Remember that nothing you do is wrong: Hanns Segelcke on bilingual copywriting & blackout poetry.

We sat down with Hanns Segelcke — Senior Copywriter at Mozilla — in Berlin to discuss bilingual copywriting, blackout poetry and digital apparel.

“Be convinced by your idea, have high energy, and make the presentation a show. ”

What was your first creative concept?


My first creative concept was for social media. It was a video that stopped at a certain point, and the community would decide what should happen next. So it was not what you think will happen But what should happen? It was fun, goofy, and a great idea.


Do you have any ideas that you wished saw the light of day?


A machine that collects real clothes for donation and in return gives a skin for an online video game. It's a way to exchange real clothes for digital ones while doing something good.


What about your first creative role?


I got my first creative job as a copywriter by applying directly to an agency without any prior experience. I didn't know anything about trainees or junior or mid level, But I knew I could write and then I just applied and they sent me a copy test. My advice is if you're good at something, apply for it, and see if it works out.


How do you move through the creative block?


I move through creative blocks by literally moving – going somewhere else, commuting, or walking, with public transport being particularly effective for me.


How would you describe your creative process?


My creative process starts with a mind map, getting all my thoughts on paper and working with that. I believe doing too much research can hurt your perspective, because you have to remember that your audience won’t be doing all of that same research — and it's essential to stay connected to your audience.


How do you know when a concept is right?


There's a certain feeling when a concept is right. Things start falling into place, and when you show it to others, they contribute ideas that fit the concept as well.


What is the ideal brief to you?


Weirdly enough, the ideal brief for me has many boundaries, as it helps me know where to start and where to stop. This allows me to exploit the brief and think differently.


Boundaries help in letting you know about what channels will be used, the budget etc. I can then I can play with this and find loopholes — that’s the fun.


What do you do when you struggle with a brief?


I communicate with others, especially the person who wrote the brief, and try to understand it better.Because when I struggle with a brief, it's often because I haven't really understand what is the most important thing before starting anything.

How important is it to be active on a channel you are working on?


It's not necessary to be an avid user, but you should have some experience using the platform and understanding the community's communication style.


I sometimes use Instagram as a creative outlet, and I think that I use it in quite a good way — at least now anyway. I used to write short stories on it — with ten tiles with just text on it — which is a little weird but worked. 


But when I started writing blackout poetry — which is taking a piece of text and then crossing bits out to create new meaning (which is very much the opposite of writing things) — and that worked really well. It’s all about experimenting and understanding what works and what doesn’t


Do you have any advice for creatives when presenting?


Be convinced by your idea, have high energy, and make the presentation a show. Act out scripts and put emotion into your presentation to make it as real as possible for your audience.  Sometimes people can't imagine what you can imagine, so you have to bring them along on the journey with you. 


How is it to copyright in a different language?


Writing in different languages can be like working with two different systems. Sometimes, mechanics from one language can help with copywriting in another, but certain projects might require entirely new content for each language.


I did this once with a website where I wrote a website entirely in English. Then when it came to localising it in German, I noticed that it didn’t really work tonally, so I wrote a new German website that was fitting more to the German tone of voice. So there is an element of juggling between two different systems,  two different sets of rules,  two different vibes if you like.


As a creative person, do you struggle to keep your ego in check?


No, I don't struggle because I recognise the privilege of this role. I earn money by writing funny headlines and when I commute to work and see people working on the streets, people driving the buses, or at the hospital, I see how lucky I am. I work eight hours a day and then I’m done, and I have fun while I’m at it.


Do you have any advice for future creatives?


Is to believe in yourself, and don't be scared to share what you do — even though it's scary. It has to be scary, it's your thing, it's your emotions that you have put into it. Just remember that nothing you do is wrong and it’s all part of the process.


Thanks Hanns!




Hanns Segelcke

This website uses cookies. By using this website and its content you accept these cookies.
Learn more