Re: Bunch of Wiseacres, Aren't We? (Was: BAD Writing)

Subject: Re: Bunch of Wiseacres, Aren't We? (Was: BAD Writing)
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 09:50:43 -0500

"Beth Brooks" <beth -dot- brooks -at- cox -dot- net> wrote:

>Thanks again!
>Beth, who will forever after maintain a file of BAD writing examples just
>for such occasions as this.


The first paid writing job I had was as a junior copywriter at J. Walter Thompson, in 1968. The wife of the man who hired me, Colin Dawkins (who, as a smart-mouthed kid who resented being asked to come up with a tag line for a public service campaign for Religion In American Life, had penned "the family that stays together prays together" as a wiseass-time-to-go-home throwaway line, only to be horrified to see it become their permanent slogan) was an intellectually curious woman who had no need for gainful employment (it was a different era).

She enrolled in a comparative anatomy course at a local college. The instructor distributed to each student a formalin-preserved fetal pig from Carolina Biological Supply--the kind of thing that 14-year-old boys think is kewwwwl but that Westchester homemakers find, um, gross. Well, the packaging consisted of a waxed paper bag (the sort you might get a sub in) with a cutesy cartoon pig on the front and words splattered around it on the order of "Oink!," "Squeeee!," etc.

She brought the bag home to Colin and it inspired him to begin his (modestly named) Colin Campbell Dawkins There Will Always Be a Need for a Copywriter Collection. I'm proud to say I contributed pieces to it for several years after I left JWT.

It's never too late to start your own.


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