I've been giving this one some thought and have come to the conclusion that the act of writing copy definitely bears at least some resemblance to writing poetry. Now, maybe that's crediting my occupation with a level of literary respectability it may not deserve but...
You WHAT sunshine? Did I hear you correctly?
You reckon those childlike utterances you occasionally make on behalf of some overpriced 'product' are the equal of some of the finest literary minds the world has ever seen?
Eh? Do you?
You reckon semi-literate tosh like this...
"The muffled thunder of its engine is impressively addictive, as is the 237 bhp it delivers which leaves you gasping in admiration..."
... equates with this...
"...But if he stood and watched the frigid wind
Tousling the clouds, lay on the fusty bed
Telling himself that this was home, and grinned,
And shivered, without shaking off the dread
That how we live measures our own nature,
And at his age having no more to show
Than one hired box should make him pretty sure
He warranted no better, I don't know."
You think yours is better do you? Outside in the car park now!
Can I just make a couple of points before things become physically violent?
Well, firstly, the author of that stuff about the car wasn't me, I read it in a magazine.
Go on, point two.
Yes, er, and point two is that I was in no way suggesting that the end result of a copywriter's labours is the equal of great poetry. It's just that the PRINCIPLES ARE THE SAME. Namely, that it's all about distillation. Paring sentences, cutting words, forever reducing so that what remains has a power that comes from a concentration of the language. Copy, good copy that is, has to put over its message in as succinct yet memorable a way as possible without falling prey to cliches or lazy verbiage. And unless you're a genius, it's impossible to do in a first draft.
And if poetry works, readers see something with new eyes. If copy works, consumers get their wallets out.
Anyway, I'm rambling now.
Here's part of The Guardian newspaper's site where they run a weekly Haiku competition. The rules are... well they're explained on the site. But basically a Haiku is a syllabic poem of three lines in 5,7,5 syllable order. Preferably topical.
HERE IT IS, HAVE A CRACK IF YOU FANCY
The 'point' being that it's a really neat way of polishing words.
Yes, it's a UK newspaper but global subjects are welcomed.
Oh, and there's a prize for the weekly winner. Not from me, from the newspaper.