We're super excited to welcome Dan to The International Bunch who joins us as one of our new in-house copywriters. We caught up with Dan in his first week to chat about his experiences.
Do you want to start off by telling our readers a bit about yourself and your professional background?
Sure. I’ve worked as a commercial copywriter since 1997, first in radio then, more recently, digital media and social marketing.
I have to be honest; radio copywriter was not the job I dreamed of as a child. In the days before streaming (!) the most thrilling part of my teenage week would be sitting down with the UK Top 40 Chart playing on my radio cassette player and recording (illegally) my favourite tunes. The DJs were heroes back in the day. “I could do that,” I thought. “Radio DJ! That’s the life for me”.
After realising I couldn’t do that and that it wouldn’t be the life for me, I had to find another route into this showbiz world – so applied for the role of Junior Copywriter for my local radio station. It wasn’t quite the glamorous career I dreamed of, but it gave me the opportunity to smile at some ‘quite famous’ celebrities as they were whisked through reception on their way to meet the cool DJ! Pah.
As the years passed, I mastered my trade. My key focus was never about winning awards, it was about writing focussed, salient copy designed to work and achieve results for my clients. When the opportunity arose, I became Head of Creative Solutions at a brand-new regional station in Wales, launched by Guardian Media Group (GMG). This was an exciting time as we were the new kids in, erm, Wales and I got to create my department and team from scratch. We became market leaders and I got to work with local, regional and national brands.
LBC in London was my next stop. It is Britain’s oldest commercial radio station so when the chance arose to take over as Head of Creative/Content in 2002, I jumped. Alongside a team of talented writers and producers, I worked with a wonderfully diverse mix of clients including BA, GSK, Quintiles – and Big Yellow Self Storage. The pinnacle of my time in this role was my jingle remake of ‘Mellow Yellow’ by Donovan. “They call me mellow yellow” just had to be re-sung as “We store it at Big Yellow” don’t you think?
What excites you the most about your move to The International Bunch?
A new role is always an exciting time as you get to hone your skills to meet the demands of the job. Radio changed through the years I worked there so I had to constantly adapt. Once audio alone, it became way more visual through the need for social presence, digital and online content. Other media moved in the opposite direction. Traditional book publishing became more than just print through the advent of audiobooks, podcasts and digital readers. In my opinion, the basics of copywriting will always remain the same. Whether it’s a Twitter post promoting a webinar, a 30-second commercial selling minty toothpaste or a 10,000-word article relaying the benefits of thermal mass, good copy is all about grabbing attention, telling a story and getting people to engage and respond.
Oh, and the team at The International Bunch are fun, intelligent, and very, very friendly. They made me say that.
Finally, outside of your working life, how do you like to spend your time?
I have always been a country boy at heart. 10 years of commuting from The Cotswolds to London in the UK finally took its toll and my wife and I sold up, packed up and moved to East Devon in 2014. We now live on a smallholding overlooking Dartmoor. Just the two of us. And Toby the dog, four broody hens and (currently) 40 sheep. We walk, we laugh and we spend lots of time outdoors cooking over the firepit.