I am pleased to introduce copywriting into the range of services I provide. Taking advantage of what I've learnt from a history in sales, the past several months have seen me writing long and short copy for a variety of clients bringing their products and services to very different markets.
Here are a few examples of articles and website content I've written to give you a taste of what I can provide for very different readers.
The social media feedback has been really positive so far. I look forward to getting into this area in a big way in the coming weeks and months, with new clients ranging from extreme sporting goods retailers to architects. I'll be sure to keep you posted.
Contact me today for a no obligation chat on what I can bring to your business.
August 1st, 2013
One For The Pro Smackers
My daughter came home from preschool one day in a melancholy mood. It took a long while, we’re talking a night and a day here, but eventually she told her Mum that she was sad because a boy had told her it’s ok for adults to hit kids if they were naughty. Her trust in our relationship had been compromised. We sat her down and promised that she would never, under any circumstances, be hit by us. And she never has.
It disturbs me greatly to think that in this modern day, with access to infinite information, parents simply accept striking a little kid as the best way to teach them right from wrong. Think about this: Striking a little kid!
How do you teach them that striking people is wrong? “By striking them.” Can you hear the absurdity? And don’t tell me a little tap is different to a big smack – too subjective and the object of the exercise is still to hurt your child.
I’ve recently taken an interest in the Facebook Page ‘Ban the Physical Punishment of Children in Australia’. There’s been a considerable amount of hubbub about a proposed law to ban parents smacking kids in Australia. I’m pretty surprised at the opposition but more so at the arguments. I wanted to believe that it was the opinion of the knuckle dragging, mouth-breathing minority. Alas, this is not the case. It seems to be the consensus of most Australian parents.
“My parents smacked me and it never did me any harm.”
How do you know? You might be psychologically broken and don’t even know it. It happens, you know. When I was a lad, I got a hiding for damaging a piece of furniture (extenuating circumstances, I might add). I recall the ‘crime’ clearly but have absolutely no memory of the punishment. The only reason I know about it is because it’s been brought up at parties. Where is the memory? What did I do with it? It’s not like I lost it under the couch. Can anyone say ‘repressed’?
Your folks likely hit you because they didn’t know any better. Let’s be clear here – I do not blame my parents for a single action. They did the best they could with what was at their disposal, and a fine job if I do say so myself. But crikey! Just look at what we have access to now. The Internet is for more than memes of grumpy cats, you know! There has been a heck of a lot of research gone into this subject (I won’t list the resources here, they’re easy enough to find), and the evidence for some sort of psychological impact is considerable.
Oh, and also, you think it’s ok to hit little kids! Surely that raises an alarm bell or two.
“This is a law that can’t be policed.”
Oh, this is a dilly! Are you saying that you wouldn’t obey laws if there were no consequences? Really? Would you steal, assault, kill, rape if there were no chance of incarceration? Hmm… I suppose you are teaching your kids that going against your wishes will result in an assault on their person, so …
I know I’m some sort of wacko, but I’ve been trying to teach my daughter to do the right thing because… well… because it’s the right thing to do, not because she will be physically harmed otherwise. I will never give her reason to fear me, not ever.
“It’s impossible to reason with a toddler.”
Wrong! Difficult, sure. Impossible, of course not. It’s one of your jobs as a parent to teach your child reason. You can reason with a dog, and most kids are brighter than dogs, right?
Wait. You hit dogs too, don’t you?
So, you pro smackers, I’m simply asking you to dare question convention. It hasn’t been easy for us – parenting isn’t. We’ve done a hell of a lot of reading and a fair amount of trial and error, but we’ve reached a place where we don’t even need a naughty corner much less corporal punishment. My little one is a good kid. Sure, she gets frustrated, angry and, on the extremely rare occasion, downright defiant. Goodness knows we have our altercations, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, we are able to talk things through and reach a happy compromise.
Isn’t that what reasonable people do?
January 4th, 2013
A Man’s View – Boobs, Bums A Nip And Tuck! Who’s had what done where?
Fabulous boobs and bums! Magazine covers are festooned with them. Miniscule bikinis and gowns of meticulously placed fabric perched precariously over fabulous boobs and bums. You’d think this would be enough to get the average celeb watcher to hand over their $4.50 but no! Speculation over whether or not said fabulous boobs and/or bums are natural – that’s what sells magazines. And this green-eyed conjecture is the ultimate compliment to a cosmetic surgeon.
So whose boobs and bums … and noses and lips, while we’re on the subject, are the subject of this green-eyed conjecture? Here are a few.
