Shephali Bhatt
Jan 17, 2013

'Long copy print isn't right for a whole lot of business problems'

Campaign India caught up with Longhand 2.0 jury president Luke Sullivan, for whom long copy ads are admittedly ‘first love’.

'Long copy print isn't right for a whole lot of business problems'

Luke Sullivan is currently the chair of advertising at Savannah College of Art & Design. He has spent more than three decades in advertising across independent agencies like GSD & M (now part of Omnicom Group), Fallon, The Martin Agency (now part of IPG) and WestWayne (renamed 22squared). Sullivan is jury president for Longhand 2.0, entries for which opened on 15 January 2013.

In an e-mail interview with Campaign India, Sullivan opens up on the relevance of long copy in today's business environment.

Do you believe long copy writing has perpetually faded and therefore needs to be revived?

It's not that it's a dying form. It's just that long copy print isn't right for a whole lot of business problems. I'd say less than a hundredth of a percent of the clients I see out there would benefit from long copy print. It just isn't right for so many things. But those that it is right for? Oh, what it does to the hearts of old hacks such as myself!

So, who is it right for, then?

I think long-copy print appeals to people who are writers and readers, including the writers and readers within an agency as well as the writers and readers in the market. We all love the look of a long copy ad and we've been known to run our fingers lovingly down the columns of type the same way I do with my first editions of Ray Bradbury. It's just a pure 'Nerd Love' of words and of craft.

What convinced you to come on board as the jury president of Longhand 2.0?

I'm an old print hack from way back. It's my first love in the business. And of my all-time favorite print ads, many are long copy.

Do you have a message for the Longhand 2.0 participants?

Well, I'm tempted to say 'write well' but that is something that takes a lifetime of practice to do. Still, there are in fact rules, but you can discover them only by reading-reading-reading, as much as you can, and by writing during those times you are not reading. I don't think there are any shortcuts.

Campaign India

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