It was my recent trip to the annual PCN conference that got me thinking. I can’t recall any other time when I’ve seen so many copywriters in one place. So, what’s the collective noun for a group of copywriters?
I love a good collective noun. As writers, I bet we all have some we like. I’m a fan of the unkindness of ravens, the charm of finches, the bask of crocodiles and (my husband’s favourite) the impatience of wives.
But copywriters? What in the world do you call us when we all get together?
I spent a bit of time noodling with the idea of a procrastination of copywriters, but after several cups of tea and twenty minutes on Twitter I got on with it, and asked a few of my peers for their suggestions.
Apparently, we don’t play well with others
Of course, I hit a brick wall straight away: “What do you mean, a group of copywriters? Don’t we all sit in splendid isolation with our laptops?” asked once freelancer I know. I suppose ‘a lonely’ of copywriters doesn’t show us in the best light. And surely, that’s not the case for most of us. We’re people people. We multi-task. We enjoy collaboration and teamwork. There’s nothing better than when we’ve got that designer/copywriter creative vibe going, right?
Well, not so much if you believe some of the other suggestions I got. How about a meddle, a disagreement, a strop or even (when confronted with changes to the brief or ill-informed feedback) a fury. I think the person who suggested a clutch, a siege and a rabble had recently had a very bad meeting.
One senior client director suggested a coven, because, get this, “you weave magic with words, obvs.” Obvs indeed. Are we really such a cantankerous old bunch? I’m fighting back with a dizzy of designers and an over-promise of account handlers. Joking. Kind of.
We know a rogue apostrophe when we see one
Other suggestions fell into a different category. These show us not as sulky, pouting prima donnas, but more as tweed-wearing, eyebrow-raising librarians. I can’t deny that every copywriter I’ve ever met does indeed have an inner Miss Marple. So how do you feel about a tut, a stet, a typo, a proof, an amend, a pedant or – I like this one – a semantic of copywriters?
There’s also my personal preference – a draft of copywriters. That sounds creative, yet professional. Not like a pandemonium, which was the suggestion from an account manager colleague. (Actually, she wrote “pandemoanium” and I’m not sure the spelling mistake was accidental). That one made me sigh. And that made me think of a sigh of copywriters. Especially if it’s a silent, despairing sigh.
Our art, craft and bodyparts
Many people seemed to get very caught up with the word colon. I won’t elaborate too much on that except to say that I thought the suggestion of a colon-y was very clever. Other bits of punctuation got a look-in too. I favour a bracket of copywriters.
While we’re on the subject of the technical bits and bobs of writing, see if you like the sound of an alliteration, a synonym, a paragraph, an ampersand or – best of all – a chapter! And there’s something delicious about the concept of a persuasion of copywriters. I could definitely go for that. But just in case we get too caught up in our own cleverness, let’s remember that some will always see us as a cliché. Or even a blurb.
We’re loud and proud
Other people tried the tactic of thinking about the details at the heart of our daily lives. So hands up if you like a keyboard of copywriters? Or a strapline? Or a word-count? Even a spellcheck?
Another freelancer friend of mine pointed out that we connect with people and convince them to do something. So he suggested an empathy, an understanding or an emotion. Fair enough, but aren’t they a little apologetic? I want something that sounds confident, proud and impressive. I’m thinking more along the lines of a headline, or an impact. Or, best of all, a genius of copywriters. Yes. Let’s vote for that one.
Okay, I’m getting carried away, I know. It’s the proposal of an irritation of copywriters that’s made me cross. I’ll just finish with a quickie from one of my favourite account managers. A cat of copywriters. Because we are, after all, the copy cats. And cool copy cats, at that.
Let’s hear your suggestions in the comments box.