Ad Chat: Jane Goldman: Creative Director/Copywriter | Strategist

Today we're turning the spotlight on one of our own contributors. Adgrunts, meet Jane Goldman. She's a Boston-based Creative Director/Copywriter who thanks to a current freeelance gig is now adding content strategist to her disciplines. See, kids? Some people are able to wear more than one hat and wear it well.

db: What project are you most proud of?

So far, I think it has to be "Unfreeze It" for Dunkin' Donuts. It was really the first time I was able to do something innovative for a client in the digital space that took technology and pushed it to do something other than the expected. And, it was an idea that almost didn't get presented to the client--but thankfully it did and turned out to be incredibly successful and a hit with our client.

db: Does digital copywriting differ from traditional copywriting?

In many ways, no, it doesn't.

The way in which copy was done when the web was young is very different from how copy was done in the traditional ad world. Writers would be sent layouts to fill in the blanks. They were not part of the strategy or concepting. And they sure weren't working with the art directors in a team setting.

Unfortunately, today, this thinking is still prevalent in some agencies and shops, which can make it harder for digital copywriters to move up the corporate ladder than traditional copywriters in many cases. But, just like in the traditional agency, there are those who excel at grasping more than just the words, but also understand design, layout, overall ideation process, and are fully capable of managing creative teams underneath them across different disciplines. Creative Directors, be they traditional or digital, should be able to come from more than just the design side of Creative.

I think the biggest differences happen when you get down to very specific types of media, just like it does for design. Some of the biggest differences with writing for digital vs traditional is needing to understand calls to action, the ability to know how to sort content types, character counts, and specific elements. But those are all things that are easily learned and aligned. The biggest asset you can have from a copywriter, is their concepting ability.
And what I have found interesting is that for the art side of the equation, we have art directors and designers. The difference being that art directors concept, designers design. But, there has never been this distinction made for the copy side of and perhaps there should.

db: How do you approach a 360 campaign idea? Where do you begin?

Strategy first. Then the idea. Often times the creative team doesn't quite get enough meat on the bones of the strategy to really be able to start solving whatever the problem is that's in front of us. It requires some digging, learning, and getting into the heads of the target audience. Often times I start researching by looking at the type of media the target would to get a better sense of who they are, especially if I'm not in that audience. Other techniques include researching what people are saying about the brand online, looking at what tools are at our disposal, and looking at what the competition has been doing.

Then comes the brainstorming around ideas and concepts. Big platform ideas that have stretch. Often times these are just a phrase or a line that can be summed up in a short paragraph. Once a few of those are nailed down, you look at it and figure out more tactically how could it work in digital, in print, in broadcast, or whatever media you think the client will buy (or, as it is in many cases, already bought).

But it all starts with finding that nugget of an idea that brings the problem and solution together in an unusual, interesting and exciting way.

db: What's one thing that excites you about the future of advertising?

The blurring of lines, the unknown, the new tools at our disposal...the endless possibilities.

db: If you could meet with anyone in history (dead or alive), who would it be and why?

William Shakespeare or Chaucer. It's a toss up, both were influential to my love of words and writing.

db: What's the one piece of advice would you give someone starting out?

Work hard, always want to learn, and don't expect to be entitled to anything. Wow them with your ideas, words, designs. Actions speak with power.

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