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A Copywriter Writes

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DAN WATSON

Kiwi copywriter.

Illustrator on the side.

This blog is filled with stuff that simply comes to mind that's too long to tweet.

It's mostly my observations as I try to make it in the advertising industry. It keeps me writing and, hopefully, gets you reading.

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  • June 25, 2012 2:58 pm

    Being Distinguishable or, The Joy Of Remembering

    Back in Kuala Lumpur, daily life was actually rather good.

    In a lot of ways, I personally had it easy.

    Going to the eateries across the road, going past condo security, hitting up the local bar or convenience store always yielded the same results: friendly smiles, excellent service and sometimes a discount.

    Why? Well, because basically, I was different.

    I stood out.

    Not just because I’m white, mind you.

    But when you’re a big, bald, bespectacled, benevolent white dude, you get noticed.

    And remembered.

    I was going against what I was surrounded by.

    As they say in advertising circles, I was zagging when everyone else was zigging. 

    I think it was two or three days after I moved into the Pelangi Condominium that security would wave me past the gate with a smile without having to go through the mandatory ID check.

    I began to be greeted by each of the Malay-Indian blokes at the mamak restaurant across the road and it wasn’t long before they started bringing me my usual without question.

    I even had one or two pints on the house at the local bar on some occasions.

    But why the special treatment? I hear you not actually asking.

    I have a theory.

    People love it when they remember something. It’s like a trick you got your brain to perform. Most of the time when you recognise something, it makes you happy.

    Watch closely someone who you might meet for the second time and they recognise you. There’s always that slight smirk as they mentally connect the pieces and stand back to admire the cerebral jigsaw they completed.

    Same with conversations about particular places or things. People like to join in because it’s a place they know or something they’re familiar with.

    You can notice the tiny celebration going on behind their eyes that they’ve seen something they recognise and welcome it.

    I mean, that’s the truth about people isn’t it? We stick to what we know.

    And what’s easy to remember?

    That which is distinguished from what we normally see; what stands out; what zags.

    In work and in life it’s an important question to ask.

    'Is what I'm doing distinguishable?'

    'Will I get that celebratory smirk when I'm recognised?'

    It spans from an art piece you’re planning, to a business model, to the outfit you’ll wear to a fancy party.

    Standing out makes you easy to remember.

    Your memory will then be welcomed.

    And on some occasions, rewarded.

  • June 2, 2012 12:18 pm
    Coca Cola in Turkey ran a nostalgia campaign with the bottle design. They remodelled them to look just like the first Coke bottles. I managed to get one while I was there. A brilliant piece of brand memorabilia.
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    Coca Cola in Turkey ran a nostalgia campaign with the bottle design. They remodelled them to look just like the first Coke bottles. I managed to get one while I was there. A brilliant piece of brand memorabilia.

  • March 22, 2011 6:49 pm

    Banana Milkshakes or, The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done.



    I LOVE banana milkshakes.

    Best. Drink. Ever.

    Real bananas, syrup, powder, Primo or just sugar mixed with banana essence. Anyway you do it, that shit rocks.

    I don’t know what it is about bananas, or their flavour, but when a glass of that sunny-coloured frothy goodness is on the table I am keen as!

    I have done bad things in the name of a banana milkshake. Shameful things.

    Well, to be honest, shameful thing.

    Which segues me nicely into my story.

    I was 8 years old at the time (not that that’s an excuse). There was this Indian kid in my class, Ravneel. He was a year older than me. He was a good enough guy, in small doses. He was rich too.

    Now, I say rich. What I mean was that his parents owned a diary and gave him lots of money to buy his lunch from the tuck shop each day.

    One day in particular, we had been arguing earlier (probably over crayons or some crap) and at lunch, he decided he was on a flavoured milk buzz and ordered a bunch of Skool Milks.

    Skool Milk: a small plastic sachet of flavoured milk that you drink by cutting away a corner with your safety scissors and sucking completely dry before burping, smiling and running off to play tag.

    So Ravneel, comes up to me, cradling in his arms a number of sachets of different flavours, including numerous bananas, and holds one of which out:

    "Want one?"

    To which, I light up:

    "Hey, sure! I lov-"

    "Well you can’t! Hahahahahaaha"

    His stupid laugh.

    He strolled out of the classroom into the yard. Leaving me standing there. Seething.

    I followed him out, caught him, pinned him against the wall and muttered:

    "You dick."

    And then I socked him one, right in the gut.

    He spilt all his Skool Milk sachets and lay there, foetal, just crying.

    And like a banana, I split.

    I eventually got in major trouble. He told on me, naturally. I should’ve worn a balaclava or something.

    The funny thing was, after I hit him, I didn’t even take one of the banana Skool Milks that had started this little scene.

    But that was a one time thing. I’ve never been that violent towards anyone ever agin in my life.

    I’m actually a really nice guy.

    Provided you don’t get in between me and my banana milkshake.

  • March 4, 2011 9:00 am

    That Warm Feeling Of Nostalgia or, Nineties Ads.

    Everyone loves that feeling of days gone by. That feeling comes to me whenever I have one of those Youtube sessions when I look up ads I remember from the Nineties. Does that mean I was born to love advertising? Or is it because I’m so fanatical about it that it dominates my childhood memories also?

    It’s funny. These ads are the only ads I’ve ever looked at without judging their creativity. They are forever awesome because they will always represent so much more than an iced fruity treat or peanut flavoured spread.

    So as my last post written in New Zealand, I give you The Good Times of New Zealand Ads.

    PLEASE NOTE: To fully appreciate the following, have an extensive knowledge of NZ ads from the late Eighties to the late Nineties. Otherwise, international people may like to indulge in some old kiwi ads, as long as they don’t judge, for they are precious. 

    (Click image to watch)


    Fruju


    ETA - Ripples


    Air New Zealand


    McDonald’s - Big Mac


    McDonald’s - Kiwiburger


    Mainland Cheese


    TV3 Promo - the old logo


    Lotto - Instant Kiwi


    Lotto - Instant Kiwi


    Lotto - Instant Kiwi


    Toyota - Bugger Ad


    Pascalls


    Lotto - Double Dip


    Sanitarium - Peanut Butter Nutter


    Cadbury - Crunchie


    Cadbury - Creme Egg


    Lotto - Saturday Draw


    Nestle - Pixie Caramel


    Polar Pop


    Georgie Pie


    Speights (R.I.P. Frank Whitten)


    Kiwi Bacon (not nineties, but funny)