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Copywriters on the rack #9: Lee Trott

Welcome to Copywriters on the Rack, where, with the aid of a few blunt instruments, I get writers to spill the beans and shed a few tears. Let the fun commence.

So, who are you and what do you do to pay the bills?

“I’m a locksmith… And I’m a locksmith.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist that line from Police Squad!)

My name’s Lee Trott, and I’m a copywriter!

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

Bloody hell, you don’t start with any small talk, do ya?

Right, so I was born at very young age. (Ahthankyoo.) Went to Chelsea Art School, and got into St Martins because my sister had wowed them two years before.

Ed Morris was kind enough to give me a job at Lowe in my second year, and I continued to work at Lowe throughout my third year. From there, Nils Leonard gave me a job at Grey, where I worked for 7 years.

After that, I partnered up with my far more talented sister, Jade. We freelanced for five years, then worked under the excellent Rob Kavanagh for 2 years at Oliver. Now, Jade and I are freelancing again.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Making great work! When your work gets produced, and you get to see everyone rushing around to create some crazy crap you wrote down that makes sense and communicates well, it’s a feeling like no other.

What’s the worst?

Watching clients dismiss an idea you had, and then seeing another brand execute it very well a month or two later.

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

Drone photography, model-making, and I sometimes help Jade and Cathy (My mum) delivering waste food from local supermarkets to a soup kitchen in Muswell Hill, called NextMeal. Jade just helped design their new van to deliver meals to people in need during the pandemic.

OK, I applaud altruism, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get easier questions. This is the bit where we go rogue:

What’s your first childhood memory?

Being born in the 80’s, the first memory I have and remember is of the song ‘Ride On Time’ by Blackbox, a dreadfully cheesy song of the time. I don’t particularly like the song, but it sticks in my head, and always makes me smile.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?

Deer tongue…. It wasn’t that bad, until the thought “You know, this is as close as you’ll ever get to making out with a deer” shot through my head, and then I…. I couldn’t go on.

What’s your favourite smell?

Petrol. Ever since I was a kid.

Ever had a supernatural experience?

Not myself, but my family is quite spiritual, and they’ve had some experiences. But I’m not closed minded about it, I believe its possible. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in my philosophy…”

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Haha the centre of attention??? Good question… loved steam trains as a kid, and Steam Train Driver was VERY high on my list!

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

A Chameleon! Cool pincer hands, a shorty-sticky tongue, and I can CHANGE COLOURS!!! I’d save loads not having to buy new colours every season.

Draw me a picture of a tarantula playing a banjo (yes I know you’re a writer, but do it anyway).

Please enjoy my “Ta-Banjo-Rantula”, complete with grass in mouth!

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

To see the Northern Lights, a bioluminescent algae beach, and the Leshan Giant Buddha.

What is love?

… Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more?

For a more serious answer, I guess love is something/someone that you still want when they’re at their worst, as well as their best?

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

I recently got targeted online for ads for a ‘touch-free Holy Water Dispenser’, y’know, for the covid-era. I took a photo of their site, seemed like a definite sign of the times. They don’t supply the Holy Water though, just the machine: Its BYOHW.

Is there anyone you’d like to say thank you to?

It feels obvious, but I want to say thank you to my family for supporting me, putting up with me and generally being a relentless well of encouragement, and hard truths I need to hear. It’s become so obvious during a pandemic year how unappreciative I’ve been of them in past years.

Anyone you’d like to say sorry to?

I’ve had this one locked and loaded for a while… Nils Leonard, who was my boss, friend and mentor for 6 years, taught me an insane amount, and believed in me more than I did myself.

So when I first got on twitter about a year or so ago, I had a VERY big, stupid mouth, and would cast my judgement over every ad and say whatever first popped into my head. I saw a Brewdog ad I wasn’t enamoured with, and I didn’t know who made it, so I went on and on, and on and on about how much I didn’t like it. And I mean I said some toe-curlingly embarrassing things for someone of my age and standing.

I only realised it was Nils’ work (and that he’d seen every comment I made), when Dad came in and told me. He couldn’t stop laughing at my big mouth, and I died a little inside…. So Nils, if you’re reading this: I’m so sorry for what I said, and please know that Dave will NEVER let me live it down…

(Nils, check the social links below if you want some sweet revenge)

Ever belonged to a fan club?

I actually run a gaming group for people who like retro video games and The Big Lebowski on Facebook. An amazing group of supportive, fun people who I now consider very close friends, that I’ve never actually met. 800 of us so far!!!

Let’s play word association:

Grey Poupon
Poorly Richly?
Peeled Taters

Favourite comic character?

I was always a massive Spider-Man fan ever since I was little…. I don’t really like superheroes that can fly.

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

Q: Any advice you’d like to give to others in the industry?

A: (A partial follow on from my story before)…. ALWAYS check who made the ad, before you say anything about it!!!!

Where would you rather be and why?

There’s nowhere I’d rather be. I’d normally say a hot country, but watching police brutality, protests, wildfires, typhoons and floods around the world makes me think that even with all its many, many, MANY faults, the UK is a pretty good place to be.

What will they play at your funeral?

Lamont Dozier – Going Back to My Roots

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

Want more? Here’s Copywriters on the rack #8: Fiona Thompson