When a large and influential energy company asked for a quote to do “light editing” of a brochure we were cautious. It was 1994. There were only a handful of English copywriters working in Israel. My boss, and mentor, knew all too well that “light editing” was secret code for “total rewrite.”She handed it to me, the wannabe copywriter. I joined her team just a few weeks before, armed with a degree from NYU, American manners, some writing talent and a lot of ambition. I concentrated on the copy, trying to ignore the management portraits. All the executives were wearing the same button-down Oxford. Some with lighter stripes, some with darker stripes, but definitely the same stripes. Photoshop (3.0) still wasn’t on every designer’s desktop. The braided “coiffure” of the only female executive was painfully distracting. She looked like a cross between Pippi Longstocking and a Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate ad gone awry. And I swear… she was wearing the same striped Oxford shirt.
There were a few typos, some grammar mistakes, and the headlines needed a bit of pizazz. And then, despite my inexperience, I knew. I walked across the office and pointed to a big, black bold headline, midway down the page on an inner spread: “Electrical Erection Department.” My boss picked up the phone, dialed the client and said, “It’s a rewrite.”