The Billy Badboy character is an idea I had about a year ago in a LinkedIn post. I decided to bring him to life with some AI art courtesy of Bing and some fresh Billy Badboy copy.
As for what inspired it? An end client was having huge difficulties finding a copywriter for a less-than-ethical industry. I was contacted by the SEO agency and at least one translation agency desperate to find someone for the job. But most good copywriters – regardless of whether they make “ethical” their brand or not – will have certain standards about the work they do and don’t take on.
In turn, I’ve noticed how end clients in certain fields – big tobacco is the classic example – have difficulty finding good copywriters or translators, and probably other service providers, too. You also find it increasingly with meat products, vaping, junk food for kids, and more.
The cool thing for me is how it’s become somewhat “cool”, or at least “acceptable” to be somewhat “woke”, or as I call it, having standards.
As a lifelong vegetarian, and vegan around twenty years, this has been especially interesting. Back then, I’d never have thought that one day I might be comfortable enough to even say I was vegan in public like this – right here on my blog, no less. It felt like a dirty secret, which would eventually come out when someone asked me to work on something I disagreed with and I’d have to decline.
But now, being an “ethical” copywriter, translator, designer, or freelancer in general is pretty much the norm. It’s not just me refusing the jobs about factory farming or animal testing.
At the same time, I’m not sure spelling it out even offers much marketing clout. But I do like how I’m no longer judged for being the awkward exception for refusing to do branding for a major cigarette brand, or SEO work for a meat-related product.
It made me realise that there’s a real market out there for the “unethical copywriter”. Or the “anti-woke copywriter”: The copywriter who’ll take on anything and anyone. The snippet above is pretty much what I had in mind.