Party City’s New Commercial Makes Local Mom Cry

Scene: Two 30-something women stand behind a table of party food, in a Party City commercial. And … action! Mom 1: This is incredible! Mom 2: Right. Mom 1: Yes! Mom 2: What is that? (pointing to a lone plate of crackers a few feet away) Mom 1: Those are some gluten-free options. Mom 2: […]

Reviewing the New England Patriots Championship Memorabilia

The best thing about having your team win the Super Bowl — other than the false sense of personal achievement and the ability to claim superiority over other metropolitan areas — is loading up on the championship booty. The hat, the sweatshirt, the DVD … the heirloom porcelain plate? Yes, the heirloom porcelain plate! And […]

A Lesson in Crisis Communication, Delivered on the Subway

When I hopped on the MBTA (our subway) recently, I wasn’t expecting to attend a master class in crisis communication. But that’s just what happened, courtesy of a congenial conductor. We’ve all been there before. You’re stuck on the airplane runway for no apparent reason. Or a line at the grocery store that hasn’t moved […]

How to Handle Prospects Who Have No Respect for Your Work

After 15 years in business, Dan and I have gotten pretty good at screening for clients who don’t seem like a good fit. Sometimes it’s a personality or subject-matter mismatch, but more often it’s because they have an unrealistic idea of budget. When there’s a financial disconnect, we respectfully explain why we can’t write their […]

Dear Ford Motor Company: Please Stop Advertising Your ‘Ford Freedom Sales Event’

I’ve written before about the downside of my love for listening to Red Sox games on the radio: the dreaded overplayed ad. Every year, there’s an ad or two that emerges as an unavoidable irritation. The problem could be a failed attempt at humor, an overly enthusiastic spokesperson or an obnoxious jingle. Whatever the case, […]

Meet Virginia, Our Newest Pen

For every 100 writers who contact us, just dying for a chance to be a Pen, only a handful makes it through our rigorous screening process. Meet one of the qualified few. As you’ll see from our Q&A below, Virginia has the right mix of experience, brains and wit. We’re pretty sure she’s a keeper. […]

Tackiness, Thy Name Is Peyton Manning

Urban Dictionary defines a corporate shill as “A person engaged in covert advertising. The shill attempts to spread buzz by personally endorsing the product in public forums with the pretense of sincerity, when in fact he is being paid for his services.” Well said, Urban Dictionary. Now is it possible to add a photo of […]

Writing Fundraising Appeals: Our Top 10 Tips

At The Hired Pens, some of our most rewarding work involves supporting the fundraising efforts of nonprofit organizations we admire — from a few of the country’s top hospitals to small, local agencies with whom we work on a pro bono basis. We’ve written enough fundraising appeals over the years to know what resonates with […]

The Grumpy Old Copywriter: Let’s Cut Back on All This ‘Curated’ Nonsense

Back in the day — dare I say, the good old days — only two things were curated: museum exhibits and ham. Oh, how times have changed. One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting with my family around the dinner table, as Dad carved away and placed a generous serving of curated ham on […]

Pardon Me, but Your Manspreading Is Infringing on My Personal Space

As I write this post, 150 new words are making their debut on Dictionary.com. This seems like a shockingly high number, but it’s actually a pretty discriminating list compared to the 1,000 going into the Oxford English Dictionary and the whopping 1,700 Merriam-Webster said “kk” to. (Which you’d know means “okay” if you got an […]