Have you heard of Daniel Dumile?
Unless you’re a rap addict, not many people have. After all, he goes by the stage name MF Doom.
‘Doom’, for short, isn’t just another musician. He’s a legend in the rap game.
His wordplay is genius. His rhymes are poetic. His style is inimitable. Before his death in October 2020, he had cemented his status as one of the greats.
And when some youngin’ asks about Doom, the general response from someone in the know is, ‘he’s your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper’. Hard to argue with.
That one particular line got me thinking:
As a copywriter, who is my favourite copywriter?
I had my answer within a split second.
Depending on your vintage, Richard Foster needs no introduction.
But, if you’re of a more youthful variety, you might be saying ‘uhh who?’
Much like MF Doom was one of the best to ever grace a microphone, Richard was one of the most revered when he put pen to paper.
While we didn’t know each other personally, I studied Richard’s retail ads for years. (Truth be told, reading his work inspires me to write copy.)
From 1986-2005, he did nothing more than churn out sales-generating copy at creative agency AMV. The type of writing that spoke to customer’s hearts and loosened their purse strings. A true master of the art and science of crafting copy that sells.
Is it any wonder Richard became known as the ‘copywriter’s copywriter’?
To this day, I can’t think of a more versatile writer.
He could fit into any style, channel any voice, create any persona to write a winning ad. And he did it every time. With ease.
Now, I don’t intend for the blog to turn into a digital tome on the man. But I do intend to share his brilliance. So, rather than riff on, here’s a choice selection of my favourite ads.
In my opinion, no other ad asserts Richard’s sheer brilliance than his Sainsbury ad below.
So, what insights can we glean from the storied careers of Foster and MF Doom?
Once again, in my humble opinion, even after you pass, your work impacts and inspires the next generation.
At times, the impact is so great people study your work year after year trying to decode your writing formula. While other people lobby their local city manager to have a street renamed in Long Beach, New York City, in your honour.
Photo by: Chris Boyle