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Todd Turner hates when bios are written in third person

So I’m not going to do that.

Is it okay if we do this like an interview?

I suppose so.

First, give us a little background about who the hell you are.

I’ve been an advertising art Director and creative director and have overseen creative teams of two to fifty. Currently, I’m senior art director at OUTFRONT Media in Chicago, IL.

What’s the…

And I’m a huge Cubs fan. Make sure you put that in there.

Duly noted. What’s the story behind Wash-a-Pig?

It’s an activity that my first creative director did with our team which was inspired by Hey Whipple, Squeeze This. This was 2005, and prior to that, I had worked at design agencies that were very design-focused. The copywriting side of advertising was still new to me. It hadn’t quite clicked that my ads just weren’t as good as some of my peers’ because I was spending more time making things pretty and not enough time writing copy for good headlines or to develop a solid concept.

The activity was fun, fast, and inspiring. After doing this exercise over the years, I can come up with concepts and copy faster because I do these quick mental tricks that stem directly from Wash-a-Pig.

What kind of tricks?

The HOW cards – ways of writing – in Wash-a-Pig are always fun to play with. This about page is a good example. I toyed with just a straight bio in third person. I hate that.

Yeah, you mentioned that earlier.

Right. So I thought about writing it like a letter. “Dear website visitor…” But that didn’t go very far. Old English. “Todd Turner dost thanketh you for taking a respite at ye olde washapig.com.” Kind of exhausting. Then I thought about writing it like an interview. That would let me write conversationally and use my own voice.

Am I… Am I just a writing device?

Afraid so.

I’m putting a pin in the existential crisis I’m having right now.

This isn’t about you. Aaaaanyways. I do this exercise with my creative teams every chance I get. Usually I make up the WHAT, WHO, and HOW on the fly or write them out on index cards. In the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted to have a nice set of these cards ready to go at a moment’s notice. I finally just got off my butt and did it.

What’s the story behind the name – Wash-a-Pig?

In Hey Whipple, Luke Sullivan describes the creative process like washing a pig. You’re not really sure where to start. It’s messy. When you’re done, you second-guess whether the pig is even clean.

Fascinating. Well, Todd, thank you for your time and good luck with Wash-a-Pig.

Thank you. It has been a pleasure.

Damn right it has.