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Advertising copywriter

Produces briefs and scripts for advertising campaigns and amends advertising copy according to feedback.

Copywriters are responsible for generating the words, slogans and audio scripts that accompany advertising visuals. They work alongside art directors to conceive and complete effective advertisements. Advertising ideas, which typically contain an integrated verbal and visual concept, require both the ability to make an imaginative leap and an intuitive understanding of the public the advert is aimed at.

Copywriters must understand the client's brief; the concept determines the style and character of the ad. Copywriters must be able to write at length and paraphrase highly technical subjects. Advertising copy involves constant detailed revision and rewriting either at the request of the client or to tune up the communication.

Work activities

  • Meeting with account executives to discuss the client's requirements and core messages and target audience.
  • Familiarising themselves with the product, target audience and competitor activities in the market.
  • Brainstorming ideas and concepts for the visual and words with other members of the creative team.
  • Presenting initial ideas to the creative director, some of which may be rejected or developed into workable concepts.
  • Writing various copy options, which may be presented to the client as a story board (a consecutive series of frames depicting the script and drawings that may be used).
  • Reviewing progress, modifying copy until the client is satisfied.
  • Overseeing the production phase, booking and liaising with designers, illustrators, printers, photographers and production companies.
  • Casting actors and models to appear in adverts.

Work conditions

Travel: mostly office based but can involve travel within the working day with the art director to visit clients, film and recording studios.
Working hours: mainly Monday to Friday office hours but work can extend into evenings and weekends to meet particular deadlines.
Location: mainly in cities.
Opportunities for self-employment: Self-employment and freelance work possible for those with experience and contacts.

Typical employers

  • Larger advertising and full service marketing agencies
  • Newspapers
  • TV and radio stations
  • Digital and new media companies that write copy for websites.

Career development

Junior agency copywriters may progress to senior copywriter and potentially to creative director. A willingness to change posts may be required for career progression as it is very closely linked to experience and individual motivation. Many successful copywriters set up as freelancers. There may be some overseas opportunities, particularly for copywriters skilled in writing for specific industry sectors.

Salaries

Republic of Ireland:

Salaries will vary from agency to agency though an advertising copywriter can expect to earn between €22,000 and €50,000. 

Northern Ireland:

Again salaries vary depending on the agency. Starting salaries can fall anywhere between £18,000 and £25,000. Senior copywriters can earn upwards of £100,000.

Specific degree subjects required

Open to graduates of any discipline.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Advertising
  • Advertising and marketing communications
  • Business/management
  • English
  • Journalism
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Psychology
  • Public relations

Postgraduate study

A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not a requirement. However, there are a range of taught postgraduate programmes in advertising available including postgraduate diploma conversion courses and masters.

Training

Initial training is likely to be in-house guidance from more experienced colleagues and learning on the job. Attending external courses and seminars is usually encouraged.

Tips for applications

Gain relevant experience as an undergraduate. Apply for an Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) internship.

Skills and qualities

  • Ability to write concise, compelling copy.
  • Ability to handle multiple projects at the same time.
  • Ability to work well as part of a team in a collaborative environment.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Energy, stamina and the ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines and demanding targets.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Commercial awareness.
  • High levels of creativity, imagination, initiative and enthusiasm.
  • Interest in commerce, popular culture, and new advertising trends and techniques.