Dave Dumanis is a longtime San Francisco Bay Area creative director, copywriter, content writer and UX writer known for deep strategic curiosity, a strict conversion-centric approach, and making complex new technologies feel simple. Dave’s countless integrated digital campaigns and content components for DocuSign, Maxim Integrated, Hawaiian Airlines, ThoughtSpot, Intuit, Google and other clients combine a rock-solid results orientation with a distinctly human touch.
I never thought of myself as a political writer. As a matter of fact, there was a time in my life when I didn’t think of myself as political at all. For decades I’ve been in advertising, which is by nature commercial, not political. Yet here I am, lead writer on the Shahid Buttar for… Continue reading My new coronavirus-era gig doesn’t pay a dime, but it’s a total sanity saver—and I love it.
Once upon a time, I worked at a full-time corporate marketing job. I had a pretty good title (Senior Copywriter), pulled a halfway decent salary (none of your business), and enjoyed unlimited free snacks. But every day, I left that place with a funny, nauseated feeling in the pit of my stomach. This can’t last,… Continue reading You won’t believe it, but I had a funny feeling something like this would happen.
Why did you become a creative professional? A copywriter, designer, art director, creative director, video/film director? An ad person, in other words? At the deepest psychological level, why would you voluntarily join such an unstable, unpredictable, unappreciated, and often scoffed-at profession? I know why I did. And I’m not proud of it. I hasten to… Continue reading It’s time for creatives to take a long, hard look at how we got here
This is odd: When you scroll down LinkedIn these days, about half the posts look like there’s nothing wrong. You definitely can’t tell there’s a pandemic going on. No reference at all to the genuinely weird context that we’re all working from home, and that many of us are in danger of catching a terrible… Continue reading A whole new way may not be possible, but business as usual definitely isn’t.
It feels comfortable, like a favorite sweatshirt. Comforting, like a creamy cheesy winter casserole. It just feels right. But it’s wrong. We can’t go back to the way things were before the pandemic, because that way lies an end to everything. We want to. Really, really badly. This has been such a disruptive experience on… Continue reading Nostalgia is natural, but it’s hurting us. A lot.
Once about every couple of years, marketing or advertising is pronounced dead, usually because of automation or the Internet or some other change vector everyone could see coming from a mile away. This time feels different, though. Maybe it’s all the marketers who’ve now been laid off, even though they thought their jobs were safer… Continue reading Marketing is dead. Long live marketing.
In Part 1 of this post, I talked about the disturbing trend of marketing stakeholders and clients reflexively responding to questions about their marketing problems with a lot of positive rah-rah nonsense that’s not only not helpful, but actually harmful to the strategic and creative process. In this second part, I’ll list several possible reasons… Continue reading My super power is fighting cheerleaderism. Here’s why I do it, and how you can too (Part 2)
My most common question to clients and potential clients is what I always thought was a simple one: “What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing?” It’s strange and somewhat concerning to me that I almost never get a straight answer to this question. I mean, they shouldn’t be trying to impress me. I’m working for them,… Continue reading My super power is fighting cheerleaderism. Here’s why I do it, and how you can too (Part 1)
When you think of creative professionals, what do you think of? Probably someone pacing around and then having an idea, in a glorious “Aha!” moment. That’s flashy and showy and makes for great TV (or a great TikTok). But it’s not how the best work gets made. In fact, this myth hurts more than it… Continue reading Why the way media shows creative pros is bass-ackwards
Writer’s block is nobody’s friend, but sometimes you just can’t avoid it. The deadline is too tight, or the assignment is out of your wheelhouse, or you’ve just had too much stress and too little sleep. When that happens, there’s something that virtually always works for me. I hope it works for you, too. It’ll… Continue reading A quick and dirty tip to beat writer’s block
I don’t drive too much anymore. I hate traffic and I hate tailgaters, so I avoid freeways as much as possible. I find that nine times out of 10, a combination of CalTrain and Lyft get me exactly where I want to go, stress-free. Whenever I do drive, though, I notice one thing, and it’s… Continue reading Want to see a million dollars set on fire? Just drive down 101 and look out your window.
In business, we’re defined by our roles. I’m a marketer, he’s an engineer, she’s the COO, he’s the head of IT. It’s one of the first things you see on any creative brief: Who are we talking to and what’s their role at the company? It’s so basic in defining your target persona, if you… Continue reading Roles don’t make decisions, people do. So write to them.
First job I ever had, way back in high school when other kids got jobs flipping burgers or detailing cars, was telemarketing. If you were born after around 1980, this was a job that involved calling strangers who may or may not have previously expressed an interest and trying to sell them stuff, usually by… Continue reading Ever sold anything? That experience can help you write better copy than most copywriters.
A slow change is taking place on the corporate marketing landscape, so slow in fact that it’s nearly imperceptible unless you’re in it. It used to be that the “client side” of the advertising business was filled with agency folks who’d grown tired of the rat race. The intense pressure, the endless pre-pitch nights, the… Continue reading Dude, does your company even “copywriter”?
The only reason I wrote this is to attract new copywriting clients, but I’m betting you’ll read it anyway.
Did I lose you? No? Well, you’re far from the only one. Does that surprise you? After all, that headline is a big hunk of truth. I’m giving up the game before it even starts, revealing exactly what my secret hidden agenda is. Most people would say that’s kind of stupid. But you see, that’s… Continue reading The only reason I wrote this is to attract new copywriting clients, but I’m betting you’ll read it anyway.
I was having a conversation with my wife the other day, just yakking, small talk in the car like you do, and she brought up a website written by a client of hers. The client was not a native speaker nor writer of English, and apparently it showed. The site content was full of idioms… Continue reading Respect the writer
Video killed the creative star: Why the insane race to go viral is destroying your creative team and budget
A few months ago I interviewed at a super-hot startup. Among the five or six people scheduled to grill me that morning was the company video specialist. This is a fairly new role popping up everywhere, apparently based on the information that video radically boosts the chances of social posts going viral. The person lucky… Continue reading Video killed the creative star: Why the insane race to go viral is destroying your creative team and budget
Sanna Marin, the 34-year-old prime minister of Finland, made news this week when she recommended that her government seriously look into the benefits of a four-day workweek. (To be clear, this would be four days for the same pay as five days right now.) Marin, a member of Finland’s parliament for four years and most… Continue reading Creative agencies and departments, take this hint from Finland
Many years ago, when my hair was mostly brown with a few gray strands instead of the opposite, my wife and I took a vacation in Asia. We went to Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and, because my wife wanted to see Bali, we stopped in Indonesia as well. In order to get to Bali via… Continue reading Marketers need to stop ostriching on climate change
A few short years ago, I came to the conclusion that advertising is really just a bunch of noise unless it also involves helping our rapidly unraveling planet. It could have been the urge to make a better world for my teenage daughter, or just the daily news about penguins and polar bears, but I… Continue reading Sunlight is born.