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A masterclass in copy

1 min, 57 sec read
12:03 PM | 31 October 2013
by Jim Compton-hall
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What do paperclips, Charles Dickens and "fuck" have in common?  They made up our day at A Thousand Monkeys copywriting masterclass.

Richard Spencer, the master copywriter in charge of the class, is a communications veteran having worked for the likes of JWT and Young & Rubicam across brands such as Mercedes, Kellogg's and Virgin.


What's covered in this course?

Everything. Well near enough anyway. Initially I assumed that one day wouldn't be long enough to competently cover all that much in the world of copy but I was more wrong than an immigration article in the Daily Mail. The course was comprehensive and tailored. And there were great examples of copy littered throughout (some of which are included in this article.

From craplines to straplines

This is a cool activity that got our brains whirring. 10 different types of tagline (rhyming taglines, neologism, adapting a well known phrase, alliteration, etc) and a minute, for each type, to think of as many as possible for a certain product (we had Reggae Reggae Sauce). Great fun in a group, very useful by yourself and a good way to get your creative juices flowing.


Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme

Rhthym, rhyme, sentence length, readbility, jargon, rain being both spitting and pouring, saying it shorter, write like you talk, etc were all discussed on the day. One very useful rhythmic element is figures of speech. What do these include? Puzzle/solution, lists of three and contrasts (awkwardly forcing them all into one paragraph was not on the agenda).

Should I take this course?

For anyone working with words, training courses like this can be pretty important. The knowledge you gain here will help you be of more value to your employer and also allow you to command higher salaries in the long-term.

If you're employed, have a word with your boss and get them to pay your way for this course. If you're a freelance writer, go for it, it's worth your money. And students, if you're serious about copy, you should seriously consider this course. But this is not an intro to copywriting. There are other places to start (E.g. books by Sullivan, Maslin, Horberry, etc).

The courses currently run in London, Edinburgh and Bournemouth. Prices vary but you can grab all the info you need over at A Thousand Monkeys.


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