You may recall this 2009 AdFreak story about freelance copywriter Lawson Clarke's efforts at self-promotion, which involved crafting the uber-masculine persona known as Male Copywriter and exquisitely re-creating the famous April 1972 centerfold of Cosmopolitan magazine starring a naked Burt Reynolds.
Well, after holding down some full-time agency jobs, including one at Hill Holliday, Clarke is jumping back into the freelance life. And so, he's launching Male Copywriter 2.0—a reskinning (so to speak) of his portfolio site that includes a whole new video of himself in various states of undress.
Check out the video here:
Clarke—whom we first wrote about way back in 2004, when he happened to be the very first Straight Guy in Bravo's pilot episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy—is obviously keeping the Burt Reynolds thing going as a branding device. (Any brand has to be consistent, after all.) But he also takes the new video in some disturbing new directions, including what could be construed as a Donny Deutsch impression.
In fact, though, we learned during a chat over email that the real inspiration for Clark's updated persona came from abroad. Check out our Q&A below, in which Clarke also talks about shooting the video and whether he actually got his belly betton pierced for real.
AdFreak: It looks like you're doubling down on the not-wearing-clothes thing. Do you find potential clients are pretty into that look?
Lawson Clarke: Let's just chalk up the nudity as an existing brand asset. My goal was essentially the same as it was when I launched the original Malecopywriter.com. I simply wanted to produce something that would make me laugh if it ever popped up on my computer. There are hundreds of incredibly talented creatives in our industry, so the challenge as a freelancer is to make your work stand out in an incredibly crowded field. As utterly ridiculous as it may seem on the surface, it's really just a calculated risk. Of course, there's always the chance I could be joking myself right out of a career.
Last time, you paid homage to Burt Reynolds in Cosmo. What are the inspirations this time?
When I first launched Malecopywriter.com, I thought it would be funny to pay tribute to the most masculine man I could think of, Burt Reynolds. This time around I figured I needed to up the ante on the risk factor. So I decided to poke fun at Vladimir Putin. Putin's the perfect combination of over-the-top masculinity and swagger, plus making fun of him is always good for a few laughs. That is, until I'm mysteriously poisoned by a radioactive isotope.
Did you actually get your belly button pierced?
Oh, yeah. That actually happened. It took a while for me to find someone who'd essentially stab me with a needle for a joke, because, as it turns out, professional body piercers don't have the best senses of humor. Go figure. I actually kind of liked the way the cherries turned out, but the guy told me I'd be insane to leave it in. According to the piercer, the cherries would get stuck in everything I owned: clothes, towels, sheets, etc. I guess there's a reason you only see strippers with dangling navel rings.
Tell me a little bit about shooting this video. It must have been uncomfortable for all involved.
It's one thing when you pay people to shoot you in various states of undress, but everyone on this production was essentially working for free. So they really only have themselves to blame. But in all seriousness, I can't thank everyone enough for helping me out with this ridiculous project. The only people I felt bad for were the pony ride people who showed up to my house thinking it was a kid's party.
What should prospective clients know about you that isn't on your new portfolio site?
I think they have all the information they need to make a decision. If they're turned off by my portfolio site, chances are we wouldn't be a good fit anyway.
Creative Director: Lawson Clarke
Art Director: Jude Senese
Web Design: Rafael Feliz
Producer: Whitney Bogosian
Director of Photography: Tim Mollen
Editor: Michael Reuter
Colorist: Chalie Coffou
Animator: Marcio Lima