I never studied copywriting. I mean I have learned the craft on-the-job, but have never sat in a classroom studying to be a copywriter.
In fact, I only decided to venture into copywriting towards the end of my college years. Yes, I actually stumbled into this line of work.
Now, there are few colleges churning out copywriting diploma-totting graduates raring to hit the ground running with stacks of very creative portfolio pieces.
Certainly, the bar has been raised, because I got into the industry knowing nuts about advertising or how to craft a clever headline. Heck, I wasn’t even worthy of a computer on my first copywriting job. I had to handwrite everything onto loose A4 sheets, while constantly referring to my dictionary.
That was a long, long time ago.
But that was the case with most people in advertising back then. We loved to draw, write, or think, and figured we wanted to get paid for it. Not many of us got into agencies willingly, and not many survived for too long either.
Copywriting graduates now though know exactly what they are getting into. At least I hope they do, because the first few years can be rather challenging, to put it very mildly.
But here’s the thing, according to Sanam Petri, an Associate CD at R/GA London:
“because today’s advertising world is largely driven by accolades and awards, many communication schools are churning out kids who think like creative directors, not kids who just love to write. Students are coming into the agency with their sights trained on one thing: being the one to come up with the one game-changing idea that puts them on the map. But what are the implications of hiring an entire generation of thinkers who can’t do?”
While we should not generalize that all copywriting graduates are useless douches, I totally agree that most of them do not want to get into the nitty gritty of the industry. It’s all about big ideas and creative execution instead of learning the ropes and honing the craft.
No wonder good, dedicated writers are hard to come by these days. Blame the colleges.