Hard-working words don’t write themselves
Greetings. I’m a freelance creative copywriter and content creator based in Liverpool with over two decades’ experience in advertising, marketing, video games, journalism, arts and culture. I’m a dab hand with nouns, verbs, adjectives and the rest of their syntactical brethren, and I’ve helped a huge range of brands, businesses and organisations to communicate more effectively.
Here are a few examples.
Toyota Express Service
By completing a full service in just 60 minutes, Toyota promised to release its customers from tiresome hours spent without a car. My campaign concept reassured drivers that while they wouldn’t miss out on Toyota expertise, they could wave goodbye to service-day raindrops falling on their miserable car-free heads.
Wipeout for PlayStation
Wipeout was the anti-gravity racing game that won the console crown for PlayStation across Europe, and as creative writer for Sony Psygnosis, I devised its living, breathing, gurning sci-fi universe. From the Nevada desert to a PlayStation near you, it turned science fiction into head-spinning historical fact.
When it comes to shouting about its cultural riches, Liverpool has rarely been backwards in coming forwards. But post-pandemic, the city region wanted to go a step further, uniting 40-plus venues in one giant “We’re back!” campaign – and they asked me to give them their voice. Freedom of the City must surely follow…?
From the Gold Rush glory of Paint Your Wagon to the transgressive terror of A Clockwork Orange, the Liverpool Everyman Theatre’s 2018 season was a varied affair. I created the full season’s marketing copy and have since reprised my starring copywriting role on more in-house shows at this famous venue.
With a huge range of premium bathroom products in their catalogue, Tissino asked for product copy that would make a splash. It was a brief that could send lesser copywriters plumb crazy, but I was equal to the task. Finding the poetry in a thermostatic shower valve isn’t easy, but my copy was scalding hot.
I worked with Motorola for well over ten years producing ads, sales literature, print, digital… you name it, I splattered words onto it. Take Moto Magazine for instance, as pictured above. This was an info-packed mag for phone dealers designed to help them keep their phone-friendly ears close to the ground.
When Aegean Airlines first flew into the UK, they wanted to tell our sun-dodging nation all about their superlative levels of service. With a vapour trail of in-flight features, my concept told its tale across a deep blue double-page spread: These aren’t added extras it said; this is Greek hospitality in the sky.
A sculpture show might seem a familiar concept, but when the UK’s Human exhibited at Calm & Punk in Tokyo, they did things differently. They sent the artefacts as digital files to be 3D printed in situ, and as a fan of their work, I was honoured to add a time-travelling twist with a piece of sci-fi fiction for the catalogue.
Liverpool’s annual visitors’ brochure is the big one – the whopping great booklet that rounds up a full season of Mersey-flavoured events, attractions and ideas for brilliant stuff to do. As a copywriter who knows his Everyman Theatre from his Everyman Cinema, was I made up to get this gig? Is right lad!
Marlan Maritime Technologies
Writing for the web
As a Liverpool-based copywriter, it’s a pleasure to help local companies make their mark. Marlan Maritime Technologies create systems that monitor vessel traffic and tidal conditions in maritime environments all over the world, and it’s my words that carry their globe-straddling message over land and sea.
When a 1960s office block was turned into a premier Manchester business address, I gave it a suitably aspirational name and helped create a beautiful brochure to match. Conceived as a journey from ground floor to penthouse, it combined estate agent’s facts and figures with copy that revelled in the poetic.
Martin Dust’s photographic tribute to the grim, grey charms of his home city is a beautiful book – a love letter to concrete. I was chuffed to bits when he asked me to write the foreword, giving me free rein to riff on my own Sheffield memories – a thousand words of steel-framed prose about the city I grew up in.
Celestia for Redrow
Gazing at the vast Cardiff Bay skies is a favourite pastime at this luxurious waterside apartment development, hence the name I gave it – Celestia. With residential blocks named after heavenly bodies and a constellation of branded campaign materials, this Redrow development proved to be a star turn rather than a black hole.
Bido Lito magazine
As a big-hitting cultural city Liverpool’s rich musical past needs no introduction, but when it comes to documenting its present day scene, Bido Lito excels at reporting every thump, bang and clunk. It’s always a source of pride when one of my features appears in its rosy pink pages.
