A Foxy view of the world
Is it all that bad for copywriters?
10 December 2015
I hadn't heard of this DMA campaign for copywriters until today, but it makes interesting reading.
Based on a survey of 430 copywriters, it comes up with some facts, figures and statements on the general zeitgeist among those peddling their craft with a pen/keyboard these days.
I must admit, it's a gloomier-looking scenario than I have experienced. Clients generally appreciate
Dan Fox Copywriting hits the Chip Shop Awards!
19 June 2015
It's been quite a week, with the highlight being the Chip Shop Awards where my entry was shortlisted for a prize.
The Chip Shop Awards are billed as a tongue-in-cheek alternative to the usual ad ceremonies, but with judges from agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy and DigitasLbi, there seemed to be quite
How sports journalism has changed
17 March 2015
I love this article on how sports journalism has changed over the course of a century.
Twitter is, of course, the modern carrier pigeon - direct, slightly risky but nonetheless gets the message across most of the time.
But it's the relationship between the journalist and the sportsman that seems to have come full circle - Twitter now allows direct
Language on the move again
22 December 2014
I wanted to share this great article from The Guardian about how language changes, evolving into words that might originally have been thought of as poor grammar but which then become the norm.
And for this year, Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to you all.
3 April 2014
Wow, spring has sprung since last I wrote and things are looking good on the words front.
Speaking of which, this little video about font design should appeal to any fontheads out there obsessed with the micro details of font (which in fact I think affects all of us a lot more than we realise when it comes to
Punctuation genius dictation
11 December 2013
That Mitchell and Webb sound with a brilliant sketch that uses punctuation brilliantly as a doctor dictates a letter. Listen and laugh!
A little English history
18 November 2013
So that's why English is so complicated/fascinating/beautiful!
Working with designers
17 November 2013
As copywriters, we all have to work with designers. Sometimes the relationship is a beautiful thing, other times it takes a bit more work.
So if you're not quite familiar with the designer's lingo , perhaps this summary would help?
2 July 2013
Check out this brilliant comic strip from a brilliant site! Thanks, xkcd.
Why internal comms count
21 June 2013
One of the great things about writing internal comms, particularly copy for regular magazines, is getting to speak to people from right across the company.
What always warms the cockles of my heart is the passion with which people talk about their work, whether they're the MD or working on the shop floor.
There is a genuine belief that every
The client is always right
8 May 2013
That seems to be the message that shines through these quite brilliant posters based on client feedback collected by Irish creatives.
Among my favourites are "The copy seems to be in Latin, but could be Italian or Spanish" and "Can we make the pig sexier?".
At last - the truth about copywriting
5 December 2012
I just came across this very funny yet poignant article by Mike Gillis about what's involved in copywriting, bare bones 'n' all.
It's a great way of showing how writing copy - especially short copy - takes a whole process of thought and careful consideration to arrive at the end product.
It's a justification for how writing one
17 October 2012
So there's a lot of transatlantic irking going on at the moment. No longer is it just us Brits grumbling about Americanisms invading our language; now it's the Americans grumbling about British terms.
But out of all this debacle, followed up in another BBC article, is a word that transcends the debate - "Britishisation'.
Not only does
Naughty old advertisers
30 May 2012
It's interesting that people don't always complain about what you think they might, and do about what you might not think they would, if that makes any sense whatsoever.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has released a list of the most complained about UK ads ever.
And the most complaints ever? Not Benetton, or Durex or Sophie Dahl advertising
Made me laugh Alot
23 April 2012
Check out this brilliant blog about grammatical correctness (if such a term exists).
There's Alot to be said for it!
p.s. Happy Shakespeare's birth-and-deathday (if such a term exists).
22 March 2012
When it comes to house style, for tone of voice, grammar and spelling, there can be quite a lot of variety across different companies.
I generally find myself agreeing with the Guardian style guide (see @guardianstyle on Twitter). We have a few differences on things, but it's all fairly subjective and the overall intention is to make it easy for
A bright idea
17 February 2012
What does it take to be original? Just a great idea (and the odd LED lightsuit, awesome snowboarder and artistic cameraman on a skidoo).
The slow burn
15 February 2012
One of the main dichotomies of freelancing is that you often don't know what you're going to be doing next (if anything at all!).
It's what makes it such an interesting way to work, variety being the spice of life and all that. And while some work comes in regularly for clients you've worked with a lot, it's impossible to predict
A bright 2012
3 January 2012
After some busy months leading up to Christmas working on a number of exciting projects and changing my company from being a sole trader to a limited one (more on this to follow), it was good to take some time out and relax over Christmas.
Now it's back to the fray, so let me start by wishing you a happy new
14 October 2011
Well, it's Friday and this seems to be pretty contemporary considering the issues Blackberry have been having recently. Enjoy!
Red Cross video
5 October 2011
925 million people living in hunger in the world today? That sucks.
This video from the Red Cross is a great way of explaining it and how it can be broken.
Nice production, great voiceover - very convincing. Let's hope it works.
Grammar in a nutshell
21 September 2011
I've just come across this great quote from William Safire's 'Great Rules of Writing' for the first time:
"Do not put statements in the negative form. And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a
Does good advertising exist?
7 September 2011
I read this interesting article about how good advertising works even when you think it doesn't.
While it's focused on the US, the principle remains the same everywhere - that ads don't generally make you get up and run out of the door to buy something, but work on a more subliminal level.
