My super-brilliant early writing career

Like a number of writers, I have a side job to pay the bills. Writers with side jobs tend to fall into two categories: those with writing-related professions, and those with non-writing related professions. I have a marketing/advertising writing side-job, so I'm in that first group.

There are whole schools of thought about whether it's better for your side job to be about writing or not. (e.g. if you write for your side job, will you use up all your writing juice? vs. if you write for your side job, does that just give you extra practice?) I actually go back and forth on that.

Anyway, as some of you may know, Mr. Crane and I are moving across town. So, tonight I cleaned out this old file cabinet. And of course, it turned into this whole walk down memory lane. 

I found all these files from my VERY FIRST advertising copywriter job, more like a paid internship.I was an advertising copywriter for employment want ads! That was back when there weren't enough employees to go around, unlike today. The competition for, like, mildly competent telemarketers was fierce. And employers would hire agencies like the one I worked at to create major campaigns in the newspaper employment section to attract the best and the brightest (because newspapers were where all the action was when I was a youth). 

Anyway, I discovered this file I had kept with what I then considered some of my best ideas, because, when you're an advertising copywriter, you never know when you'll need a killer idea.  

I think this first one shows my early UF roots. Note the spider. I was so ahead of my time, biotches! People just didn't recognize my brilliance! 
A brilliant concept mock-up that nobody else thought was as cool as I did. 

This was for seasonal hiring at a well-known department store (name blanked out). As you can see, it isn't a finished ad, but a mock-up that I produced with clip art, a printer and a photocopier. My idea was to sell it within the agency. To make it look ad-like to help them visualize the brilliance of the concept. Shockingly, they never went for it!

Ah, Dr. Elliot, convincing the youth of Minneapolis that telemarketer jobs are SO awesome. My Dr. Elliot ads actually ran in the paper for weeks, so they must have been working. They featured different case studies, as you can see. It's funny to look back on them. 

In UF, parents are often absent or else evil, and check it out. I was working that schtick way back then! 
The Mr. Elliot campaign, one of my first copywriting triumphs! This is
the kind of ad you get when you hire a budding fiction writer to write ads.
My Dr. Elliot ads were kind of this joke around the agency - nobody could believe the client went for it, but I was so proud of them!  

Actually, I think the client refused to run this one. They didn't
want their employees showing up looking like the Fonz. 
This job was years ago. I came into it after a stint of waiting tables in really funky outfits, and I struggled mightily to look like a businesswoman. I would go to Goodwill and get these outfits that looked super career girl to me, but I'm sure the people at the agency thought I looked like a bag lady. I have always had a hard time dressing well. It like it took until I hit my 40's to even start getting the hang of how to put together outfits, and even now, I make very poor choices. A lot. 

One of my FAVE campaign ideas that never got used!!!!

This was a personal favorite campaign idea of mine, which again, I mocked up, again with the help of clip art and a photocopier. I tried to get the designer to design it properly so that we could present it to the account executive and then ideally to the client, but the designer was not on board (Yeah, I'm talking to YOU Jenn!). I can't understand why, can you? Isn't it totally persuasive that this job opportunity is not one where you get hit repeatedly with a heavy ball and knocked over? 

Okay, I think these ads are so hilarious, but it's entirely possible that this post is one of those posts that are only funny and/or interesting to me. All you bloggers out there, you know what I mean. That thudding silence. But it was so funny to find these in the old filing cabinet! I was like, I'm putting them on the blog, dammit! 


Mario said…
"Goodwill outfits that looked super career girl to me, but I'm sure the people at the agency thought I looked like a bag lady." :-O You are a funny, funny lady!
Carolyn Crane said…
LOL thanks Mario! Sadly, I'm SO not exaggerating!
KB/KT Grant said…
You're so talented CC! I haz a jealous :)
Chris said…
I think that having all the employees looking like the Fonz/Elvis would've been fascinating. :)
Roxanne Skelly said…
You don't have Fonzie Fridays?
Hmm, it's all we can do to get our folk not to dress like bikers and hobos. I'm still trying to instigate Formal Fridays, myself.
Carolyn Crane said…
KB: lol. I am sure you are SO jealous!

Chris: I know! It would have been great, I think.

Roxanne: Oh, funny. Fonzie Fridays! That's the kind of thing that would have worked, I think.
B.E. Sanderson said…
Ack. I don't even want to think about looking back at some of my old work product. :shudder: I know back then I thought those websites were killer, but now? Bleh.

Those ads are great, Carolyn. I confess to not getting the bowling pin one, but it's early here.
Tumperkin said…
These are too perfect! Too you!
Carolyn Crane said…
BE: I know. It's sort of amazing to look back, isn't it? Oh, the bowling pin one just means, don't get a job where you are repeatedly knocked down. Sly, isn't it?

T: Hey you! Thanks!
Anonymous said…
well, wow, wow, wow. Did we really do those Dr. Elliot ads? Wow. Guess I blocked them out! And Yes, I'm glad I refused to design your ads. I love you and all, but not that much! At least we met each other at that agency, so that made it all worth it. Too funny. Let's do wine. Soon.

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