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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

posted 20 Dec 2011, 05:28 by Jane Vigus   [ updated 20 Dec 2011, 05:41 ]

Writing up a storm?

posted 11 Aug 2011, 05:54 by Jane Vigus   [ updated 11 Aug 2011, 06:33 ]

Life’s a riot - and it’s my fault.

As a marketing professional my role in the recent looting and rioting is clear. It’s my job as a copywriter to increase demand, publicise the latest product, persuade consumers to upgrade long before the old product is worn out, sell my client’s services, build their brand and increase the profits for their shareholders.

The currency of this marketing effort is desire and fear. My job is to tap into people’s innate greed and anxiety and sell them products and services that will feed the one and assuage the other.  My job is to convince people to consume and keep consuming. My means of communication is often digital and social media.

Of course this is how capitalism works. Keep consuming even if you have to borrow money to do it  - keep on buying new things to keep the economy turning over, upgrade at every opportunity, spend more in the high street to keep businesses going and keep people employed so they can earn the money to buy more stuff. We all do it - if we didn’t the economy would collapse and we’d soon be out of a job.

But the wealth created by this consumer merry go round is not shared around in any kind of equitable way.  The rich get richer and flaunt it, the poor get relatively poorer and resent it.

Meanwhile services and benefits to the poorest are cut, jobs are lost and scarce to find even for the qualified and prices for food and fuel are soaring.  Meanwhile young people from poor underprivileged backgrounds are disillusioned, disenfranchised and financially excluded from our wonderful world of consumerism, yet still surrounded by messages to consume.

What happens in a divided consumerist society where desire for materials goods is fueled on a daily basis?

Well this week the cat of desire jumped out of the bag and met up on a street corner with the black dog of ‘no one likes us we don’t care’ - arranged via social media - and this is what happened in my home town…


© Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence



What happens next in a society built on the shifting sands of consumerism, and in a world where the resources of a beautiful planet are unthinkingly devoured by human desire at an ever-faster rate (with only a passing nod at the need to reuse and recycle) is anybody’s guess. We still have to do our jobs, pay our bills, feed our families but we certainly can’t go on much longer burying our heads in that sand and we all need to take our share of the responsibility.

A brief guide to copywriting briefs

posted 17 Jun 2011, 06:03 by Jane Vigus   [ updated 28 Jun 2011, 04:03 ]

The Brief:  write a blog entry on copywriting briefs. Keep it brief, lighthearted and amusing. Illustrate with gratuitous images of  hunky men in their underpants.

AddThis 6 by TVS!

My Direct Marketing award

posted 1 Jun 2011, 03:52 by Jane Vigus   [ updated 1 Jun 2011, 04:17 ]

Sorting out my portfolio I came across this - my one and only award for copywriting.

It was a DM campaign for WC Youngman promoting their Roofing trolley system and comprised a short video starring Kevin Whately. I can't find the accompanying letter but here's the video cover! 

Portfolio update

posted 31 May 2011, 09:44 by Jane Vigus

Look out for more examples from my extensive portfolio in the coming days!

I'm a commodity - get me out of here!

posted 31 May 2011, 06:59 by Jane Vigus

Despite the fact that I've spent a large part of my working life in advertising and marketing - I've never really seen myself as a commodity with its own unique brand. My business yes - my copywriting services are a commodity that can be bought and sold, advertised and publicised. But that surely doesn't apply to me as an individual - as just a member of joe public?

Recently I have been forced to think again and the conclusion I've come to is that if you (as an individual) have a facebook page, a twitter account, a blog or any kind of online presence at all, then you are a commodity in the business of brand promotion. 

The problem is that there's no one out there who wants to buy the commodity of you (unless you're looking for a job or are in that kind of business!) - so you're not selling yourself through social media to make money. You're probably doing to to attract new friends, retain brand loyalty from existing chums or raise awareness of issues that are important to your brand identity. Which is all well and good but in your quest to promote your own 'brand' through social media  you can be certain that you are attracting all kinds of attention from the many companies that are using social media to try and get their hands on your money. And by promoting your commodity (yourself)  online you've  given them just the information they need to stalk you, find out what makes you tick and sell you their commodities to improve your commodity!

The internet has turned us all into self-promoting fools, commodities at the prey of the marketeers, to be targeted, cajoled to click through on the right links and pay the right price to reach their promised land of a new and improved brand. - one with whiter teeth, a slimmer figure, a cooler camera, lower bills, more minutes, funkier decor, chicer clothes, a bigger house, a faster car, greener energy.

Social networking has become the hunting ground of commercial brands big and small. Businesses are queuing up to be your online friend hoping that one day - soon - you will cement that friendship with a purchase and sail off into an enduring sunset with them.

It could be said that the social networks came first and exploitation of those networks by businesses is simply jumping on the bandwagon. But it's a lucrative bandwagon and no business worth their salt would be without a social network prescence. So I'm off to set up a Facebook page and twitter account for my copywriting business. Rest assured I won't be stalking you, I'm after the businesses who are stalking you so I can help them do it more effectively!

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