Nicole’s face: Anyone remember what Nicole Kidman looked like in BMX Bandits? Anyone remember BMX Bandits? Anyway, poker-faced Nicole of 2012 looks a whole lot more glamorous than round-faced, girl-next-door, Lil-Orphan-Annie-do sporting Nicole of the early nineties.
Scarlett’s nose: Now there’s a pretty nose. Perfectly shaped and in proportion to her face. Is it the nose she was born with? There are plenty who say no but she’s not saying one way t’other.
Cameron’s boobs: If Cameron did have her boobs done, she certainly didn’t let it go to her head (or her chest). She looks amazing – fit, firm and in proportion.
Hilary’s boobs: Hilary Duff denies surgery citing a growth spurt. That’s some growth spurt! They do look all natural to me so if they are artificial, my hat’s off to the surgeon.
Kate’s bum: As a mother of two you could forgive Kate Hudson’s back porch for dropping a little but recent photos would indicate the exact opposite. As it seems unlikely that the photos were taken in zero gravity, she’s either found the butt-lifting workout from Heaven or there’s a reasonable chance she’s had help.
At the end of the day, who really cares? I can’t imagine the sort of pressure being constantly under public scrutiny puts on a person and the fact is that these stars look amazing. I like success stories and if cosmetic surgery helped them get to where they are then more power to them.
If you’ve even been considering cosmetic procedures but are concerned about results that scream, “Cosmetic surgery here!” contact our staff at The Cosmetic Institute for a friendly consultation. We’re qualified, talented and approachable and our success stories will impress you.
November 19th, 2012
Blepharoplasty: A Man’s View
When I look up to the left or right, I actually have to move my head to see past my eyelids, which have started to droop to the extent of encroaching on my vision, and I’m only 42! I don’t remember the day they first appeared but it’s a rare day now that I don’t notice them. One thing is for certain; as the years roll on, it’s only going to get worse. Ok, so my vision is impaired, surely this is a valid reason to consider cosmetic action? Studying my reflection, I start to think about the baggage under my eyes as well. There isn’t a medical condition or a safety issue here, but while you’ve got the scalpel out…
Blepharoplasty is the surgical alteration or removal of excess skin and fat around the eyes. In the hands of a skilled surgeon, the incisions are made in the existing creases of the face rendering scars invisible. It is relatively risk free and common procedure but still many men balk at the concept – perhaps because it falls under the label of plastic surgery. They feel that this is the domain of women, bored housewives with too much time and money.
There is also the worry (most likely the first one) that smoothing out the ridges will finish with an effeminate look subjecting them to ridicule. If this is your concern, I would prompt you to look at any celebrity magazine or site featuring a recent photo of Clint Eastwood. Mr. Eastwood’s steely gaze through a menacing squint has been his trademark for decades. But now, for a man in his seventies, he seems to be amazingly wide eyed with no sign of eye baggage. Do you want to tell Dirty Harry that he looks effeminate?
Jokes aside, Blepharoplasty can take years off your appearance, revitalizing the eye area and instill a new confidence but like all procedures of this nature, it shouldn’t be entered into without consulting professionals qualified in handing out the very best advice. Blepharoplasty is performed in our state of the art facilities at The Cosmetic Institute by trained cosmetic and plastic surgeons. To learn more about this procedure, or if you are a candidate for eyelid surgery please give us a call on 1300 741 852.
January 11th, 2013
Did Sucharita Mulpuru and Forrester Miss the Mark:
Social Media & Sales
Forrester’s report on social marketing falling hopelessly short of ‘traditional’ marketing techniques translating to purchases has left many retailers wondering why they have been bothering at all with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin et al to promote holiday sales. The simple answer? Forrester got it wrong.
Let’s agree on one salient point: Accurately measuring hits successfully converting to purchases through social media is problematic at best. Google Analytics are great, but they are one-dimensional. There’s more to an engaged relationship than a single click.
Effective use of social media platforms for acquisition on an ongoing basis will have dynamic and flourishing databases.
On the big sale day, the retailer’s list of connected people will be in place ready to receive the offer. This existing awareness of a brand instilled by social media may lead shoppers directly to a retailer’s site at sale time. These hits would have appeared in Sucharita Mulpuru’s report as organic or direct. Multiple visits to a site would have also had an effect on Mulpuru’s results. Although there is little doubt that email blasts bring attention to that big holiday sale, there is also the possibility of the brand being cheapened in the process. Attention only being raised in a brand during sale time may compromise customer retention. Skilful utilization of Facebook and Twitter has the ability to transform each of these channels into virtual customer service centres from where a high level of advocacy is established as well as broadening awareness of a brand through little or no effort or cost to the retailer. It is our experience as social marketers that fans buy when fans want to, not when we choose to market to them. We can give them a nudge, but if it ain’t payday the offer is irrelevant and they can LIKE LIKE LIKE until the cows come home but the cash register bell is not ringing.
