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Copywriters on the rack #23: Ian David

Mr. David I presume. Welcome to Copywriters on the Rack. Please leave your smile at the door…

Who are you, and what do you do to pay the bills?

My name is Ian David and I work for an in-house creative department. My official title is Manager, Advertising & Creative Strategy.

What was your career path to get to where you are now?

Bloody Nora, how long do you have?

Okay, (deep breath): I discovered advertising somewhere around the mid-1980s and duly hawked a book of creative work around London with Chris Miller for two years. After a false start or two, we landed our first proper job at The Leith Agency in 1990. I took off for the states on a wing and prayer in 1998, converting from Art Director to Copywriter in the process. I then proceeded to collect business cards with Senior Copywriter, ACD Copywriter, and Creative Director on them before being downsized out on my arse in 2018. Freelanced for three years before getting back in the game at a great company last March. I know, I know, as long-winded as hell, but you did ask.

Long-winded’s fine by me, gives me an excuse to prolong the agony. Now, what’s the best thing about your job?

I get to be a hidden persuader, a manipulator of the masses who bends the minds of the unsuspecting to his own devious ends – – or, failing that, buy the detergent highlighted on the brief.

What’s the worst?

All of the above comes to nought.

How do you fill the gaps when you’re not doing the day job?

I play the guitar just enough to make people wish I didn’t.

Now we’ve got the formalities out of the way, let’s go rogue. 

What was your nickname at school?

It pains me to say, but it was “Basin.” This was on account of my Dad cutting my hair until I was 12. By the time the restraining order came through, the damage to my rep had been done. To be fair, it did absolutely look like a bowl had been placed over my head and trimmed around. If only it had been that simple. In reality, the process took for-ev-er. I remember one cut coinciding with the opening ceremony to the 1972 Olympics. I went in the chair as Australia trooped out and exited some time around the appearance of Venezuela. 

Write me a poem about MILDEW

Everything I do
I do for Mildew
To live in the thrall
Of a stain on a wall
For rancid spots
And putrid dots
The forensics of which
I know not what

A man after my own heart. What’s the stupidest thing you did as a teenager?

Pretty much everything. I could have played stupid for England, I was that good. 

Who would win in a fight, a dry cough, or a wet flannel?

Referee, Flem Mucus, would award it to cough by a sneeze.

Write me three straplines for:

1) Genetically modified talking vegetables
Intelligible vegibles

2) The UN Space Police recruitment drive
Space cadets assemble!

2) Home Surgery World’s latest kit, “DIY hernia repair.”
Idiot heal thyself

What would you like to come back as, if there’s a next time?

Ernie, the fastest milkman in the west.

Draw me a picture of a starfish regretting that last drink (yes, I know you’re a writer, but do it anyway).

Copywriting is like eating wasps, discuss.

Guêpes a la Trott

Soak wasps overnight in a rich Webster marinade. Sauté on a Bernbach stove for approximately 20 Abbotts. When tender to the creative touch, season with ingenuity, pepper with insight, and serve stinger-up with a hot impact sauce. 

Yum. What is love?

Love is a many splendored thing, but chiefly, it’s Chelsea losing on the same day QPR win.

Pick a random pic from your camera roll and tell us about it.

Advil Villa The 7-a-side footie team I play on every Wednesday night. If anyone cares, I’m second from the right in the back row.

Write me a very short story featuring: Thor, the God of Thunder, a ventriloquist with amnesia and a “mysterious” hot dog sausage.


Odin has decreed the Feast of Asgard must go ahead despite the destruction of the local Asda by Brexit. With the gobs of Gods to be fed, hope resides squarely with Weinerfall, a self-replicating hot dog sausage. Born in a gamma-ray explosion at a Greggs bakery circa. AD 1994, he/she/thingy is in the clutches of Ventriloquo, herald of Orville.

Enter Thor through a space-time portal, all a fluster.

“You there, hand over the dog. We feast on the morrow and I have little time for your music hall sorcery.”

Ventriloquo, “I’m sorry, do what now?

“Tis I, Thor, the God of Thunder.”

“Never heard of ya” 

“Me, neither,” chirps Weinerfall. Or was it Ventriloquo? Haha!

Thor, reeling.”You mock me, sire?”

“Mockney? Nah, mate, East Ham ain’t I. Have you seen my pliers?”

All patience lost, Thor snatches up the coveted frank and dispatches Ventriloquo to the four dimensions – five if you include the Crown and Sceptre in Shepherd’s Bush. 

After a quick check of the celestial clock, his Thorness tucks Wienerfall into his XL Norseland™ underpants, and with a clap of thunder, a bolt of lightning and a spot of light drizzle, whisks himself off to a swanky eaterie in the Vale Nebula where Loki awaits with buns, condiments, a copy of The Complete Goon Show Scripts and a bent spoon.

But that’s another story.


What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

Rashford’s penalty at Euro 2020.

What’s the last thing that made you cry?

Sako’s penalty at Euro 2020.

Write me dictionary definition entries for “Wilcock’s Lexicofantabulous Compendium of Oddities and Soddities.”

1) Bischt
noun. Austrian dunking biscuit made from Yak’s milk and apricots.

2) Azphology 
noun. The reading of arse dimples to divine what time the dustmen will show up on Friday.

3) Levitt’s Fancy
noun. A predilection for 15th-century fur-lined undergarments. Not to be confused with Kipling’s Strumpet or Cuthbert’s Dibble. 

What would you do with your last tenner?

Pay the piper.

Make up your own question and tell me whatever you want to get off your chest.

Q: What the hell happened to car advertising?

A: Beats me. Once an industry gold standard, automotive is now an utter laughing stock. Indistinguishable brands drop fortunes on TV ads with identical narratives that go something like this: an improbably youthful group of people, tired of the oppresive humdrum of the city, climb into a car they could never afford, and escape to the beach/mountains/middle of nowhere for an “experience.” 

Worst of all is social media: 100% phoned in. Posts for £60,000 vehicles that look like they’ve had 6p spent on them. No thought, no craft, no differentiation. An absolute embarrassment. 

Cheers, that feels better.

Give me three reasons why I should let you go.

1) I’ve paid the ransom. (3 Beanos, 2 Dandys, 1 Beezer, and a quart of Strongbow).

2) I still have those photos of you and the Duchess of Kent squirreled away in a safe deposit box in Saffron Walden.

3) The wafer-thin thread holding me suspended above the Martian tarpit is set to snap.

And before I remove the shackles, tell us where we can find you online.

Twitter: @blokewriter 



OK Mr. David, gimme that safe deposit box key and I’ll set you free. Now, be off with ya!