The concept, obviously. You can’t write a campaign until you have a concept. But then again, sometimes the act of writing leads to the concept.
So it’s not always as straightforward as it seems. And that’s before you get the designer involved, who will invariably insist that the true origin of any concept is a mood board on Pinterest.
But what do designers know.
Anyway, whether you fall in the copy-comes-first camp or the concept-comes-first camp, it’s important that you can do both. That you can write all kinds of copy. Short copy, long copy, scannable digital copy, conversational film copy, social copy that’s not meant to sound like copy.
At the same time, you need to be able to use lateral thinking to come up with concepts that are so good, so unexpected, other copywriters will whinge about your work while wondering how the heck you did it.
Sound like you? Then take your copy and your concepts, in whichever order you choose, to an agency that offers the kind of clients and briefs that made you want to do advertising in the first place.