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GOOD MOVIES, GOOD COPY

One of my all-time favourite movies is Jon Favreau’s Chef. A decadent two-hour exploration of the joy of food, family and figuring out what makes you happy. Not to be watched on an empty stomach, it’s my go-to for light-hearted, lazy afternoon viewing and, of course, recipe inspiration.



So what does this have to do with copywriting?


Well, Favreau’s character Carl Casper is a respected head chef in a culinary funk. He wants to bring new flavours and foodstuffs to the table but his stubborn boss – the criminally underused Dustin Hoffman – isn’t having it. He wants Carl to ‘play the hits’ and make the food that people have loved for years. On learning that he's not permitted to push boundaries with his menu when a high-profile food blogger comes to the restaurant, Carl walks out.

Cue an utterly glorious montage of the disappointed blogger being presented with subpar food, juxtaposed with Carl concocting his dream creations in his own kitchen. 

This scenario led me to think of all the times that clients tell you they want ‘exciting’ and ‘fresh’ copy for their product. Yet, on deadline day, here you are presenting the same old, tired phrases... 


Better than ever…

A fast-paced environment…

Dynamic, exciting, ever-evolving landscape...

[Random thing] like never before…

Expect the unexpected…

Tomorrow’s [whatever], today…


These phrases and many more make creative copywriters want to curl up in a corner (more so than usual), but we still see them over and over again. It can be tough to steer clients away from such recognisable, run-of-the-mill wording. Even more so because keeping clients happy is an imperative part of the job.

However, a good copywriter will always try to push the boundaries and, if they’ve done their homework, they’ll be able to explain how they got there. Accomplished copywriters don't rest on their laurels; there’s a lot of over-thinking that goes into the words we write and we're constantly striving to better ourselves and our output. We’ll consider angles that may never cross your mind because we’re always picturing the wider landscape. If a local bike shop is peddling a particularly effective marketing campaign, it doesn’t matter if you’re selling body wash or Bermuda getaways, we’re going to look to it for inspiration. 


There is a middle ground, of course – like Chef Carl, who goes on to buy a food truck specialising in Cuban sandwiches. It’s not his dream restaurant but it’s on his terms and he’s giving people a product they love - much like freelance writers.

We may not win every battle - the client may not be as bold as we’d hoped, they may not understand our rationale or just flat-out hate our copy. There is always a middle ground though, and a worthwhile copywriter will help clients to avoid clichés to make them stand out from the crowd... see what I did there?!

Good copywriters, if you let them, will bring imagination, engagement and joy to your product.

If you’re unsure whether or not hiring a freelancer is right for your business, why not get in touch and have a chat with me? Or, go make a sandwich and find Chef on Netflix. Either way, you’re onto a winner!

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