Mark DuBois: “Swedish ads are funny, but British people miss them completely”

Skriver du reklamtexter på engelska? Eller vill du lära dig? Kom lite senare till jobbet nu på torsdag. Börja istället med frukost på reklamskolan Berghs. Då och där pratar Mark DuBois, engelsk copywriter som jobbar i Sverige, om orden och insikterna som får dig att skriva bättre på världens mest spridda språk. Redan här och nu berättar han vad som skiljer svenska och engelska reklamtexter. Och varför rävspel är ett smått fantastiskt ord.

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Tid torsdagen den 22/1 kl. 08.30-09.30
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What do you consider to be the biggest difference between Swedish and English copywriting?

– Humour. Comedy is a great divider. Writers ignore it at their peril. The humour in British ads can be very burlesque, loud, in-your-face. There’s a long tradititon of camp humour and double entendre. Swedish humour is more subtle, sly even, and sharp. It’s often more linguistic. It creeps up on you and is oblique and self-effacing. I think Swedish ads are very, very funny, but sometimes British people miss them completely. Unlike reporters or marketing writers, copywriters can’t avoid humour. It’s their meat and potatoes. I’ve got some tips in my presentation about it, but be warned – they probably won’t make you laugh.

In your opinion, should a Swedish copywriter be able to write fluently in English?
– Ads are popular culture. Part of the most immediate and dynamic parts of our lives. They’re often idiomatic, regional, time-specific, slangy. For most of us it’s a full time job just keeping up with and learning OUR OWN language. But if something is heartfelt and universal it doesn’t need to be translated. Copywriters working in a foreign language have to find their way through to these things.

How can I learn best to write English copy?
– Find the authentic emotion.
– Never, EVER be afraid to make a total arse of yourself.
– Enroll on plenty of courses and go and see LOTS of presentations.

Which is the best Swedish word that does not exist in English?
– Just now ‘rävspel’ great bildspråk, million times more interesting than ‘intrigue’!

Which is the best English word that does not exist in Swedish?
– English has the largest vocabulary of any language in the world (500,000 words) so a new one flouresces on the front of my mind every day before quietly fading away forever into the dark. Hey ho.

Which is your favourite ad?
– "I am the Spirit of Dead Water!". It’s an Public Safety ‘ad written in 1975.


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