The Reading List – September 2018

Presented for your amusement and intellectual enrichment: the best pieces of writing the Octopus Group Copy Team have read in the past month. Be inspired, disgusted, entertained, or a combination of the three.

How translation apps are ironing out embarrassing gaffes (Emma Woollacott, BBC News)

Interesting article on how translation apps are getting better. All to do with machine learning (naturally), as well as deep neural networks and statistical machine translation (apparently). But never mind all of that. It turns out there was also a spike in the use of Google Translate during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with fans from all over the world attempting to communicate with each other, and both ‘stadium’ and ‘beer’ high on the list of searches. Don’t you just love people? Read it now!

So you want to be a boutique hotel copywriter (Lina Abascal, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)

A funny piece from US literary journal, McSweeney’s, about copywriting for a boutique hotel chain. Strangely familiar. Read it now!

The bridge that crossed an ocean (Lauren Potts, BBC)

Remember that rumour that America thought it had bought Tower Bridge? Balderdash. London Bridge was literally falling down! Turns out moving 33,000 tonnes of stone is a brilliant PR stunt and sales hook. Read it now!

Why are good B2B copywriters so damned hard to find? (David McGuire, B2B Marketing)

The Creative Director of another B2B agency talks about why finding B2B writing talent is so hard (spoiler alert: it’s not because B2C is scooping up all the creative talent) – and why giving your business a competitive edge through words is so valuable. A matter close to our hearts, for obvious reasons! Read it now!

Turner Prize 2018 piously worthy or breaking new ground?

For the first time ever, the Turner Prize shortlist features four films – and nothing else. Addressing police brutality and queer identity, among other themes. The director of the Tate Britain calls it the most political exhibition in its history, describing it as very much ‘of our times’. But this article in the Financial Times asks whether the shortlist represents a ‘diminishing attention to painting’ – or, is simply a reflection of the direction in which art is headed. Read it now!