Della Femina Travisano ＆ Partners, Inc. President
chuukyuu Do you believe that a talented copywriter should build his own agency?
Mr.Femina That's the only thing in the world we have to do.
The job of the copywriter is almost to be rejected. Everything he does, there is a chance that he's going to be rejected.
If you're really talented, that could be extremely frustrating. So having your own agency is the first experience
you have being your own boss.
chuukyuu Suppose you're not the owner, then the pressure from above you might be quite strong...
chuukyuu ...you can't be creative while producing a good ad.
Mr.Femina Exactly. You can't feel as though this is mine, do or say anything I want.
One thing we try to do here is to make everyone feel that this is theirs.
And all what we do here is we never say "No".
We never tell somebody that they can't do something.
What we say is "It's up to you. If you feel strongly enough about this piece of copy that you want to run, then we'll run it.
But we would prefer you to think about it again.
We don't like it but it's up to you."
And when you leave everyone is the boss, then they get very responsible.
They suddenly decide that they're going to pay more attention to it.
They totally can't do it and can't hate you.
If you say, "You're the boss. It's up to you. You make the decision whether or not you want to do something".
Then the decision is easy.
chuukyuu By the way, when you say that one is a competent copywriter,
what do you mean by that? What kind of quality does he have to possess?
Mr.Femina He could only have one ad in a year and be a competent copywriter, if it's the right ad.
He has to be a salesman in print.
People try very hard to make copywriters into something that is mystical, different and beautiful.
All we are, if you want to use it to its closest point of view, are salesmen.
And we are the first people that the people get to see when they buy a product, instead of going to the store where a salesman comes out, a copywriter comes out of a magazine and tells you what you want to buy and why you should buy it. I used to sell door to door.
I don't know if they have door to door sales in Japan but...
chuukyuu They do.
Mr.Femina Oh, they do. I used to sell door to door and it's not unlike copy.
You knock on a door and a woman opens a door and you have ten seconds to say something important.
If you say something important in those ten seconds, she's going to open the door a little wider.
If you don't she's going to slam the door.
That's the headliner's task.
When you write at the top of the ad, the headline is just that.
Then when she arouses you to say some more, that's the copy that you write all the way to the door.
And when you show up at the door, it's very much like the artist.
If you show up well dressed, instead of dressing like a thief or a bum, she's going to open the door wider.
So that's our direction.
An artist makes the ad look well dressed.
chuukyuu Would you say that a talented copywriter is an inborn or a learned man shaped by training and education?
Mr.Femina Well, someone once said about John Kennedy, who went to school at Harvard, "I was a smart as John Kennedy when I was in Harvard.
And then we both got out of school, although I was a little smarter than he was, I stopped learning and he never stopped.
He just kept going. He learned every day."
And that's the way that a copywriter should go. It's not somebody who is born as a copywriter.
I believe everyone could be a copywriter.
They have to learn, they have to pay attention, they have to be bright but I don't think that there is anything mystical about that.
I don't think it's a special talent but I think it's just being able to sell.
I think anyone can sell something.
You can be a copywriter because if you want to sell your automobile, you tell your friend why he should buy the automobile and you explain it to him.
Now you become a salesman.
If you could convert that all into one page, then you could sell automobiles in print.
And so I think it's just learning and knowing more.