6 lessons The Traitors can teach us about copywriting

When we say Diane should have killed her darlings, we don’t mean Ross, but letting go of those things that were close to her heart.

Join us as we turn to TV’s most talked about show to understand what The Traitors can teach us about copywriting. 

1. Jaz it up  

Who’s the smartest in the castle? We all know the answer – it’s Jaz. The national account manager from Manchester seems to be the only faithful who really knows the truth. Within the first two weeks, he’s worked out that Paul is one of the traitors and is already suspecting Harry too, but is yet to share his opinions with the rest of the group. Jaz is a clever guy – he’s waiting for the perfect moment to strike and is aware that he needs the support of the group to do so.  

For us as copywriters and creatives, Jaz teaches us that we need to have the courage to speak out and trust our gut instinct. If you believe in a strong piece of copy or a visual asset, make your case. Share your views with the rest of your team even if they go against the grain and embrace individual thinking. There’s nothing wrong with working as part of a team (after all, you share the same goal) but don’t forget that your unique way of thinking is needed for the greater success of the team and company.  

2. Dial down the Diane  

She might have won the hearts of ‘huns’ everywhere but Diane’s insistence on following her own heart proved to be a problem. Strong but wrong in her convictions, she let her dislike of Ant cloud her judgement, play into the traitors hands and lead the charge to banish a faithful. When we say Diane should have killed her darlings, we don’t mean Ross, but letting go of those things that were close to her heart. All good writers know that weeding out the unwanted means sacrificing some of your strongest ideas, if only the retired teacher learned that valuable lesson too. 

3. Don’t make an ‘Ash’ of it  

Ash was a terrible Traitor. She had power but didn’t know what to do with it. Instead of being confident she was hesitant. Instead of being calm and collected she panicked. And she was like a rabbit in the headlights at the Round Table. The lesson for copywriters is that, whatever you’re doing, you have to really own it. Embrace your role and be up for explaining and defending your work. Less hesitation, more true Traitor-style steel.  

4. Zack yourself

Politics may be his 9 to 5 but no-one can accuse Zack of sitting on the fence. The suspicious faithful has thrown traitor accusations in the most unpopular of directions and they’re rarely far off the mark. He might put his foot in it from time to time – we all make the odd typo – but Zack’s tendency to back himself (get it now?) and ruffle a few feathers has made for engaging content. Saying the things no one else will and coming up with something ‘out there’ could get you further than you think in the copy world too. 

5. Be less Paul

It’s fine to be confident in your own abilities but Paul takes it to the next level – arrogance. As copywriters, we sometimes think we know a lot. But, painful though it might be, other people (eg: clients) sometimes know more. It’s vital to recognise that, know when you don’t know and be willing to take direction and advice. Bumptious bluffing is never the way to go. 

6. Avoid a Brian-style breakdown 

Oh Brian. How many of us have succumbed to nerves, pressure and anxiety at work? It happens to us all, but Brian was proof that you need to know how to react in certain situations. If you receive surprising feedback from clients or even your own team members (like Brian did when the rest of the group called him a sheep) you need to remain strong. 

Client feedback can sometimes be tough but it’s work. Don’t read too much into feedback – it’s never personal. Just focus on actioning the next steps and getting the final copy approved. Clients are rushed for time, so their feedback might come across as abrupt but acknowledge their situation and try to understand where they’re coming from.  

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