The Last Word on Tony Brignull Masterclass
By Will Wright
I have always found it easier to move a pen across a page than between lines. Its not that Im illiterate or anything but i have never thought in words in my head. I hear them but i don’t see them. My spelling reflects this heavily and as a result i have to get everything I do checked.
Mr Brignall being the most awarded British copywriter of all time. Pretty awesome. But as an art director I was i did think this was going to be a copy heavy masterclass. I was wrong!
Tony was able to diagnose his works art direction to level of intellect and precision that was pretty incredible.
But for me what made the difference was his intricate dissection and explanation of the detail in the combination of the two, (copy and art) on examples of work he had done years ago.
He spoke with accuracy, as if it was presented yesterday, there was an underlying certainty in not just his work but his explanation. Here you are. There you go. Boom!
It goes without saying that everyone within BARK London hopes to one day be as successful but to be as persistant is virtue for anyone on this planet. Success spanned over that length of time is reserved for only the few in any field and not only has Mr Brignall achieved that but he has done it doing something he loved expressing himself in his own way. For me that sounds spot on.
I can’t quite remember the exact wording but the last thing he said I could tell resonated with everyone in the room and I know it will stick with me.
If at the end of your career your proud of the work you have done, no matter the salary, title or credit you have achieved, you will have won and will be happy.
A philosophy that can be extended in to all walks of life I think.
By Lawrence Hunt
“You can live without meeting Tony Brignull… but how well?”
Every word he spoke was as weighed and considered as the lines he once penned in his ads for Parker. By turns droll and serious, he never resorted to raising his voice to hold our attention. He didn’t need to.
Not even when he mistook Ben Parnyjarny’s mobile note taking for the unfathomably rude texting of a fragrant man-swine, and called him on it.
It was slightly uncomfortable but interesting to watch – a moment that demonstrated nicely a difference between Tony’s long copy generation and ours. A phub-free age when there were fewer ads and fewer distractions, and people were expected to listen, man-to-man, face-to-face.
When the best advertising was no uninvited scream for attention, but more an exchange of trust. As a writer, you’d take the time and effort it required to make your reader feel intelligent and important – and they in turn would give you their undivided attention for a few minutes.
“The reader will read as much as the purchase is important to them,” Tony told us, and I think that’s advice worth holding on to.
When I wrote DM packs for charities, some of the letters we wrote were four pages long. It seemed like madness at first, assuming that someone would want to sit there for ten minutes reading about yet another donkey with molar cavities in rural Pakistan.
But if you set out with the assumption that someone isn’t interested, why even bother? You’re writing it for the people who do care – they’re the only ones who are going to keep shelling out.
I showed Tony a fundraising leaflet I wrote recently for a psychoanalytic ward to help them make up for the funds they’ve lost from the NHS.
And before he ripped it to shreds and told me to start again, he even complimented me on my style.
Gives a man some hope.
I also now have an entire arsenal of responses in store for for any white-livered weakling who questions me on a brief.
“Well I THINK you’ll find that Tony Brignull…”
“Between Tony Brignull and me…”
“What you have to understand, and I know Tony Brignull would agree with me when I say this…”
By Sabine Haddad
Tony Brignull and I
4 months ago, I was sitting at an empty desk, in a boring agency, not really knowing what I was going to do with my life, where all the efforts I put in trying to become a copywriter will get me. I was there, giving up on advertising, feeling like an uninspired mediocre wannabe junior copywriter.
Who would have thought that, 4 months later, that person I was would get the chance sit in a couch next to the most awarded D&AD copywriter of all time?
Wait… Did I only write “sit in a couch”? Let me explain.
By “sit in a couch” I mean, listen, learn, get the chance to present my work, and get feedback and golden advice from the great, great Tony Brignull.
Wow. Can I get any luckier? Thank you SCA!
On this Monday morning, and God knows I am not a morning person, I’ve learned much more about advertising than I have in the past 3 years. I’ve also been reminded how delicious and precious the copy of an ad could be.
For those who haven’t got the chance to meet Tony Brignull yet, here are some of the valuable lessons I have learned from him:
– Without the copy, all the ads would be the same. It’s the copy that makes an ad memorable.
– Rhythm is not restrained to poetry. Copy should have rhythm and the people who read it should feel and memorize its rhythm.
– When you want to write a copy, write it, and pin it on the wall. When you’ll look at the next morning, you’ll hate it. That’s why you should never show your work to anyone before the next morning.
– One world and a thousand facts: Ask questions about the product, find the facts, and use them. The facts are what consumers want to know.
– People will read as much as the purchase is important to them.
– Say interesting things in an intelligent amusing way.
– What the headline is saying is more important then how it looks. If you get that right, the art direction will take care of itself.
– Beware of adjectives.
And above all:
– Humanize the problem and make it relevant: Find a problem people didn’t know they had until they saw your commercial.
These couple of bullet points could never replace a talk with Tony Brignull, but I do hope they are helpful.
The last thing I would like to say, and I want the whole world to know, is that behind that advertising legend lays an exceptional man.
A man who did not hesitate for a second to give us his time and share with us his knowledge; who even after leaving SCA, e-mailed me and Nicole more advice for the project we showed him; and who, when I asked him like a foolish groupie “Can I have a picture with you?” answered laughing “Of course! Come closer, I want to be sitting next to a pretty lady!”
Yes, I blushed! And I can’t help but share this picture with you because I treasure it.
Thank you Mr. Tony Brignull.
By Benny Wallington
After quite a few beautiful reflections from fellow classmates, I won’t continue with the presence, quality and professionalism that is Tony Brignull. Rather, I’d like to get straight to the art form of long copy – a taboo subject for many a creative in today’s smash and grab world.
Something I notice frequently about working on a print campaign is that as soon as you have more than a headline and a line of body copy, most people are quick to slam you for having too many words!
This may be that the quality isn’t good enough, but in most cases I’d say this is reflective of the print work we see every day.
Enter Tony’s approach:
He taught us that with the right communication, people will become comfortable with your brand, potentially enough so that a friendship is born.
And this isn’t just on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
You actually got the feeling that the readers of Tony’s long copy genuinely listened to him as a mate. They took the time out of their day to read his whole message. They didn’t know him personally, but I bet if they had they would have been up for a beer, tea or a laugh and genuinely listened to his advice.
Having taken this on board, the bar has been set (horrendously highly) for BARK copywriters to become friends with their readers and whole heartedly understand the voice needed to empathise.
Then, and only then, will people begin to listen to what our brands have to say.
So my new goal is simple, assess every brief with the possibility of writing a long copy print ad worthy of a Tony Brignull crit.
For the time spent one on one with the man is priceless.