The written word matters. But in the world of advertising and marketing, writing is a craft that these days doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. That’s why this year, as the Women in Marketing Awards
celebrate their tenth anniversary, they’ve introduced a dedicated copywriting craft. The move comes in a year when other major award shows have ditched writing craft categories.
The new category was devised after copywriting maven Vikki Ross was awarded an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Marketing’ at their awards last year – and WiM founder Ade Onilude was inspired to follow up with a proper focus on writing. “Ade and I have known each other for a couple of years now. She's a huge Copywriting champion and has supported my efforts to celebrate the craft and support the people behind it,” says Vikki. “After Women in Marketing awarded me for an Outstanding Contribution to Marketing at their awards last year, Ade contacted me to tell me she wanted to create a Copywriting category for the #copywritersunite community. I created the hashtag on Twitter to connect Copywriters around the world - now people use it to find jobs and support, and to share work and advice.”
Women in Marketing was launched in 2004 as Ade sought to mark International Women’s Day in the March of that year. The award shows was launched in 2010 as a ‘natural progression’.
“Right from inception, it had always been my vision to take a holistic approach towards marketing. Having come from a non-traditional background in marketing and being influenced by working in the luxury fashion sector shaped my thinking in doing things differently. This has been reflected by, the categories, judges and the celebration of the awards,” says Ade.
Over the past decade the show has celebrated a number of milestones. In 2016 the Women in Marketing CIC was born and in 2017, it began accepting its first international entries. They’ve started to include male ‘equality advocates’ among the judges to ensure that female talent isn’t seen as a siloed issue. Categories too, have continued to evolve.
Which brings us to the brand new copywriting category – the oldest advertising craft but one that 2020 has proven to be just as important as it ever has been. “While we're still all very much experiencing life in various states of lockdown, words are so, so, so important,” says Vikki. “Businesses are moving more of their operations online and communicating with consumers more on social media. All of these channels need a whole lot of words to make these things work. And guess what - you need a Copywriter to write those words.”
The move also shines an important light on examples of good copywriting, setting a benchmark and emphasising craft within the industry. “Everyone can write, but not everyone can write copy. If everyone thinks they can write copy, then the people – copywriters – who really can aren’t valued, and neither is the craft,” says Vikki.
Vikki goes on share her perspective on the current status quo. “Copywriters don't always get the respect they deserve, and Copywriting doesn't always get the attention it deserves. But words are everywhere so it's important to celebrate the good ones, and to show people who think they can write that Copywriters do it better. So many brands and agencies don't hire Copywriters and then contact me to ask why they're struggling with their Copy. I go in and discuss the team set-up and so often hear "We don't have a Copywriter - we usually just give it a go ourselves." That's why they're struggling - non Copywriters are giving Copy a go.”
2020 has been a difficult year for the marketing and advertising industries but Ade and her team decided that it is important to continue to elevate women in the industry and celebrate the hard work done in a year beset with obstacles.
“Despite the challenges this year has brought so far, we felt it was important to continue with the awards this year to highlight the work, Our awards are very personalized, hence in our anniversary year we wanted to add something different, to pay homage to past award winners. This has been reflected in our judging panel and the introduction of the copywriting award, in homage to Vikki,” explains Ade, before teasing, “There will be more surprises to come.”
And, ultimately, in a year when budgets are tight and marketers are facing a recession, Vikki and Ade hope that the new category will highlight a craft that can both save and make money for brands – when it’s done well and treated with respect.
“As an industry, we've gone from Copywriters having their name on an agency door and long copy ads winning loads of awards to Copywriters struggling for work because employees think anyone can do the job,” says Vikki. “I know budgets are tight - especially now - but why waste time and money giving Copy a go when you could get an expert to nail it for you - and their Copy will make you money, not waste it.”
Find out more about the Women in Marketing Awards here.