Catalog Writing, and then a Book

If you’re familiar with my blog at all, you’ve probably figured out that I enjoy the now-old TV show, Seinfeld.

One of my favorite characters is Mr. Peterman, mostly because when the show was in its heyday, one of main job duties was writing catalog copy for the gardening catalogs I was running – yeah, there were a few “Elaines” around!

Contrary to what the video might suggest, when you write for a catalog, or for advertising, you really are forced to write concisely, yet effectively. The legends (gurus?) of advertising used to claim that all writers should have a stint in advertising. If you think that’s pompous or silly, here’s three writers who spent some time in advertising as copywriters:

Salman Rushdie

Helen Gurley Brown

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I could say more, but then I might be accused of being a windbag . . . should we just keep it at pompous? Honestly though, since I’ve never been to Africa, I’d really like to tell you some of my hockey stories . . . they’re funny. Ha, there’s even a little of that in Dawn at Last!

Salman Rushdie on Seinfeld

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4 thoughts on “Catalog Writing, and then a Book

  1. Leslie Jo

    Well, helloooo, Lawrence! I found you when you commented on The Return of the Modern Philosopher’s blog. I really liked the blog post of yours I just read and felt like following you. I began my writing career as catalog copywriter, too, but for Sears Catalog. Awesome job. I learned about and then wrote copy to sell lawnmowers. augers, post-hole diggers, and men’s underwear, I had a lot of .fun there.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend!
    Leslie

    Reply
  2. Lawrence Grodecki Post author

    Hi Leslie Jo,

    Thanks for the compliment. It’s a small world…we had a joint venture with Sears for many years, so I was at Sears office a few times (Toronto).

    I sure hope you didn’t mix things up and describe men’s underwear as you would a post-hole digger! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lawrence Grodecki Post author

      Hi Christy,

      Yeah, it was the one show a week I looked forward to, kind of like the new kid on the block after Cheers ended. Anyways, I’m not sure you read my April 1st post – Piece of Cake – at the bottom is a link to a little Seinfeld scene that goes with the post. I’m never sure if most readers check or notice the links, so here it is, but it’s best to read the post first. 🙂

      Reply

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