While it’s true that a fan page for its own sake is unlikely to yield significant results, a well thought out and executed strategy by good social marketers who understand it’s about the right offer, to the right audience at the right time will undoubtedly be able to measure success not only from the sale, but in a steady, long term ROI.
In a report by Social Media Examiner written a year after Forrester’s, it was indicated that forty times the percentage of marketers reported increased sales and 85% indicated improved exposure with a minimal time investment. Linkedin announced 200 million members this week, approximately the same amount of users who joined Facebook in the past year to take it to a staggering one in nine people on the planet, and 56% of those said they are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan.
That might not be good enough for Forrester, but engaging and maintaining an intimate dialogue with consumers is working for us and our customers like Charlie Brown, Stalkthis.com, Bar100, Guylian Cafes, Caffe Ritazza, The Cosmetic Institute, and others.
What are your thoughts? Do we buy from whom we like? Does it prompt us to buy more?
Some Taxi Rides in Shows That Aren’t About Taxi Rides
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
“I whistled for a cab and when it came near
The license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror
If anything I could say that this cab was rare
But I thought 'Nah, forget it' - 'Yo, Homes to Bel Air'
Never more prophetic words have been uttered in TV. Not just an intro to a show about an annoying, fast-talking git in foolish clothing sporting a flat top finding a stroke of good fortune; this cab ride marked Will Smith’s first steps into the public eye and über-stardom. Since then any film starring Smith has consistently been a licence to print money if you disregard Wild, Wild West (can you believe he turned down The Matrix to make this?) and After Earth with his offspring, Jaden. Is he annoying? Sure. Does he still wear foolish clothing? Frequently. Is the flat top gone? Well there’s something for you.
“I pulled up to the house about 7 or 8
And I yelled to the cabbie 'Yo Homes smell ya later'
I looked at my kingdom
I was finally there
To sit on my throne as the Prince of Bel Air”
In a chapter entitled The Gold Watch, Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) has just killed a man to death in a boxing match he was supposed to throw and is now on the run from gangster, Marcellus Wallace. Wallace gives the order to put an African American in a noodle dish to shoot Butch in the bottom should he turn up in Indochina (or something) while Butch makes his escape in a cab. The driver is Esmerelda Villalobos who has a weirdo obsession with knowing what it feels like to kill a man with one’s bare hands. In true Tarantino style, the conversation goes on for an hour and a half and achieves nothing. Butch ends his ride with the increasingly annoying, husky-voiced Esmerelda and gets into a four and a quarter hour conversation about potbellies and oral pleasure with his mind-bogglingly irritating girlfriend, Fabienne. Given the choice, I’d have stayed in the cab.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Ferris Bueller lives in a universe where all adults are utter boneheads. Believing their arrogant, smart-alec son is a ray of sunshine sent to Earth by the angels from Heaven, they are easily duped into giving him the day off from school to recover from a fake malady. One of the best scenes to demonstrate the idiocy of Ferris’ parents takes place in a cab stopped at lights. Ferris, his babe girlfriend, Sloane (seriously?) and his morbidly depressed pal, Cameron are in a cab when Ferris’ dopey Dad pulls alongside in another. Fearing discovery, Sloane (I’m still having trouble getting past that name) decides the best course of action is to act like a promiscuous harlot and flirt with Ferris’ old man. Either Ferris had kept that relationship under wraps and Dad didn’t recognize his son’s girlfriend or, more disturbingly, he did recognize Sloane and … wait! I don’t even want to think about what he was hoping would happen next.
The Fifth Element
Picture the scene – just another day in your flying yellow taxicab dodging all the other flying vehicles when a beautiful redhead in nothing but a thermal bandage bikini and a smile crashes through your roof. An innocent enough encounter, you might think, could happen to anyone, and you’d be right – but the redhead in question is Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat, Supreme Being, and the men from government want her bad. Now there’s something to write home about. The Fifth Element is the movie that gave Milla Jovivich a huge break (largely because she was boinking the director) and gave licence to an endless stream of morons holding up any bloody card close at hand and saying, “Leeloo Dallas Multipass. Mul-ti-pass.” I hate those guys almost as much as the idiots who couldn’t refrain from, “Yeah, Baby!”