When you’re famous for delivering flowers to the doorstep, some days are more important than others. My campaign for Interflora hinged on getting Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas just right: smiling faces, exquisite bouquets and headlines worthy of Mills & Boon. And the results? Blooming great.
Ask a few writers and artists to create artefacts for a limited edition box, and you never know quite what you’re going to get. That’s exactly why Stuplex is so special, and why I love contributing to this intriguing project. Handmade and highly collectible, Stuplex is affordable art for aspiring Guggenheims.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns
The Llechwedd Slate Caverns in North Wales have been telling the story of Welsh slate mining since 1972. However, when they invested in new audio-visual technology for the 2016 season, I wrote them a brand new script that brought the Victorian miners coughing and wheezing to life.
Writing for the web
The handful of high-and-mighty cats I’ve owned didn’t prepare me for writing the immense Vets4Pets website. Instead, I relied on research, collaboration and a good grasp of conversational writing styles to keep pet owners topped up with invaluable advice about their beloved animals.
Young people get lots of career advice, but encouragement to start their own business is less common. Mint magazine was devised to get them thinking about self-employment; entirely written by me, it oozed pick-up-ability and spoke to dem yoot in their own voice without once using the word “innit”.
Toyota Tyre Programme
My concept for the Toyota Tyre Programme urged drivers to think about the role of those four crucial rubber doughnuts. As the headline says, Everything rests on them. I also wrote all the supporting literature, from brochures to leaflets to key fobs – a full suite of items that were… wait for it… rolled out across Europe…
Writing for the web
I’ve written plenty of websites over the years, but none quite like the digital behemoth that was the Wipeout Fusion game site for Sony. Dense with detail, it purported to be the official website of the 2160 anti-gravity racing season – an entire gaming universe scooped out of my fevered imagination.
The Curfew Tower
In 2012, I was artist-in-residence at the Curfew Tower in County Antrim, a project masterminded by the pop/art maverick Bill Drummond. I produced a spoken word audio cassette, performed alongside the band Clinic, and fulfilled 99% of my teen dreams by being preserved for posterity on vinyl.
Launched by former Times journalist Helen Nugent in 2013, Northern Soul is one of the North of England’s leading culture webzines. As the Liverpool correspondent, I contribute reviews, features and other articles that provide a flat-vowelled counterblast to the shandy-drinking tendencies of other arts outlets.
Lyceum Theatre Book
Writing and editing
The Sheffield Lyceum Theatre is one of the great Victorian playhouses, and as part of a huge renovation programme, I was commissioned to research, write and co-edit its official history book. After years of semi-dereliction – of the theatre I mean, not me – it was a thrill to help bring the old luvvie back to life.
Record and Play
When the DJ and journalist Bill Brewster invited me to write about a series of themed playlists for his DJ History website, I couldn’t help but conceive them as old-fashioned mixtapes in the analogue tradition. They went down well, so I published them as a book. Made of paper. Like I said, strictly old-skool.
My short play The Brick Becomes a Celebrity, performed at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool in 2014, turned an everyday house brick into a true star of the stage. The play was conceived, written, rehearsed and performed within two hectic weeks, while the brick itself was last seen heading for Broadway.
Central Processing Unit
A well-told narrative can really bring a brand to life. Central Processing Unit is a record label that wanted a unique backstory – a tale that would help it build a conceptual identity of its own. I delivered a sci-fi take on a dreamless world, with my words appearing as intriguing prose for sonic explorers to discover.
This is just a small selection of work salvaged from my 20-plus years as a copywriter, scriptwriter, feature writer and artist.
While every writer can list the things they’re good at – and I can turn my hand to conceptual copy, editorial, technical writing, script development, writing for digital media and much more – over the years I’ve found that distinctive creative voices are harder to come by. Yet it’s voices like these – heck, like mine – that turn a technical facility with words into powerful writing no matter what the context.
If your brand, business or other creative project could benefit from my distinctive voice, please get in touch. After all, now you’ve heard mine… isn’t it time I heard yours?
The Brick Becomes a Celebrity photograph © Jess Imrie
Llechwedd Slate Caverns photograph © Anthony Roberts