In no particular order, these are the clients and projects that were the marshmallows on my hot chocolate as my 2015 copywriting highlights …
1. Writing the website for a male escort
In my 25 years as a freelance copywriter, I have never, ever had to pose the question ‘Do you go all the way?’ in a client meeting. Writing this website over the past month has been such huge fun, and I must remember to reset the parental controls on Virgin Media when it’s finished. I’ll write more about it when the site goes live so keep checking back…
2. Being appointed as Emma Bridgewater’s freelance copywriter
I don’t know if you look at LinkedIn job posts and think ‘Hmmm, bet they get a load of applications and I’ll never get through’? That was my initial reaction when I spotted a post from Emma Bridgewater looking for a freelance copywriter. But then my mind prattled on, ‘Why not? I’ve stacks of retail experience having worked with John Lewis, M&S, Jane Shilton, Anatomic & Co, blah, blah.’ So I gave it a go, weaving in all my retail experience, work and love of the Potteries (having been at Keele University for four years) into the application. And I got it, together with one other copywriter to share the load. Out of 300 people. Gulp.
Great fun to work on. And a delightful client (they sent me a package of Emma Bridgewater books and a personalised mug when I started).
3. Rebranding Anatomic & Co
I’ve worked with this men’s online shoe retailer for four years now, writing the website and weekly email and blogs. They’re the nicest people and one of my all-time favourite clients. I introduced them to the equally lovely Duane Holland at DH Ready, a former client, to help with redefining their brand. There’s a new strategy, brand identity, tone of voice and strapline, which have all now launched.
4. TV commercials for MyHeritage
2015 got off to a flying start for copywriting highlights when MyHeritage, an online genealogy platform company, based in Israel, asked me to interview c. 40 MyHeritage subscribers around the UK and draw up a shortlist for testimonial TV ads. After several days of non-stop calls throughout the Christmas break, a long day’s shoot at Shepperton in mid-Jan (and no voice the next day), the 30” and 10” TV commercials aired pretty much throughout the UK during the following month.
5. Crew Clothing Company winter campaign
In September, Crew found themselves in-between in-house copywriters and asked me to help out with writing the descriptors for the winter 2015 clothing range. They have a pretty distinctive copy style based on less-is-more. (My penned favourite pearls were ‘Winter without tartan. It’s unthinkable.’ And ‘Relax indoors while it’s wet and windy outdoors. It’s a beautiful thought.’)
I also researched and wrote the True Crew Christmas Journal along the theme of “Christmas, a little different”, with ideas for unusual things to do in London at Christmas time, the UK’s best Christmas markets and how to spend a memorable 48 hours on a winter break in Stockholm. The Sturebadet Spa is defo on my bucket list.
6. Award for client Louise Selby
Louise Selby, bridal dress designer extraordinaire, has been a client for many years and always provides me with stacks of lovely copywriting highlights. If the love of your life popped the question to you this NYE, book an appointment to visit her studio in Kew which is filled with the most breathtaking lace and silk concoctions. You’ll want to try on every single one. I promise.
In November, Louise invited me to accompany her to The Wedding Industry Awards at Morden Hall. And what a brilliant night it was as Louise won ‘Regional finalist – wedding dressmaker/designer of the year, London and South East’. The lovely Louise has invited me to join her once more at the National Winners’ event at the Café de Paris, London on January 14. Fingers crossed for her. Will spend next week dithering over what to wear…
7. Cremation jewellery website
Did you know that people’s ashes can be made into necklaces, cufflinks and paperweights? Neither did I, until Ashes into Glass invited me to pay a visit to their workshop in Essex and write their product copy. Theirs is a classic story of a British company set up by two childhood friends (with a passion for glassblowing and strong values).
It felt a bit spooky having the product samples at home even though they contained bonemeal, not human ashes. My father passed away before Christmas so it’s now going to be my turn to be their client.
8. Print, packaging and naming for Courvoisier
I feel an indulgent thrill when working on luxury brands. Courvoisier decided to create two limited edition gift packs positioned as ‘The toast of Paris’ and based on the spirit of the Golden Age. Aimed at high net worth individuals, the high end ‘Celebration Sensorielle’ gift packs are themed around celebration and contain a 700ml bottle, booklet and bespoke scented candles, retailing at £190 and £397.
9. Revamping the Optegra website
Isn’t life full of quirky coincidences? And this is a good example. In March, Chris Bullick, my old uni friend and founder of Pull Digital (and who I’d never worked with before) emailed to say, “We’re re-building all of Optegra’s websites. I think we need a copywriter for the UK site – and I thought of you. I was amazed to discover that you have them on your client list.”
10. Successfully taking a non-paying client to court
Those who know me well also know I’ve a real bee in my bonnet about clients who don’t pay. Grrrrr. You can read my tips on how to get clients to pay and what to do if they don’t. Unfortunately, one slippery fish got through the net. I had to take him to court in August via Money Claim Online. It’s a pain. And it takes time.But, sadly, bad payers get away with not paying because they know freelancers can’t be bothered to chase.
Was I successful? Yes – and what a relief. After getting a CCJ against him, I emailed to say I was about to take further legal action. That was enough to make him pay. I’ve since added the Payontime logo to all my invoices.
11. Placemaking for Deepcut
It’s not every day you get permission to visit a military barracks, but that’s the joy of the weird and wonderful world of advertising. Having worked at length with the enigmatic and enthusiastic Sara Woods at Philosophy Design on the messaging, copy style, naming, website and brochures for the launch of TIQ and Glasshouse Gardens, I was asked to help out again in setting the scene for the proposed residential development on the site of the Deepcut army barracks site in Surrey. It’s going to be a pretty amazing place…
12. RationalFX website going live before Christmas
For me, 2015 ended the same way it began: on a high. Personally, I rather love freelance copywriting projects when the deadlines are urgent and the client is focused and decisive. RationalFX is such a client, with a service providing a much better way of sending money overseas than a bank. These guys also deserve a place in my ‘Loveliest clients’ folder (and not just because they’re speedy payers).
2015 was a great year. Here’s to a vintage 2016 for everyone, everywhere, every day.
Written by Caroline Gibson, freelance copywriter, whose New Year resolution is to have even more copywriting highlights for next year.
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