People often blame disruptive technologies for the decline of the advertising industry, and the media industry that relies on it. But the real problem, Michael Wolff writes in USA Today, is that ads in every medium have become less persuasive, and Wolff thinks he knows why: "There are no writers in advertising anymore. Johnny who can't write has gone into advertising." According to one media consultant, today's so-called copywriters avoid the written word at all costs, and their attempts at it tend to produce "scary, semi-literate gibberish."
Today's ad men seem convinced that all that matters are visuals, but great campaigns almost always revolve around text. "They tell a story, they make a case, they offer a big idea." Steve Jobs used to demand that anyone put on Apple's account be a solid writer. "Pictures are easy," he reasoned. "Words are hard." Wolff agrees, and so does USA Today. So at his urging they're holding a print ad competition, giving out $1 million worth of free ad pages to whoever can best fill them "with cleverness, wit, style, economy of words." Click for Wolff's full column.