Genius Steals

Fay Weldon, for those of you who are not familiar with her work/career, is an author who has sold a shitload of books, the most famous of which is The Life and Loves of a She-Devil.

In her early career she also worked as a copywriter, and is famous for coining the slogan ‘Go to work on an egg’.

However, in today’s Observer, she confesses that she did not actually think up the line:

‘It was one of those late nights, when the client’s rejected everything and you’re the copy chief and desperate. I flicked through some stuff from 1932 and spotted it, “Go to work on an egg”, so we put that up at the top. It didn’t sell any more eggs, of course, but everyone remembers it.’

There you go: one of the most famous slogans in the history of British advertising, and it’s nicked.

In the same newspaper (Review section), Charles Saatchi says of writing his first ad:

“I looked through copies of Farmer and Stock Breeder and Poultry World, chose some inspiring-sounding words and phrases, cobbled them together, stuck on a headline – I think I stole it from an old American advertisement – and produced “Ask the man who owns them” as a testimonial campaign…”

I think that can only encourage the rest of us to steal lines/ideas ourselves. It’s easier, quicker and there’s a good chance no one will ever find out.

Off you go.