Copywriters use their creative writing skills to come up with the wording and audio scripts which accompany visuals used an advert.

A copywriter writes the wording for advertisements and scripts for TV, film, radio and online commercials and thinks up ideas for complete advertising campaigns in all media. They gather information about the product or service and its potential customers.

Once the objectives of a particular assignment have been determined, the copy-writer and the art director team up to think out and design a campaign and decide how best the campaign objectives can be achieved by communicating this particular campaign persuasively to the target market. They may consult other advertising agency specialists and the client.

The copywriter also writes all types of promotional or informational booklets, sales promotional materials or merchandising campaign materials. The online media has opened up opportunities for copywriters to create advertising for webpages, including social media marketing and advertising, either working in an employed position or as a freelancer.

Personal Requirements

  • have an appropriate writing or journalistic-type background
  • be able to work with different styles of music
  • be creative and imaginative
  • be a clear and logical thinker
  • be able to communicate ideas in writing and in speech
  • be willing to work with and test new and unusual ideas
  • be able to work under deadline pressures
  • be willing to accept criticism

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended subjects: Creative subjects such as, ArtDesign StudiesDramatics Art


  • An ability with language especially creative writing is required 
  • If you intend studying towards a degree in Fine Art at university, you will need to a Bachelor's pass in matric. If you intend studying a diploma in an art-related field, then you will need a Diploma pass in matric.
  • Meet the admission requirements (APS) set by the university or requirements set by the college.

What to Study

Degree A BA degree majoring in Languages, Psychology, Sociology or Communication is useful, especially for research. Marketing experience is not expected, but copy-writers should have a clear understanding of the basic elements involved. Any degree, diploma or certificate in Communications or Journalism is recommended.

There is also a two-year full-time diploma course in copy-writing (one year full-time for postgraduates) offered by the Association of Advertising Agencies (AAA), as well as various advertising modules which can be completed part-time at one’s own pace. There are AAA schools in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Training is also offered by various private advertising schools.


  • advertising agencies
  • advertisers such as department stores
  • the media (radio, television, newspapers and magazines)
  • professional and trade organisations

Further Information

The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB)
Tel: (011) 463-5340

Association for Communication and Advertising South Africa 
ACA House
The Braes Office Park
cnr William Nicol Drive & Bryanston Drive
Bryanston, Johannesburg
Tel: (011) 781-2772

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a company employing copywriters
  • make an appointment to speak to a copywriter

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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