Copywriting is all about being word wise

In February 1977, I met K. Kurian, founder and chairman of Radeus Advertising, for the first time. He was interviewing me for the post of Hindi copywriter in the agency. 

He said, “Before I ask you any question, I want you to look at our existing Hindi advertisements and give your comments”. 

Then he called for all his clients’ guard books. I don’t think today’s advertising professionals would know what guard books are. A guard book is an advertising agency’s internal archive of work done for a particular client. 

First, the guard book was for Firestone Tyres

In the first ad, in its first two sentences itself, I could spot errors. I asked him, “May I please get a pencil, Mr Kurian?”

He was amused and wondered, and rightly so. “Why do would need a pencil?” was his question. 

I replied, “To mark spelling errors, first.”

Mr Kurian shot back, “You mean to say our published ads have spelling errors?” 

Well, yes, they had. But he was gracious enough not to get offended, and that’s how I bagged my copywriting job at Radeus.  

Today, spelling errors ain’t a great deal because “sab chalta hai dude.” 😀😀😀