Hello, I’m Andrew Jolliffe and I’m honoured. The copywriter of the week is an accolade. Thanks so much.
I’m lucky, too, to be writing this in Paris, city of light and love. After 15 years at Ogilvy, BBH, and my own place in London, I went to freelance at Ogilvy Paris and never went back. It wasn’t the crème brulées, the Seine, the Chardonnay, and the women, but the team. Next to Susan Westre, Sid Tomkins, Fergus O’Hare, Ginevra Capece, Chris Garbutt, and Chris Rowson. Heaven. The place was electric. Awards, pitch wins, tears, and joys rained on us every day. Then came to the great agency youth-only movement and I got shot in 2017.
Never mind. I’d made a database of everyone who’d left, so hit the button and the phone started to ring. Warm with confidence, I also made France my official home. Nothing to do with Brexit. Just did. Love France and it will love you back.
Behind every move, there is a reason
I exist to help brands here thrive abroad, using fresh ways in, crafted English, and any medium. Brand-books, TV, radio, social, everything. A well-positioned brand deserves to shine. But if its one-off stance, its essence, is mal-articulated, it’ll vanish into the vacuous black hole of sameness. True. Trust me, and that won’t happen. I’ve seen most things before. Profit. It’s why I’m here.
My first independent triumph, though, was just one word. The world’s first virtual reality theme park needed a name, and thank God it was in Paris. It took weeks, but Illucity will live on forever. The city of illusions. Thank you, Buzzman.
Next, manifestos are my big love. At Ogilvy, someone called me “the man who puts the “man” in manifesto”. Thanks, Peter Metcalfe. Love you. Wish I’d written that. A manifesto never exists for its own sake. It should sing, but not like some masturbatory word-glop. You should read one and know all about its brand from that moment on. And if it ends up over an HQ’s reception desk, you’ve won.
The joy of living in the city of light and love
And like Dr. Zeuss’s green eggs and ham, I write them here, there and anywhere. It’s one reason why Paris freelancing is a joy and I might never leave. Mechanical routine bores me so I alternate between working at home, in the sun, in parks, in coworking spaces with intravenous coffee. And there’s plenty to do after. Experiences, not screenshots, have a habit of metamorphosing into angles and ways of expressing. Suck them up. Outside work I play the cello, compose, sing in the Sorbonne choir and feed the homeless. I hope you all do even more.
France’s other pride is its social system. The charges are why many good creatives are terrified of freelancing. And unlike Holland or even Italy, there are few tax incentives to set up. You’re in at the deep end. But see what they pay for. On-tap health-care. Income protection, even for a limited company like me. Free business training. They’re probably why France was one of the first out of lockdown. France epitomises the equilibrium of taking and giving.
You’ll see I’ve talked more about life than work. It’s because I believe that interesting lives can create a copy that interests anyone in anything. Ding.
I’m re-positioning a French convenience store brand right now for a young but superbly attentive Parisian team, and I can see they’ve just called twice. No, five times. Help. Better get on. Coffee. Cheers. Thanks again for the fame. And to everyone for inspiring me so far. Kisses to all. What next, who knows. Maybe you’d like to find out.