Once a copywriter, always a copywriter

Back at my hotel again, copywriting, in this strange netherworld between the greensward of a campus University and the madding crowds of London: a second day where the timesheeted hours ran uncomfortably into double figures. Scoffing some room service, quaffing a demi-bouteille (okay, bouteille) of reasonable Sancerre, in a great city a long way from home. It’s just what I do.

(Aside: what, exactly, is wrong with Radisson Hotels? I’ve stayed here eight nights in the last three months and every time there’s been something wrong. Not enough to complain about, and my client gets a discount on the Eur350 rack rate, but still…)

I don’t write much actual copy these days; I’ve had Director of some sort or another on my business card since I hit 27, and I dream up perhaps five campaigns a year. But somehow, it’s the job where I feel most at home. Kicking back, surrounded by people at Macs and in suits, creating stuff.

(Take just now. I ordered a main course and dessert: why, then, is there no spoon, just a knife and fork? And why are there last night’s room service trays lined up down the corridor, at nearly 10pm? Or this morning, where nobody came round with the coffee can yet I got ticked off for going over there and taking it myself? These things matter.)

It’s a strange profession, copywriting. Nobody ever knows your name – you don’t sign your work in this business – yet you earn more on any measure than 99% of novelists and have a far higher audience to boot. And that’s with a lifestyle that resembles that of a poet: sitting around scribbling ideas and sketches onto A3 pads and laughing a lot, trying to find that emotional hook that’ll mess with a few million more minds this month.

(Look, I appreciate I’m not in Geneva, but – the hotel TV channels not even being tuned? And of the multiple times I’ve stayed here the air conditioning has never lowered the temperature to anything comfortably below 28deg? What’s wrong with these people? Such little things with such great import to anyone new in town looking for a home without hassle for 48 hours? It’s just stupid.)

This year Starbucks lost me as a customer FOR LIFE; I’ll never go back, based on a single year’s experience of just HOW crap they were getting. Their coffee grew terrible, their sandwiches hideously expensive, and their idea of being my ‘third place’ got resignated to my ‘third way’. And I spent just a couple of pounds, every couple of days, at Starbucks. Why on earth would a major hotel operator risk business worth Eur350 a day for such a few, tiny things?

That’s why I do it, really. Making a big deal out of a few, tiny things, like rack-and-pinion steering or multi-weather ABS on a small family car you see in improbably sun-drenched photos in the magazines. I’ve always enjoyed messing with people’s minds.

(And this blog, if there are any Radisson managers reading, should really fucking mess with THEIR minds. Get your procedures sorted out. I know we’re in France, but this is SICK!)

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