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The humble word remains a bedrock of our business

With the EE Baftas last Sunday, we are near the peak of the movie season. The media moguls are all in London - the creators of such visual spectaculars as Gravity and The Wolf Of Wall Street.

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So I was surprised at something the Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein said this week. When the legendary producer was asked about his single driving passion – the thing that prompted his stellar career in movies – his response was his love of "words".

Weinstein is a prodigious reader, who devours two books each week. At the start of his career, he was reading seven daily newspapers. Indeed, one of the reasons that the producer of Shakespeare In Love and Philomena says he is a devout Anglophile is because of our literary tradition and the plethora of quality newspapers and magazines.

There is a strong message here for journalists and advertising/media professionals alike.

Recently, I highlighted the rise of "filmic" Britain and the international success of the country’s film production and special-effects business, which is closely integrated with the advertising industry.

But we must not forget the equal significance of the crafts of language and storytelling.

Weinstein’s "gut instinct" on buying the rights to a successful movie comes when he reads the script. And if one thinks of his great productions – from The English Patient to Pulp Fiction – they are beautifully crafted, and edited, tales.

One powerful, original, beautifully written story can be worth a million social media posts and crazy animal videos

This is a talent that is sadly declining in Hollywood, where the huge movie studios prefer to back "guaranteed high-return franchises" rather than quirky narratives. Equally, we must be careful that the same skills and values are not lost from the advertising business.

There have been some great examples from Britain’s lexicon, from David Abbott’s touching "JR Hartley" tale for Yellow Pages in the 80s to Adam & Eve’s "the long wait" spot for John Lewis in 2011. But, arguably, there have been too few of late.

The age of YouTube and blogging is an incredible opportunity for those who work in the marketing and media business. There is also an inherent threat. One hears that, today, "everyone is a publisher" and "every business is a media company" – and there is great truth in this.

But not all content is equal. One powerful, original, beautifully written story can be worth a million social media posts, niche blogs and crazy animal videos.

It is incumbent on all of us to value, and invest in, these attributes. We would also be crazy to neglect the love of the world’s Weinsteins.

danny.rogers@haymarket.com
@dannyrogers2001

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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