Interview with Copywriter Bryan McCarty

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We had a chance to visit with Bryan McCarty, copywriter for Mudd Advertising and Founder of 319 Crew Clothing.

So, you're a copywriter. What's your special sauce that makes people give a crap about what you're saying?

It's not what I'm saying, it's what I'm NOT saying. Too often, we (ad folks) try to jam sexy, inspirational words down people's throats. The real challenge, in my opinion, is to be simple and straightforward. Human to human. Real. Genuine. Plain. If we can do all that, well, that's a good start to any conversation.

Copywriters think they are the creatives. Art directors think they are the creatives. Who's right?

I think all creatives should hang together and take over the world. The real battle is with those damn AE's, and that, my friend, is a battle we were born for!

Audi & Washington Redskins Hometown Partnership from Bryan McCarty on Vimeo.

Tell us about some of the best work you've ever done.

Some of the best work I've done in my career so far would be the work we do for Kaplan Higher Education. It might not win any fancy awards, but it works. Kaplan cares about the leads coming in for their 90 campuses across the country. Month after month, that's what our creative gives them. When a campaign clearly exceeds the client's objective, that is solid work.

Other than that, I'd say some of the most fun writing I've done has been for a joke punk band I yell in called Knuckle Sandwich. We write songs about inside jokes from high school, riding your bike and supporting local restaurants.

You're waiting for the ideal client to walk into your conference room. The door opens. Who is it and what do they say?

That client would be some small mom + pop local coffee shop. Maybe they inherited a large amount of money and decide they want to blow it all on advertising. I'd ask 'em for a large soy hot chocolate and I'd say, let's do this. All the big brands are already famous - big shops do crazy work for them. I'd rather create some change and run with the little guy - quote from Jones Soda.

What would you tell someone out there in the executive suites to look for if they wanted to see the difference between good copywriting and bad?

Good copywriters play well with others. Art directors love them, CD's always want them on their team and the account folks love bringing them to pitches. If your writing can do all that, he/she is on the right path!

University of Northern Iowa - This is PantherTown from Bryan McCarty on Vimeo.

The creative scene in Iowa. Good? Bad? Both? Why?

To be honest, I think it kinda sucks. Seems like all the agencies hate each other and are constantly fighting over the same pro-bono client just so they can give work away and slap a logo on their site. Where's the collaboration and sharing of ideas? When's the last time several agencies have gotten together just to talk shop and learn from each other? If we can start thinking of our state as a true creative community, that would be rad. And I think we'll eventually get there. Sites like The Egotist are leading the way, so that's good. At the end of the day though, we gotta stay positive and look out for each other. We lose a lot of young creatives to large cities... Heck, I did it... for some odd reason though, I came back. If we don't step up our game and show some respect for the young ad slingers, we will lose all of them to Colorado (there's a grip of Iowans in Colorado).

Coke or Pepsi and why?

Water, don't drink caffeine.


One of the best right here. The kid is working from the heart.

really liked his answer to "The creative scene in Iowa. Good? Bad? Both? Why?" and couldn't agree more. Nice interview and great work!

We especially liked the fact that he lived in Denver and had been a fan of the Denver Egotist. We're hoping Bryan can help contribute to making the creative scene in Iowa better!

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