Sunday, August 8, 2010

Twenty six.

Twenty six is the number of letters in the English language. And with those 26 tools, you can build anything you want. OK, you might need some commas, fullstops and a few apostrophe's...NO not there! Take that apostrophe out. Thank you.

Let's get into flashback mode. My very first paid piece of writing work was around this very theme. It was my first assignment working in an advertising agency, in Auckland NZ. Me and my freshly-minted creative partner (him plucked from the finance department, and I having just walked in the door asking for a job) had been taken aside by the Creative Director and assigned our first brief. It was for one of our big clients, a nationwide book/stationery retailer who, as a sponsor, had space on the front page of a special newspaper supplement highlighting school students and writing.

At the time, it never really occurred to me the irony of the assignment. Indeed, my first writing job was to write something that would inspire people to write. Considering the ads that would follow over the years, it could have easily been a far less idealistic ad for a rental car or garden centre, but it's nice that it wasn't.

Anyway, long story short. We thought about the brief. We played some pool. We listened to some music. We scribbled down some ideas. We drank free drinks from the agency fridge. We sat on beanbags. And we eventually thrashed out a by-no-means-perfect solution to the brief. It explained that with just 26 letters, you have all the tools you need to be brilliant, to create great things, and make change in the world. You just need to put them in the right order.

I must find that ad.