I feel like that is only 10% of my job description.
I also design websites, create mobile apps, build interactive experiences, create ways to visualize data, figure out the best way to use Facebook, develop campaigns that live on Twitter, have meetings not just with directors and photographers, but also event planners, software engineers, coders and hackers.
I know I’m not alone. I know these duties are the new standard for advertising creatives. Maybe that’s why a much broader cross section of industries are now interested in having conversations. Being a copywriter in 2012 feels like a tremendous education in modern creativity. The experiments and the failures feel more valuable than ever as we are all hacking our way to figure out which way leads up.
So, what title do we put on our business cards? (err… LinkedIn profiles?)
Writing TV spots and snappy headlines is the foundation. It’s the kind of thing we’re called on to do in a jam these days. There’s a time and a place for it. But more and more so, in a world gone fully digital, there is an open-source, beta-mindset of trial and error that we are expected to engage with, create ideas around and give advice about without blinking an eye.