Promoting author Paul Burke pays tribute to the late Richard Foster, a real grasp of the copywriting craft who may slip into any type.
The primary line of copy is at all times the toughest.
Richard Foster advised me that.
He additionally advised me this: you’ll know you’ve received your first line of copy if the second involves you nearly instantly.
Then the third, then the fourth. By which era you must have the reader engaged.
Nonetheless with me? Good. Then he was proper. After all he was.
Richard Foster died on 8 February aged 70 and our business misplaced one of many biggest writers it would ever produce. Different names from his period – David Abbott, Tim Delaney, Dave Trott – could also be extra well-known however among the many copywriting cognoscenti, no identify is extra revered.
Not like them, Richard by no means ran a artistic division, not to mention an company. As an alternative he selected to jot down. He started his profession as a teenage prodigy and retired from it, a whole bunch of awards later, by no means eager to be something extra – or ought to I say something lower than a copywriter.
He spent the final 25 years of his working life at AMV the place, with John Horton, he fashioned maybe essentially the most profitable and enduring artistic partnership within the historical past of promoting. And it was at AMV, the place I arrived within the despatch division, three days after leaving faculty, that I first encountered him.
I quickly labored out that at some point, I wished to do what he did. Specifically, have lengthy hair, look cool in cowboy boots, play blues guitar, drive a Porsche 911 and win a D&AD Black Pencil earlier than I used to be thirty. For sure, all these ambitions stay unfulfilled however Richard was variety sufficient to no less than level me within the path of that final one.
He and John had been internet hosting a D&AD night at AMV. This concerned promoting college students, having been set a quick, coming in to point out and focus on their work. Richard prompt that I come alongside too though I hadn’t had the temporary or ever written an advert in my life.
“Doesn’t matter”, he stated, “Simply sit on the again and don’t say something.”
On the finish, as all of them filed out with the temporary for the next week’s session at Saatchi’s, Richard referred to as out to me. “Excuse me”, he stated, “You’ve forgotten your temporary”. As he held it out to me, I realised that he was holding out the prospect to cease wrapping parcels and begin writing adverts.
And to at the present time, I need to write adverts like Richard Foster.
His brilliance lay in his versatility. Like an actor who can slip into any position, Richard may slip into any type, altering his tone completely to swimsuit a broad range of merchandise and folks. And as ex-AMV copywriter Charlotte Adorjan identified on Instagram, he was notably good at writing for ladies.
He had no real interest in company energy or empty, vainglorious titles. Like the very best folks invariably are, he was all in regards to the work. And his was ok to be featured in 29 D&AD annuals.
So isn’t this one of the simplest ways for us all to recollect him? With a mini-exhibition of his work.
When you recognize tremendous writing, learn each phrase. Although particularly, the Sainsbury’s olive advert, adopted by his piece for the D&AD Copy Guide, which explains how he wrote it.
I couldn’t provide you with a greater demonstration of the craft of copywriting.
However then, I’m not Richard Foster.
And nobody else ever shall be.
— to www.thedrum.com