Sending emails or direct mail? Important new laws come into force on 25th May 2018.

Important info for anyone sending email marketing or direct mail communications – it seems that, from 25th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) means that you need to get a target’s permission to send them stuff first or risk a heavy fine (not brilliantly easy to understand the legalese that explains the new laws, but that seems to be the general drift)

The idea is to add extra layers of protection to what organisations do with with people’s data, but I very much doubt if it will stop the spammers, just make it more difficult for ordinary businesses and organisations to contact customers.

As someone who cut their copywriting teeth on direct mail and direct marketing, I really do wonder how this will work in practice…

Blinded by legalese, I Googled ‘the idiot’s guide to GDPR’ and this is what came up if you, too, need it explained in plain English:


Cloaking reduced loyalty rewards – not a great way to win and retain customers

Dear Tesco (who has just reduced the value of its Clubcard vouchers for restaurants, etc), We customers aren’t stupid, you know. When you say that you have “listened to your customers” before making this move, I’d like to know which customers agreed that, yes, it’d be a fantastic idea to reduce the value of loyalty incentives. Also, words such as “simplified” and phrases like “to make it more straightforward” are absolute bullsh!t corporate jargon that’s simply there to cloak what you are really up to which is cutting loyalty rewards by a significant amount, AND without giving customers any notice.

Yeah, but WHAT does the product DO? WHAT does the text MEAN?

I have a European client who sends me English translations of their marketing literature for me to put into easy-to-understand plain English. I do this on a regular basis and we have a great working relationship. And, apart from the odd curious phrase which I have to query, I have no problem understanding what they’re on about, even though the products are pretty damn technical. Continue reading “Yeah, but WHAT does the product DO? WHAT does the text MEAN?”

Get those apostrophes under control!

Apostrophes are going wild! Everywhere I look I’m seeing apostrophes being misused – on printed leaflets, posters, websites, sales letters… Aaarrgghh!

I want to scream out that plurals don’t have an apostrophe. In other words it’s not customer’s, it’s customers (as in: our customers are never wrong). Unless the sentence is something like: our customers’ needs. And when you’re referring to more than just one customer, it IS customers’ and not customer’s. Our customer’s needs refers to just one customer.

But when it’s just a plural – our customers are freaking fantastic… what the chuffing heck would we do without our stupendously brilliant and awesome customers… – there is no apostrophe.



Copywriting portfolio: just where do I start with this little lot?

IMG_20170421_154607518_HDRToday I tipped out my portfolio bag onto the bedroom floor and these are just the projects that landed on top of the massive pile – AND all of this stuff is from the first ten years of my copywriting career. Most of it is from the first five years. I’ve been copywriting for 27 years in total so if I were to show my entire portfolio on my new website it would take forever and a day. So just where do I start? How can I give potential new clients a flavour of my work when they ask to see some work samples? Good grief, if this little lot doesn’t prove that I know what I’m doing as a copywriter, then I don’t know what will!!