Meet the chief dollopers #1: Tom Davies (he’s a writer, not a fighter)

Talking copywriting and rubbish riffs with Mr. T.

Tom Davies is a 7’3” Thumb Wrestling Master, with buns of steel. He also taught Madonna* how to dance. Or did he? Let’s find out in the first of three chats with our chief dollopers.

Howdy Tom. Hope you’ve had your Weetabix – here goes.

Q. What would be the scariest question I could kick off with?

A. How soon will it be before brands choose robots over writers?

Q. So, what’s your prediction, when will it happen?

A. Never. Ever. Great copy comes from a place of empathy. Something a twatbot will never experience. In your face, Metal Mickey.

Q. Explain Copywriting in the simplest way possible, so my tortoise can understand it.

A. Copywriting is the art of persuading a reader to move from A to B with clear, concise (and sometimes clever) words.

Q. What’s your favourite bit of writing ever?

A. I’m going through a bit of a horror phase at the moment, so I’d have to say the first chapter of Peter Benchley’s Jaws. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know the opening scene where the great white tosses a teen left to right like paper in a printer. Benchley’s dark and detailed description of this scene makes for a certified trip to the launderette. If you ask me the same question next week, it might be something more romantic.

Q. Why did you want to set up dollop?

A. I saw a gap and went for it. Having worked with SMEs for the past five years, I know they haven’t got the time to find a decent copywriter, designer, developer and all the rest, to get their brand into shape. Yes, they could use a standard design agency, but that comes with a cost that bats their budget into the car park. With dollop, I’ve done all the hard work for them by curating a pool (puddle) of freelancers who give them the best* talent at the best** price.

*Good, but not up ourselves **Amazing value, but not pound shop cheap.

Q. What’s your fantasy client and what kind of work would they ask you to do?

A. We love working with start-ups or established outfits who want to buff up their brand from top to toe. Design, copy, tone of voice, SEO, dev work – you name it, we’ll dollop it. If the client’s excited about their business, we can’t help getting excited too. If they’re not, there’s always coffee.

Q. What did you do before you were a Copywriter?

A. I had two strings to my bow – English Teacher and part-time rockstar (sorry to say, I failed at the latter).

Q. What advice would you give anyone transitioning to a creative career?

A. Get yourself a mentor. Someone who’s lived, breathed and bulldozed creative briefs since the time of the tape cassette. As generous as the creative industry might be sharing knowledge through posts, blogs and books, there’s nothing quite like having a voice of wordy wisdom in your corner. Go find one.

Q. Contemporary or historical, who’s your favourite creative person and what’s your favourite thing they’ve done.

A. I know I should mention one of the advertising greats, but I’m gonna say Paul McCartney (that bloke from The Beatles, Google it). If you ever find yourself at the foothills of a creative flump, give ‘Get Back’ a watch. It’s 468 minutes of non-HD footage showing you what raw creativity and a gallon of tea can achieve.

Q. What non-copywriting thing do you pour your energy into that inadvertently makes you a better writer?

A. Although I failed at being a rockstar, I still have the occasional strum in the sitting room. My daughter’s just started music lessons, so there’s always a kids-size guitar lying around the house. Last week, I was convinced I’d come up with a riff that would put The Darkness in their place, but my daughter thought otherwise. What does she know?!

Anyway, how does music make me a better writer? Well, apart from developing calluses on my left hand, it all comes back to creating something from nothing. Be it a logo, a slogan, a big beautiful brand strategy, or a riff (that my daughter laughs at).

Q. Bust one cliché that I might have in my head, about what you do as a Copywriter.

A. Copywriters are those expensive wordy sods who come in at the end of a creative project to fill the lorem ipsum gaps.

No, Sir. That’s not true. In the words of John Steinbeck: “Bringing writers in at the end of a creative process is like trying to put toothpaste in a tube”. Don’t do it.

Q. As a 7’3” man-mountain, did you have any particular issues when teaching Madonna* how to Mambo?

A. Nothing that stopped us getting ‘Into the groove’. (I’m truly sorry).

* Miss Ciccone’s legal team, please note. We refer here (of course), to Bolton’s one and only Queen of the Clog Dance and ‘Pie Eating Sensation’ – Madonna (Heel ‘n Toe) Postlethwaite, whom Tom coached to Gold at the 1949 Clitheroe International Pie and Clog Festival.

Tom is our Chief Copy Dolloper. If you’d like a natter about copywriting or any other creative challenge, give him a bell on: 01273 458568 or drop him a line at: tom@dollopcreative.co.uk – he doesn’t bite.

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