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3rd November 2022

Spotlight on… Michael Finnigan

“Being able to write clear and concise copy sometimes feels like a superpower.”

Hunterlodge’s new copywriter on the move from finance to advertising, the big energy at Hunterlodge, and his hope for writing award-winning copy.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t set out to get into advertising. I’ve just come off a ten-year stint writing content for big financial firms and a popular wealth magazine. I hoped one of the billionaire families might give me a yacht. No dice. Interviewing senior decision-makers at the top of their game rarely gets boring, but I started to spot signs of stagnation. What better way to become a better writer than in the creative field of advertising?  

Being able to write clear and concise copy sometimes feels like a superpower. Lord knows it was a hard-won skill. The challenge at Hunterlodge is moving away from reportage to copy that reflects a specific tone of voice, whether for an aspirational content campaign for higher education or brand guidelines in a pitch document.  

Against the backdrop of a slowing economy, it’s hard not to notice the rapid growth at Hunterlodge. New business is coming in thick and fast. You meet a new starter nearly every week—a frightening prospect seeing as I’ve been asked to write up this series of interviews. The senior leadership has energy coursing through their veins. Where it comes from is anyone’s guess.  

My first day was daunting but I piped up with an idea that made it into a pitch. It was for a series of masterclasses for a business school, leaning into the rapid development of e-learning. High production values with a cinematic feel. Writing that up and seeing it designed by the creative team was exhilarating. Putting pen to paper often feels like a solitary endeavour and this was a collaborative effort that pushed beyond what I thought was possible.  

When you think of advertising it’s hard not to think of Mad Men. You put your feet on the desk, shoot some ideas around and then strike gold over a whiskey. The reality is you need to come up with creative ideas on demand, and that can be challenging. I’m finding that if you can get something down on paper, usually the bad ideas slip away and you’re left with that eureka moment days later probably in bed in that phase between being asleep and awake.

What’s coming down the road for ad copy? Too early for me to say. I’m focused on reading around the topic to see what’s come before. I’m still in the 50s and 60s where the goal seemed to be to annoy your customer into buying something. Bring on the 70s when creativity was king. If Hunterlodge is anything to go by, it seems like it’s all about bringing together good ideas with data-driven insights. But a good idea is timeless. If you can say something that’s simple and fresh, the battle is won.  

In five years, I’ll still want that yacht, but hopefully, I’ll have been able to pay for it with all my award-winning copy at Hunterlodge. Raise a Don Draper whiskey to that! 

If, like Michael, you have a passion for copywriting or content creation then get in touch at jobs@hunterlodge.co.uk


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