Righting the Writing

I’ve been contributing to AdPulp for almost two years now, and most of the time, I post things so hastily I’ll usually have to go back and fix an error or two.
Such is the world we live in, always pressed for time. As a result, I’m noticing more careless writing in the world. And being a copywriter, nothing bothers me more when clients do it:

I don’t mean asking for changes such as modifying an odd word or sentence, adding appropriate technical info, or moving some paragraphs around. On the whole, those are OK. I’m talking about instances when the client looked at what I wrote, opened up a new Word document, and began re-typing.
Clearly, it’s the one bugaboo that writers have to put up with more than art directors. Because clients can often ask for idiotic suggestions in designs or layouts, but they can’t whip out Quark or Photoshop and make it happen. Everyone, however, knows how to use a word processor.

Read more in my new column on TalentZoo.com.
How do you handle it when clients just want to go and re-write everything you’ve done? Should we really pay attention to the explosion of bad grammar seen in all forms of writing today?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. I thought you already knew: EVERYone’s a writer, Danny. Everyone.

  2. what the hell is nancy on? says:

    every comment she makes is entirely unintelligible. fitting, i suppose, for the subject of this post.

  3. I like Nancy. She’s the Lewis Carroll of ad blogs.

  4. Oh, by the way Mr. G., great, timely article.
    I’ve been living the scene you described for years, but never more so than the past month.

  5. Thanks, Bob! It’s always good to know I’m not alone…

  6. Carl LaFong says:

    I disagree, Bob. I think Nancy is more like Salvador Dali. Her free-form thinking and bizarre non sequitirs are refreshingly surreal — although the image of her lactating upon seeing her grandson will haunt me for the remainder of my days.
    I do agree with you, though, about Danny G’s article. Hell, I’ve even had to endure having an AE rewrite my copy. The horror, the horror!

  7. What perfect timing. Taking a quick breather from a 14th (yes, that’s 10+4) copy revision and I see this post. Danny, you hit upon so many things that are spot on, but what it really comes down to is lack of trust.
    Clients love to play art director because it’s fun. Get to talk about pictures and graphics and bright shiny objects. However, they decide to play copywriter out of fear — that their proposition is total crap (can anyone say ‘another line extension’?); no one will understand it (including themselves); the strategic insight is neither; and the fate of Planet Earth (read: their own ass) hangs in the balance.
    And when the client unleashes the Frankencopy monster the problem isn’t just poor grammar. Hell, I’m no grammarian myself. The problem is, in their drive cover all their bases and minimize any amount of risk, the client leaves a big steaming pile of nothing. What’s more, and this really kills me, they think it’s GOOD.
    I know it isn’t kosher to say this, some clients really deserve shitty creative. Or maybe a better way to say it is that they don’t deserve good creative. Pearls before swine, so to speak.

  8. smile, cash the check, and save your energy for work you REALLY care about. example: i was recently given a paragraph (about 100 words) to edit for a law firm website. it was titled “litigation” and had the word “litigation” four times in the first SENTENCE, three in the second, two in the third and one in the fourth. i took about seven of them out. they changed them back. i smiled, billed them (a lot), cashed the check and moved on to a low-paying campaign for a small retail client that has no fear of good creative. some of the best work i’ve done in the last couple of years.