You'll often remember a good ad for
Challenger World now live
8 August 2011
Whoop-de-doop and all that - the latest edition of Challenger World is now up and running.
It's looking lovelier than ever, so check it out for all the biggest mass-participation sports events with whizzy copy and loads of info all in one online piece of magnificence!
Knowing when to comment
20 June 2011
The guys at KISS Metrics have produced this interesting overview of the most effective times to tweet or comment on Facebook.
Some of it is as you might expect - peaks around lunchtime and early evening as people get home from work. But I was quite surprised to see that Facebook peaks on Saturdays.
10 May 2011
Just received a delivery with an accompanying note asking me to "recommend my fiends".
Wondering if I know anyone fiendish enough? Mwah-ha-ha-ha!
Google's Panda chews through content
14 March 2011
Google's new algorithm, called Panda, has caused a "significant dip" in freelance copywriting jobs, according to Freelancer.com.
The drop has affected low-quality content for article submissions (down 29 per cent), copywriting (down 19 per cent) and ghostwriting (down 12 per cent), the website says.
Personally, I think it's no bad thing that it's going this way, discouraging those who use
What makes a copywriter?
1 March 2011
This poster from US copywriter George Ellis made me laugh. Sums up copywriters (albeit slightly ironically...) in one fell swoop.
A way with words
28 February 2011
As a writer, I’ve always enjoyed words. The sound of them, the way they can change each nuance of what you are saying, is endlessly fascinating to me.
I find it amazing how different languages have evolved, how words come about and then change as people put them to different purposes down the years.
So I particularly
21 January 2011
The good folks at Perch have profiled me on their site today, so I'm reciprocating!
Perch was used by my design agency Karyx to build this lil' old site and it's dead easy to use from a CMS end user point of view. I think the designers had some fun too!
If you need a
The latest digimag
19 January 2011
I'm really pleased that the latest edition of Challenger World magazine is now live. It's aimed at runners, swimmers, cyclists and triathletes who are subscribers to CW, and is sent to over 120,000 readers.
It's the second one I've edited for them and have worked again with an excellent designer, Damian Browning, on this digital format.
The crafty comma
14 December 2010
The local pub has a sign outside which says ‘Open as usual’. Which is all perfectly sensible (as long as you know their usual hours) but tempts the grammarfiti artist in me to add a crafty comma and change it into a sigh of world weariness; ‘Open, as usual’.
It shows the power of the comma to change meaning.
3 December 2010
I read a great article recently by the contemporary British author Maggie O’Farrell.
In it, she described one of the main lessons she learnt from her university poetry tutor Michael Donaghy: “He taught me never to throw away a first draft, that every word must pull its weight, that good things come in threes, never to use abstracts,
A nice, new notebook
19 November 2010
Funny how new technology often borrows words from days of yore so that people understand what the hell they’re supposed to do with it.
Computing is an obvious example, what with folders, inboxes and desktops.
To that end, I’m loving the Black ‘n’ Red notebooks ad campaign, which plays on the use of the word ‘notebook’ for
4 November 2010
They’ve put up one of those temporary signs on my road that’s supposed to flash up the speed cars are travelling at. Instead it flashes 0.
It’s probably worse than useless, as who’s not going to try to get above the magic zero mph?
It reminds me of working on games packaging. Every game was risk assessed for
Somerset's artless arts cuts
28 September 2010
It's hard times for all. But cutting 100% of the arts budget, as Somerset County Council is planning to, is not the way to negotiate a crisis; if anything, the arts are more important in times of austerity than ever. See what David Shrigley thinks in this video about saving the arts:
24 August 2010
Times have been tough for, well, The Times recently - and the rest of the printed press.
So tough, in fact, that well-known futurist Ross Dawson is predicting the extinction of newspapers within the next 10 years in the UK and US.
So with circulation figures falling, how do the Fleet Street big boys
15 June 2010
I've done a fair bit of proofreading in my time, making sure my clients' final work goes out in all its grammatically-correct glory.
Yet I find that often the harshest proofreaders are on internet message boards where, rather than allow Joe Bloggs to have his rant before making a comment on it, people are delighted to point out the tiniest of
7 June 2010
Apparently there's a lot of tax refund scamming going on. Not that I'd ever believe it if someone told me I was actually getting a tax refund anyway... Be a Lert.
It's a ripper - Aussie slang for all occasions
20 April 2010
Strewth, these can come in handy sometimes. Make your feelings known, Aussie style!
Adidada - Does surrealism in ads work?
21 February 2010
Of course, brands have long gone for the impact ad to promote their products, but the trend seems to be to go for something utterly unrelated, preferably jammed full of supercelebs and hope the association rubs off.
Check out this new ad from Adidas which features such luminaries as David Beckham, Snoop Dogg and Noel
Freelancers waiting longer to get paid
27 January 2010
It's taking even longer for freelancers to get their cash, especially from big companies.
Not a huge surprise there, but there are definitely some companies you know will cough up and others who will make you wait, and wait, and wait...
What's the solution? Do you just not work for unreliable companies, or build in the extra time
What does your email address say about you?
22 January 2010
More than you think, according to this article in the Times. Do we all make pre-judgements about people based on their email address? Is it like having the best postcode?
It works well for me having my own website and linked email address - you ain't gonna forget it, are you?!