Copywriters: an endangered species? Language is power

The way the sun silhouettes a cloud while it hovers above Venice, New York City, Berlin or Johannesburg will be different every time. Different because of where you see it from, how you feel while you are there and who you feel that feeling with. Different because of what it took to get you there, the music you heard, the food you ate – and who you got to show your pictures to when you end up back at that place you call home.

Travel advertising should work differently. Of course, advertisers can show you crystal-blue waters, deserted beaches, illuminescent sunsets-or-rises, and views from the tops of places you thought only God could see; but that gets tired, doesn’t it? How many times can you look at those and honestly be driven to convert browsing to buying and want to pledge a month’s salary to getting on a plane, train or bus and make your way to destinations you have never ever seen before?

It’s always enticing – but it doesn’t always spark a connection. Advertisers have to be smarter than that and appeal to different likes and connections in each of us. I for one am an ardent fan of music and movies, and because of that I appreciate the sentiment behind what Álvaro Rodrigues, Luis Salvestroni, Ivan Loos and Ricardo Franco at Agência3, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil did for the Shangri-lá Travel Agency: they told a story. No pretty pictures. No prices. No (unrealistic) muscle clad, 0% fat bodies, walking paired footprints across a beach you have never seen before… Instead, they prompt the viewer’s own theatre of the mind with copy alone and let you set the scene for the travel experience you hope you can have.

As a Copywriter, I know that the battle for words on a page is being lost. With Twitter and the impact of social media, we want to read less, see more and absorb messages instantly. Marketers and communicators are hoping to instil a sense of understanding within seconds, to billions of people, with a picture – and quickly. The guys at Agência3, Rio de Janeiro took a bold step and volunteered this intellectual offering to an audience they obviously hoped would still read and interpret with their own imagination. To me, it works! Whoever we are and whatever we do, we cannot discard the power of words and what they are able to instigate.

Without that first skill you are taught at a school-going age – things are pretty hopeless? Language is power. And for a travel ad, this is strong enough to entice your sense of exploration – even if it only resonates with a cultured few. Movies and music take you places and the titles of both are enough to ignite memories and imagination in even the hardest of hearts.

Travel is inspiring. Language is just as.

Hope you read this far and am glad if you did.

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