Captain Hook, Copywriter

Captain Hook, Copywriter

OK, so he slid into advertising and copywriting through a side door; we still wanted to get to the bottom of Ronnie Brooks. But he said we had to get to know each other first.

 BFC:   OK, who said you could write?

RB:   I never asked. I didn’t come up through the advertising business. I started as a songwriter, with cuts by Kid Rock, Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Bob Welch (former Fleetwood Mac) and a few less celebrated artists. I accidentally tripped into the jingle business in the 80s, and realized there was an art to writing little songs for ads. I was getting a chance to work on some major brands—I had three spots on the Super Bowl one year —and I was working with some very clever copywriters [EDITORS NOTE: no doubt he mostly means me] who impacted my creative style. When I started writing Web content and magazine articles, I was pleased to see how the same disciplines applied.

BFC: What are these disciplines of which you speak?

RB: It all starts with a good hook. That’s such a mantra in the song world, but I always go back to it, whatever I’m writing. You have to set up the point you’re trying to convey—whether it’s an emotion, an experience, a product or a service—and then everything you say has to lead back to it in a comfortable, conversational tone. Duh…

BFC: A lot of your copywriting experience has been for military clients (Army National Guard, the Semper Fi Fund). Wasn’t that a little limiting?

RB:   I had to keep a lid on the humor and double entendre I like in ad copy, but it’s still about communicating. It’s not hard to make military service sound exciting to a teenager, especially if you talk about it in their terms.

Sometimes you have to help the client quit talking about himself and instead, dialogue with the audience. To me, effective writing is like going to church, having a two-minute sermon and moving straight to the announcements. Why rehash the message when you can start helping people plug in?

BFC:   What makes an effective storyteller?

RB:   In my case, it’s a guy who can drop names and associate his past with colorful people like Dolly Parton, Chuck Berry and the Budweiser Frogs (they’re people to me). Hell, anybody can write copy.


Expertise:  copywriting, content creation, web copy, website copywriting, songwriting, concepting
Categories: consumer products, entertainment, music, military, television


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