CREATIVE THINKING THAT INSPIRES, SURPRISES, DELIGHTS, AND DELIVERS A DESIRED RESULT.
At its best, that is what good writing is.
But it’s one of the reasons why advertising copywriting is so much fun. You get to weaponize words on behalf of your client, often blowing up the client’s bottom line in ways that are not possible using other means.
But it’s not just about getting the words on paper. It’s about everything leading up to that.
And sometimes, there are no words on paper at all.
That’s why the peaceful screed colors outside the lines.
It’s not just about writing the words.
It’s about taking actions that inspire, and being inspired to take action that fuels words.
It’s a productive cycle of energetic genesis.
Good writing is good thinking. Good thinking makes things happen.
Which is why we’re about to talk about a dive bar.
(Yes, it’s a left turn. Go with it.)
The Fabulous Honey Parker and I have many hobbies. One of them is dive bars.
Dive bars are fun, in part because they’re often a place full of surprises and unusual people.
Yes, sometimes there might be that loud, drunk woman with a voice like the angry laughter of an enraged crow perched on barbed wire, screeching and cawing about the ball game on the TV.
You might also meet the retired schoolteacher who’s a millionaire real estate entrepreneur with a portfolio of local residential rental properties (and a much nicer laugh than the crow lady).
You might meet a local criminal attorney who’s still wearing his suit from court that afternoon.
Or the software engineer, sitting with his phone out, reviewing updates to a program under development.
These people are there, and none of them know your name. Yet.
Right now, they’re on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in a little dive bar with a fishing theme.
Fishing happens around here. Dive bars, though? Not as often as they used to. It’s an artsy little town that has undergone a degree of gentrification.
As one old-timer local told me, he’s just about the last of his friends who lives here. The place has become too fancy.
Nonetheless, some of the dive bars persevere. They are dimly lit places with dark wood furnishings, out-of-state license plates on the walls, dollar bills tacked to the ceiling, and various surprises hidden throughout the (ahem) decorating.
This Mississippi dive bar is different.
Yes, it’s filled with local characters.
But it’s also nationally recognized. It is lauded as one of the nation’s best dive bars.
And it happens to be a pandemic survival story.
One of the big selling features of this bar is they have an excellent low-country boil.
If you’re not familiar with low-country boil, it’s some form of seafood (usually crawfish, shrimp or crab, or a combination thereof). The seafood is boiled in abundant spices along with sausage, corn and potatoes. That’s the traditional lineup. My personal boil recipe includes a rotating cast of green veggies to help dispel one’s overriding sensation of guilt that comes from scarfing down potatoes and corn alongside crusty bread, all with no greens.
A boil is often dumped out onto a communal table and consumed with one’s hands. Beer is often in evidence.
A good low-country boil makes people’s heads explode.
And during pandemic lockdown, there was no boil happening inside this bar because nobody was allowed inside this bar.
So the owner decided to give people something he felt they needed: a way to get boil takeout.
Despite no formal drive-thru architecture (it’s a dumpy old stucco building covered in banners and beer signs), this man turned his bar into a drive-thru boil emporium.
The inside of the bar was filled with boil pots, takeout containers and crawfish.
A new banner outside proclaimed “Crawfish boil drive thru!”
And people drove through, driving away with boiled low-country comestibles.
This man’s revenue also went through the roof.
And no, he’s not a writer. He owns a bar.
He did write a simple sign advertising his product.
He also wrote some simple, fun Facebook posts showing his promise of masked-up drive-thru boil. They featured a giant photo of a crawfish waving his claws, saying “You want some of this?!”
And it was good.
Good writing is good thinking.
Good thinking makes things happen.
It’s thinking beyond the page.
Good writers are often cogitating on the world, and how to put thoughts into action.
Sometimes, that action is a pen across the page.
Sometimes, it’s realizing how to best serve the customer.
And sometimes, it’s just going into a strange new dive bar somewhere and seeing how other people reinvent their world, one dimly-lit, laughter-filled encounter at a time.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in Park City
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.