Monday, November 30, 2009

The non-existent fine line

There is a misconception about the thin line between being funny and being offensive. Being funny (or attempting to be) will inevitably offend someone, somewhere, somehow. This is something that cannot be helped or changed. You can avoid it by churning out emaciated dry copy which reads like an encyclopaedia, but then you run the risk of being boring and losing readers.

You may take a page out of the shock bloggers out there and just not give a damn. Maddox is the best example of this genius and he’s been around for over a decade. He talks pure tripe, but does it in such a hilarious way that I can’t help but love him for it. However, as he constantly complains: his inbox is inundated with idiots complaining about how he’s offended them.

This is despite the big caveats plastered all over his website: “If you disagree with anything you find on this page, you are wrong.”

I’ve always had a penchant for hyperbole and find the offensive and crazy stances quite funny. But the aspect that I can never handle well is how it tends to attract the unwanted attention of the over opinionated mouth breathers who pontificate without any contemplation whatsoever. Tact is definitely an underdeveloped trait in me.

Yet this presents the contradiction I discussed in my first post. Getting loads of attention is exactly what I’m after in advertising, but without generating the interest of the imbeciles while still being punchy and entertaining.

The simple truth is that it cannot be done.

You’ve got to pick a side.

So somewhere around the world, someone will read this post and indignantly soil their underwear.

I look forward to reading your emails.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Word Press: the crap generator

Word Press is the premiere writing tool used for blogs. I've never gotten to play around with it much, but after a few weeks I find myself quite proficient with it. This is because it's very easy to use; with simple a interface and loads of support for both platform and delivery.

This is good because it allows more people access in delivering their copy to their audience. This is bad because it allows more people access in delivering their copy to their audiences. Have you read some of the stupidity out there? I've just come from a horrendous article from a news site (Sydney Morning Herald online) which has a recognisable and reputable name. Yet the site design is atrocious and riddled with auto-loading spam.

Despite this, I still follow a few blogs they deliver when I was referred to this rambling diatribe by a friend. My immediate response was to question the editorial process in which a reputable news service can publish such confused dribble. The whole article screams of inconsistency and unfocused rambling.

I'm picking up all these new analytical skills towards evaluating any piece of writing however absolutely none of those skills were necessary in identifying raw ineptitude of writing. Which sadly is the majority of blog content out there on the net.

Trying to not think about how my writing shapes up, instead I wonder how long it will be before search engines become intelligent enough to evaluate blog posts and automatically discard those that are too stupid or badly written from search result. I'm sure Google is already working on algorithms that do exactly this.

Which then begs the question, can everything we write be evaluated for skill based on a mathematical process?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Marketing Darwin

I watched a very interesting documentary regarding Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Its focus wasn't so much on Darwin, but rather the men around him that helped his theory gain a foothold into the scientific community which instantly dismissed it due to religious indoctrination and programming.

This relates directly to advertising as Darwin's supporters had to generate interest inside a hostile market. They did this by debating established scholars and discrediting them in such flamboyant ways so that newspapers would report on them and thereby increase the overall coverage about his revolutionary and very controversial theory.

It got me thinking that if Darwin didn't have these ardent supporters engaging in the political stoushes marketing his message to the masses, would his work have been utterly dismissed as it originally was and lost within the annuls of time?

I've always looked at marketing as generating interest into products that couldn't do so for themselves, thereby making them inferior to those that spread by word of mouth. However I can see that I was very much mistaken with that outlook. Perhaps we owe one of the greatest discoveries ever made by man to the advertisers and snake oil salesman?

I feel a little dirty about this realisation.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reading and research

Most of any day is spent reading other blogs and researching specific topics in order to have some clue as to what I'm saying in any post or response. There are many different blogs I have to read, however after reading for a while it all they seem to all conglomerate into one miasma of self serving agendas and angles.

It's when this point is reached that I know it's time for a break. I don't believe I've ever been challenged as much mentally in any role as much as in this one. I've had to scrutinise words and phrases including my own to remove words and appropriate phrases that I don't use. Also, tightening my writing is something editors have advised me when submitting any journalistic pieces. Perhaps I'm finally getting the hang of it through sheer repetition.

As always I learn best by doing and making the mistakes instead of being told about them. It's weird that until I experience something for myself it doesn't crystallise and though it can be demoralising to an extent, I do enjoy the experience. Perhaps this reflects a penchant for my own mental self flagellation.

It's always good to know one's place.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Revisions of Revisions of Revisions

Have you ever revised something so many times that any changes you were told to make were changes that you didn’t even change in the first place? One of the most difficult things to do is thinking along another person wavelength, to know what phrases and what inflection they prefer to use.

This is even harder when the person you’re attempting to imitate keeps changing their mind about the words they want to use. This is frustrating because it’s a necessary part of the process. After each revision I honestly think I have it right, only to discover it is anything but.

The most disheartening aspect is that with each new blog I work on, I figure I’ve learnt the tricks and now know what to look out for. I bring my fresh piece to the table with a smile of satisfaction, only to discover that once again I’m the heel.

Maybe next week I’ll be better.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The level of control you are unaware of

There are many tips around about creating good copy and getting a small business web page noticed. These tips are already being used and one of them is to position a company as an expert in whatever field they are in.

So, as time goes on a cacophony of noise will arise, each one claiming to be experts in their fields. So these leave the consumer begging the question, "What can I believe or trust?"

Sadly, that reflects one of the fundamental shifts of advertising focus from 'trustworthiness' to 'believability'. In this day and age the focus is set purely on credibility and simply being believable because of the level of control an advertising company has over information on the internet is pretty much absolute.

Testimonials towards products are concocted, so are web forums and most importantly: search engines are specifically targeted to return information on searches that advertising companies meticulously manipulate.

So in essence, the best option is to be as cynical as you can be at every scrap of information you source on the internet.

Remember: Propaganda is only effective when you are unaware of it.

I wonder if it's possible

My natural writing voice in very sarcastic and antagonistic. I do this on purpose because I've noticed that any piece of writing I do will receive more attention if I'm antagonistic towards the audience.

If I craft a thoughtful essay tightened and neatly constructed, very few people will argue with it or bother even replying because there isn't any wiggle room in my piece for them to refute me.

So part of my new role in copywriting is to deliver interesting pieces with hidden agendas. I wonder if I can write in that manner and somehow keep my off beat perspective about life and my adventures within.

This blog is my attempt to keep an interesting record of my experience, without being offensive or antagonistic in any way.