Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Meet Alexis Vogelgesang, the copywriter at Method!
Sometimes the world feels huge and random. Other times it feels tiny. Like Dillon, Texas. For instance, when I first made contact with Lex via Twitter about this interview, she was just the talented stranger who writes all the great one-liners for Method products.
Then we realized that she’s great friends with Lissette, my coworker at Smart Design who happens to sit two feet away from me. Tiny, right? So tiny. That little connection made this interview all the more fun and casual.
So here are three unrelated facts about Lex before we dive into the questions: She lives in San Francisco with her boyfriend, Martin. Her curious last name is German for “birdsong.” You can follow her @lalavogue.
Okay, people, here we go.
Hi Lex! So tell me about the creative team at Method. And how did you join the company?
The creative team consists of six of us who do web, packaging and communication design and writing. We work within the larger brand experience department, consisting of twelve ladies and two very outnumbered and tolerant guys. I got connected with method through a friend of a friend. It seems like that’s always the way. After a few months of freelancing with them, they offered me a full-time position and I couldn’t resist working with these wonderful people every day. Even if it meant I had to start putting on pants before 9am again.
I’m always curious how people get into copywriting gigs. What kind of jobs lead you to this one?
I have a Masters in social-organizational psychology, a degree I rarely, if ever, use. I definitely suggest everyone go into crippling debt to study something frivolous. Well, maybe not. Nonetheless, said degree did lead me out to California and to a job in marketing communications at IDEO. But a year later, I was writing freelance. This led to gigs with frog design, a boutique ad agency and method. Which finally feels like home.
What do you work on as the copywriter? Has your role changed over time?
I’m the only writer at method. So needless to say, I’m busy. I write our packaging copy, product and fragrance descriptions for the web, marketing communications and blog. It sounds like a lot — and it is — but the method voice is such a delight to craft. I feel like I just get to be ridiculous for a living. I literally spent one afternoon last week coming up with wood puns for a new cleaner. I certainly never get bored. Since I started a year ago, my role hasn’t changed a lot. It just seems bigger. There’s always more and more to write. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll get burnt out writing about cleaning products, but the freedom I have to be weird and push boundaries makes everyday feel different — and not very much like writing about cleaning products.
How would you describe the Method voice? Where does it come from?
We always say the method voice is like a conversation with a funny friend — if your friend only talked about cleaning products. So I guess my job is officially to be that friend, but the voice has been consistent since the beginning. If anything, I think we’re getting closer and closer to what it was always intended to be — quirky, irreverent and skating the line ever so slightly.
Speaking of quirky, my favorite line is “cleans like a mother.” It’s risky in a good way. What are some of your favorites?
Risky in a good way is exactly what it is! That’s why it’s such a joy to craft. We have some great legacy one-liners, like “cleans like heck, smells like heaven” and “this beauty is a beast.” But I think my favorite is “we fight dirty.” I mean, the only thing better than a double entendre is a triple entendre, right?
A lot of times there’s only one writer in the in-house creative department. (That’s my situation too.) What are the good and bad parts of being the sole writer?
Being the only writer can be overwhelming, but ultimately it’s incredibly satisfying. I feel a lot of ownership and I’ve really become a bit protective of the voice. I’ve never thought of myself as a control freak, but once you’re given the reins, it’s hard not to want to hold onto them really tightly. Gosh, maybe I do need some kind of writing partner to help me relax a little.
Do you do the product naming too? Please say yes. They’re so fun.
I wish I could take credit for those pearls, like “lil’ bowl blu” and “smarty dish,” but unfortunately they’ve been around longer than I have. The majority of our product names are actually pretty straightforward these days. We tend to reserve witticisms for the back of packaging...
Read the rest over on Camp Copy!