Always outnumbered. Generally overdresssed.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Apple Über Alles

GC is plenty busy. Busy writing headlines.

This is fine, in fact I like it.

When I signed up to be a copywriter, all I wanted to do was write headlines, so I was annoyed to discover that I'd arrived on the scene 20 years too late and that advertising had been taken over by French-Brazilian art directors and you just had to film someone spraying strawberry jam into a poodle's teeth and then play it in high-definition-slow-motion and there, that's an ad.

No-one wanted facetiousness, which was, if not my only asset, then at least the dominant feature of my personality. The vocabulary too, I'd thought they'd like that, but no, put it away they said, no-one wants to see that, never get it out in public ever again.

That's why I have this blog you see. It's like I've lured you into the photocopying room with bacon and locked the door and now I'm saying things like coprolalia and abomasum and opiomane and heterozygotic and syntagmatic and oh, GOD, IT'S HORRIBLE.

So the great thing about headlines is the way that they almost but not quite arrive at a truth. That there's a possibility that for any given brief in any given language there is a perfect headline, one that comes closest to exactly expressing what the brief has asked for in as few words as possible. I'm talking about straight 1970s style headlines that sit alongside a picture of a product. The people who seem to come closest to doing this, reliably, are Apple's copywriters.

These are not clever, they are simple. They are so simple that they are clever. It's like they were written by God using maths. "Nanochromatic" is better than "Small talk" (for the new shuffle, which has no screen, but reads out the track names), but even "Small talk" has that kind of burnished feeling that you get if you try loads and loads of lines and end up going back to the second one you wrote because it came out like a turd that you could tell even before you looked was just perfect in every way.

I got these off the web obviously, but they're so good they can use them anywhere, in windows, online, print, you fucking name it.

And this very strict word-count message-delivery ratio ends up having a form-function beauty about it which is quite like their product design.

Apple are clearly fascists though, with an Aryan/Untermenschen dynamic running through all their advertising which you'd have to be a fucking idiot to miss frankly.


Jam said...

I agree, the reductive mind is a great thing. Try and say the biggest, boldest thing you can, in the smallest space...

...only don't look like you're doing that. Woe betide anyone who uses an exclamation mark over a full stop. Understated shouting is the order of the day, and who could fail to find a kind of masochistic joy in that?

Cleaver said...

"Written by God using maths" is excellent, and I shall have no hesitation in purloining it if the occasion arises.

Ben said...

Maximum meaning, minimum means.

It's why my novel's 20,000 words short.

Gordon Comstock said...

Cleaver - Here's the big guy at work. I think he does all their lines now.

Ben - 20,000 words short of what?

Ben said...

Short of the length my publisher would like it to be.

Obviously, it's so good I couldn't possibly alter a single syllable, but on reflection, if it means getting my novel out there I'll happily eat toe jam and pus for a month.

Gordon Comstock said...

If you like I'll go through it judiciously adding words.

Adverbs mainly.

Ben said...

'Laura was really, really, really, really, really, really terrified. She walked really, really, really, really slowly down the dark, dark, dark, dark, hall...'


Piece of piss.

]-[appy Thought said...

I recon they just pay copywriters by the word.