We attended a party last night. It was a kids party, so there were a lot of little people along with their taller kinfolk. Most of the adults congregated around chairs and tables sipping alcoholic beverages and talking about adult things while the kids raucously played in the pool. I don't usually do well at these things because most adult conversation bores me since it always turns to work. And almost no one knows what I do for a living when I tell them.
Last night was no exception. Near the end of the party I got sucked into one of those 'what I do for a living is very, very important' conversations with the father of three of the children. This particular guy was a scientist who works in the environmental field. He spent a good twenty minutes talking about the finer details of his job before he asked what I did. In his defense, I was asking him some pretty good questions – so it wasn't like he was a narcissist. Anyway, I said, "I'm a copywriter." His initial response was typical, "So you're a lawyer then?" I explained what it meant to be a copywriter and he didn't get it right away. For some reason he continued to associate copywriting with trademarking. I then told him, "I'm in advertising. I run a virtual advertising agency. I just happen to be a copywriter. I write and execute communications concepts."
Then he said, "Oh, that's cool. I always thought that if I wasn't in science, I'd be in advertising. In fact, I have great ideas all the time." I smiled, nodded and said something cynical which he didn't pick up on (thankfully.) Then, his wife told him to round up the kids. I found out that all of their children had the same three initials – reinforcing his status as a 'high concept' guy. Then he said it – "Look, if you ever get stumped on your advertising stuff, I'd be more than happy to help you out over a couple of beers." I smiled with clenched teeth. He continued, "Hell, I wouldn't even charge you for the advice!" Then he and his wife left with their little clones.
Jim is a father, husband, copywriter and founder of smashcommunications. You can find him on Twitter @smashadv
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Aug 31, 2009
I.am.truly.speechless. Sign him up for a future Darwin award; I’m sure it’s coming.
Aug 31, 2009
Uh huh. I think I’ve met this guy too… about a hundred times.
Aug 31, 2009
I can’t help but think that my response would have been, “Yeah, and I take a lot of walks, so if you need any help with your environmental studies, call me up!”
Sep 5, 2009
That will teach you not to a. go to parties with your kids’ friends’ parents. b. talk to scientists. c. tell the truth. But Jim, don’t you know that anyone can write ads, think up ideas, make spots, create social media campaigns. Riiight. Once saw a cartoon. A bunch of brain surgeons standing around a patient on the operating table. They were clearly stumped, challenged, unsure what to do. Suddenly one of them implored the others, “Can’t we just proceed, come on, it’s not like this is advertising.” Anyone can be a scientist. It’s logical, rational, left side. It takes someone with real talent to be a copywriter. Sheeeeet. Anyone should know that.