drive, he said

2015 Challenger vertical

After having diligently marketed my intimate, soft-sell, evocative approach to lifestyle branding in jewelry, watches, and home décor, it may or may not lift an eyebrow or two to learn that I also write copy for such testosterone-forward items as Jeeps, muscle cars, and sporty automotives along the Alfa Romeo line.

And yet, it’s true.

A good copywriter has the dexterity to tackle almost any topic and inhabit the realm of your target consumer.

2014 Jeep Wrangler

Once upon a time, however, a creative director in Portland (or was he merely a content manager?) said to me: You write about fashion; you couldn’t possibly understand how to relate to high-tech products. Au contraire. There’s a lot more method acting involved in copywriting than anyone realizes. I’ve haven’t driven any of these cars, I haven’t gone mud-bogging in a Wrangler, and I haven’t worn kate spade jewelry either.

Research, imagination, empathy: along with impeccable grammar, these are an effective copywriter’s stock-in-trade. Writing words that sell isn’t about belonging to a particular demographic, as so many hiring managers wrongly assume. One needn’t be a fashionista or a tech nerd or an off-road, high-octane enthusiast in order to write believably about products that appeal to each and every specialized niche.

I expressed as much to my “friend.” But poor Briggsy, he just didn’t… get it.

Alfa Romeo full page

Drive, He Said. The name of this portfolio post. Also the name of a very fine 1971 film directed by (but not starring) Jack Nicholson. Which was in turn based on a 1964 novel of the same name by future Oscar-winner Jeremy Larner, who, in still another turn, appropriated the title from a phrase in this delightful poem by Robert Creeley. Ah, we luxury copywriters borrow only from the most soigné sources!

Fiat 500 Abarth


Because every copywriter worth his or her Himalayan pink salt knows there’s more than one way to say the same thing, and say it stylishly each time, I hereby wrap my words around more than one way to say same thinga subsequent take on a Wrangler. Speaking of poets and poetry, this ad dolphin-weaves an ee cummings allusion into the fabric. Can you spot it, as my metaphor splashes parallel to shore?

Last yet not least, one of my VW pages for a dealership in Texas.