What do ’80s hits and today’s copywriters have in common?

80s hits: I love the 80sI’ve a confession: I loved the ’80s. The music, the fashion, the hair…

Well, OK, maybe not the hair! But even though that decade is now a dim and distant memory, I’m still an ’80s girl at heart.

Nostalgia FM

The other day I was introduced to a website that shows the No. 1 records in the month you passed your driving test (April 1983 in case you’re interested and want to do the maths).

When my personalised Driving Playlist of ’80s hits popped up I was chuffed to see several old favourites. Not only did they take me on a nostalgic trip down memory lane – you can click on the links to hear the tunes on Spotify – but they also gave me the idea for this somewhat random post.

So what exactly do copywriters of the modern era have in common with ’80s hits?

There are so many records to choose from that I’m going to focus on the ones topping the charts back in April 1983. Otherwise we could be here all day…

Let’s kick off with one of my all-time favourite ’80s hits: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club.

ChameleonWhether working in-house or as a freelancer, copywriters have to be chameleon-like in our approach to writing.

One minute we might be asked to produce an 800-word blog for a B2B client, the next to come up with a snappy tagline or eye-catching headline for a consumer product. Just like the colour-changing reptilians, we need to be adaptable, flexible and in synch with our surroundings – or, in our case, our audience.

Next up is Paul Young’s Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home).

Copywriters are a nomadic bunch. Armed with a laptop/tablet, smartphone and the ubiquitous WiFi connection we can work pretty much anywhere – and often do. I’m quite unusual in that I mostly work in solitude on my desktop PC at home, but I know many others who prefer to tap away in coffee shops or other public places.

Then there’s Spandau Ballet’s Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On).

The nature of our work means that copywriters often have to work to extremely tight deadlines, juggle several ‘urgent’ jobs at once and deal with tricky clients – all of which can be rather stressful at times. Which leads nicely on to…

… UB40’s Red Red Wine.

It’s widely acknowledged that writers of all genres are partial to the occasional tipple. Think Dylan Thomas, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. They took it to the extreme, but I very much doubt if I’m alone amongst my fellow copywriters in looking forward to wine o’clock at the end of a long day at the coalface – or should that be typeface? (But, for the record, I prefer white.)

Your turn

Why not check out which tunes were making sweet music when you became legal to drive. Whether it was in the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s, can you identify any correlations between the title of the hits and your job today?

Do share in the comments below, as I’d love to hear them. Meanwhile, I’m off to dig out my ra-ra skirt and leg warmers…

(Chameleon photo courtesy of africa via Freedigitialphotos.net)

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