The Idea Writers, Teressa Iezzi’s book published in December 2010, gives copywriters, aspiring creatives and industry newcomers a unique perspective on the advertising industry and its rapid growth in the digital age. Iezzi covers the evolving role of copywriters and breaks down other roles in advertising, from art directors and creatives to media buyers, account planners, technologists and digital producers. A lot has changed since the ‘Mad Men’ days of advertising. Good ideas won’t get you far unless you can execute them with the tools at your disposal. Brands and agencies feel the pressure to adapt in an industry that relies on creative ideas and the technology needed to bring them to life.
Iezzi provides insights from advertising professionals at some of the most distinguished ad agencies in the world, including TBWA/Chiat Day, CP+B, BBDO, Mother New York, Wieden & Kennedy, Droga5, the Barbarian Group and Saatchi & Saatchi. She stresses the importance of brand creativity in a consumer-oriented culture. A copywriter’s role has expanded beyond writing headlines and copy for television, print and radio ads. Agencies need to keep pace with the technological advancements of the time.
Iezzi does a great job of explaining the importance of copywriters as content creators, idea generators and visionaries. She reinforces the need for professionals who can tell stories and develop engaging content that will have an emotional connection with consumers. There is a need to think like your target market and find out what moves them. One thing I really liked about this book was the analysis of brand campaigns and the stories from some of the agency heads. Hearing about the creative process from the minds of many advertising heavyweights made for an interesting and thought-provoking read.
Another aspect of this book that resonated with me was the idea of not looking at advertisements as simply ads. An advertisement should transcend its medium and solve a specific problem for a consumer or make them feel a certain way. If the advertisement is creative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience, it will have the most impact.
Another recurring theme throughout the book is the transition from traditional adverting to advertising on the web. Iezzi made valid points that agencies have been reluctant to change and are no longer dominant in today’s advertising landscape. The industry is sprawling with smaller agencies and digital production companies that are just as capable as larger agencies to do quality work for their clients. A lot of boutique agencies quickly adapted to advertising in the digital space. Two notable digital campaigns from the book were Burger King’s Subservient Chicken created for the Miami-based advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) by The Barbarian Group. The other was the groundbreaking BMW films “The Hire” video series from Fallon Worldwide. Both examples highlight the effectiveness of branded content and set the foundation for advertising in the digital space.
An overarching theme in Iezzi’s book is a growing trend toward a more collaborative environment in advertising. Creative is not in charge of ideas. Art is not left to the artists. Advertising is not siloed. Iezzi and pros in her book emphasized the importance of sharing ideas and fostering an open culture in an agency setting.
Iezzi’s tone throughout the book is witty and conversational. Her use of case studies, interviews and campaign information increased the credibility and trust from a reader’s perspective. The book is not dry and was very much an easy read. I would recommend it to anyone who has any interest in advertising, not just those in the profession. Anyone can appreciate the work going on behind the scenes to create the most memorable ads and campaigns of the 21st century.