My copywriting service from beyond the grave

Remember the terrible plague that wiped out all the copywriters a few years ago? (OK not everyone thought it was so terrible.)
I think it was midway through the nineties. First they said long copy was dead. Then short copy. Then any copy. Ads became minimalist and cool, like Zen gardens. No room for words, the meaning had to be encoded like in hieroglyphs. Copy was dead.
Well, I’ve got nothing against hieroglyphs but I was always fond of words, and so throughout those terrible years I doggedly continued to offer an advertising copywriting service from a nuclear bunker in Oxford.

Until guess what? Words came back. I knew they would. Hooray for words! I emerge blinking into the sunlight, happy to serve you. Over the years I have done just about every conceivable type of corporate storytelling and commercial & advertising writing.

I’ve also written pieces for the Guardian, radio drama for the BBC, and a stage play.

I wrote and currently teach the online ‘Writing Fiction’ course for Oxford University.

I live in Oxford and can do anything with words that is legal. Contact me for a chat if you have a project I might be able to help with. Or visit the rest of the website to find out more about me and my novels.

Funnily enough, they said the novel was dead, too, somewhere around 1925. But that’s always been my problem. I just don’t listen.

A bit more about me.

They told me advertising was really all about selling so, as an apprenticeship after leaving university, I took a job as the world’s worst aluminium salesman.

I raised the art of not selling aluminium to levels never seen before or since. After a year I was summoned to head office and confronted with the uncomfortable truth: I had more aluminium than I had started with.

I left to join FCO of London as a junior writer. FCO was a legendary hot-shot creative agency that was winning awards all over the place. Then someone noticed. The agency was bought out and the handful of twenty-something creative mavericks turned overnight into millionaires. This signalled a change in creative direction. The whole agency went to lunch and never came back. I ended up in Singapore.

Here I worked on the prestigious Singapore Airlines account and also wrote ads for the former headhunting tribes of Borneo.

(For more information about them, see the Tintin story, The Adventure of Flight 714.) They turned out to be some of the most civilised clients I had ever encountered. It was the only time in my career that I had to wear a jacket and tie to meet the client.

And, indeed, the only time I had the pleasure of dancing the Ngajat with his daughter.

We danced until dawn beneath a chandelier of shrunken heads – relics of former copywriters who had ignored the dress code.

Around the year 2000 I published my first novel and became an ad freelancer, working mostly for the Ogilvy & Mather network, in particular as the unofficial creative Consigliere for Tham Khai Meng, the global creative chief at Ogilvy.

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