How to spend advertisement money

As someone who used to work as a door to door salesman, I see other possibilities in what is already a funny advert.

The “customers” in this advert are most likely actors, but let’s take a different angle.

Imagine you’re the owner of a train company.

You want people to enjoy their journey, and therefore be OK with having to pay you for that journey.

You can’t immediately fix all the technical problems, that’s too expensive.

You can’t do much about the infrastructure, that’s too long-term.

You can’t do much about unions striking, they’re too organised.

What you can do, is spend money on individuals to interact with your customers in a particular way.

Comedians, actors, door-to-door salespeople.

They know how to give people a positive feeling, a story to tell others about.

They cost less too (until my idea catches on, and we start paying big bucks for actors and the like to do this).

And plus we give more actors and comedians a chance to earn a decent living on the regular!

This is a great idea – but I wonder whether you need to have worked as an actor, comedian or door-to-door salesperson to agree?

Statistical reporting for copywriting

Copywriting is primarily concerned with the art of persuasion through the written word, but your work is nothing without some hard facts to back it up.

Here I’ll go through three methods I’m experimenting with to not only improve my work on web pages, but to also prove the importance of my work to my boss.

How much work is being produced

The basics. Use Excel or Google Sheets to add up the amount of content being completed. You need to see week-on-week how much work is in the pipeline and identify why there are rises and falls in workload. Who’s pulling their weight and who isn’t? Are deadlines being met?


Siteimprove is great for managing the countless web pages of large institutions like universities. Through its reports, you can identify all the spelling mistakes, broken links, broken PDFs and more that need fixing – no matter how hidden within your site they may be.

Google Analytics

Analyse page views and click-throughs to estimate how well your copy is helping to sell an undergraduate degree. After all, what’s an ‘Apply Now’ button other than another ‘Purchase’ button at checkout? This is crucial to prove your value to the business. My favourite method of being paid was 100% commission in a sales job I did – if the same was available in copywriting, some of us would be very rich right now.

The future (or, right bloody now!)

A quick google search for similar thoughts on this subject directed me towards Adam Singer’s post on Copyblogger. The opening statement of his last section, “The best-paid copywriters in the 21st century won’t just be wordsmiths — they’ll also be analysts” is bang on the money.

University values

A couple of months back, I attended a short marketing course at Accelerator, London Metropolitan University’s business incubator that supports student start-ups.

In the branding session, we considered how people determine whether a company’s brand is meaningful enough for them to connect with. It made me consider – what makes a university’s brand meaningful in the long-run?

Functional values

At its core, a university must run courses that are of a high standard of teaching. That means being up-to-date with the latest developments in the field, access to modern teaching materials and teachers who actually care about their subject and students.

Personal benefits

A university must run courses that are focused on helping students get employment in the sector they want. Lectures and seminars that engage a student’s mind and aspirations. A social environment conducive to new friendships, relationships and fun times.

A bonus is having access to facilities that help an individual expand themselves in new ways – as an increasing advocate of sports and fitness myself, I’m thinking particularly of gyms and sports activities here.

Collective benefits

Students care about their fields of study, societies and wider environmental and humanitarian concerns. There’s also the local community – a university, with all its resources and exciting young talent, can create events and services that will bring both students and locals together in fulfilling relationships.

Universities should also make sure to support that which the student cares about beyond themselves, so it will instil a pride and loyalty within them that will extend well beyond their years of study. Such measures are much more likely to produce membership paying Alumni.

In conclusion…

Functional, personal and collective. At the end of the day, its all about what can the university do to benefit the student.


Copywriting in Higher Education

I’m about to start my fourth week as the new copywriter at London Metropolitan University.

This primarily involves writing online university course descriptions, but there’s no end of extras, from emails to tweets to hardcopy prospectuses. Getting to interview course leaders with voice recorders and being paid to travel between campuses is huge fun, and the marketing knowledge I’m gaining into the HE sector overall provide incredible insights into the latest challenges and developments.

I’ll be posting my own reflections on HE copywriting, marketing and advertising, as it now becomes one of my specialisms alongside ‘adventure’ copywriting.


Ridley Scott and Film Advertisements

My favourite director of all time is Ridley Scott. From the romantic painting-like images of The Duellist to the sci-fi glory of Blade Runner (my very favourite film) and horror of Alien, his work always inspires me.

What I’ve enjoyed most recently however, is his role in film commercials – you know, those crappy fast paced flicks that leave no room for imagination and tell you the entire story if you’ve got half a brain? Well for his latest films from Prometheus to the The Martian, Scott had advertisements created that communicate wider messages of his film while leaving it to the viewers imaginations as to what scenes they might actually see when they enter the cinema. At the same time, some of them are functioning as much more subtle advertisements for real brands.

Granted, these are only digital shorts that I don’t believe are on mainstream TV (then again I haven’t been watching any TV since I went travelling), but it’s a step in the right direction. Take this quote from Ad Week:

“I think the earlier we can start to define our marketing goals and have those inextricably linked to the core idea of the film, the more powerful the advertising can be.”

Or to put it more succinctly:

“People don’t want to be bullshitted.”

Bang on.

Scott’s RSA Films is working with Wild Card to produce these digital shorts through marketing company 3AM. Watch this commercial for The Martian that is also an advertisement for Under Armour, an American sports clothing and accessories company. So smooth, so well executed.

An example of shorts designed solely to hint at the content of a film is this introduction to David, the android from Prometheus. His words hint at the trouble to come: “I can carry out directives that my human counterparts might find… distressing. Or unethical”.

For me, fusing this kind of creative freedom with brand objectives is an exciting development in the swirling digital mix. I’ll be uploading my own work on this soon…


Health Charity Work

This is a selection of the publishing work I did for pregnancy health charity Tommy’s. This included proof reading, copy editing, InDesign layouts, Photoshop edits and web page maintenance.

Screen shot of advertisement for the News of the World



Scan of advertisement in the Sunday Times


Business communication to corporate sponsor Santander



Advertisement to encourage sponsorship of Tommy’s in the London Marathon


Brand new webpage (printed and scanned copy)




Online Gaming Flyers

These are the direct mail flyers I was in charge of for Betway, an online gaming (otherwise known as gambling) company. I was responsible for the creation of the these promotions, creating the brief for the design and copy teams, liaising with legal and branding to ensure everything was acceptable and coordinating distribution with the offsite fulfillment office.












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