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Get to know Copy Development

By Alyx Leeming, admin & communications executive

You’ve got an amazing idea for an ad, but you’re just not sure if it’s compliant. Sound familiar? That’s where Seb Lynch, copy development manager, comes in. It’s his job to work with you to make sure that your brilliant idea has the best possible chance to make it on screen. I sat down with Seb to find out what it’s like to run the service, and how you can get the most out of it.

First of all, how would you sum up copy development?

The service is designed to make clearances easier, faster and less stressful. If you already have a good understanding of what Clearcast thinks of your creative and your claims, then you can go into the clearance process with more confidence and not get stuck in a clearance quagmire – that’s what I like to call it. It essentially reduces the endless back and forths, because you’ve already ironed out issues in your discussions with me.

“If that claim is no good then you’ll waste your time.”

When should people use Copy Development?

You can use the service at any stage before you submit for clearance – whether that means you’ve got a vague outline of a concept or an almost-finished-script. (It’s quite rare that I commit to working on something once it’s been to clearance – it’s only occasionally I’ll do that.) The very best time is probably right at the beginning when you’re just at concept stage or you’re writing the main claim for your campaign. Maybe you’ve got nothing else but a claim that you’d like to build a campaign around, because if that claim is no good then you’ll waste your time. So, get in touch before you’re too far down the line, when you’ve still got time and flexibility to make changes and take on board what I’m advising.

What exactly do you offer?

I do face-to-face meetings, video calls or simply, written feedback on any piece of material you wish to get advice on. I can even come to your office, in fact last week I had my first in-agency meeting for 2 years! So, we’re back up and running face-to-face sessions which is probably the most productive way of working. I can also give guidance on scripts you’re using for pitches or putting into research and then if you still need my advice when you’re shooting your ad, I can come to set and give you feedback when you’re making it – this is a great option when you’re not able to write a script in advance.

How long have you been running the service for?

I’m actually in my 10th year – almost since the beginning of the service itself. Before that, I was doing clearance for 3 years. Then I took on the service, grew it, and even changed the name! It used to be called “campaign planning” and I said I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean to anyone, we don’t do media planning, so “copy development” makes more sense as it sits next to copy clearance. I thought it would mean more to people, like yeah ok, I’m part of creative development.

“I’m 100% on your side!”

So how does working on Copy Development differ from Copy Clearance?

I feel like I’m working with the clients but from the inside. It’s true, I’m 100% on your side! Everyone at Clearcast wants to get your ad on air, but I’m in a privileged position because I’ve got that extra time to focus my attention on your campaign. I’m trying to get you the best outcomes possible and because I’m working on the inside you’ve got a good chance of that happening. I can tell you what the problems are as well as how to fix them. I can tell you how to support claims and make sure everything is compliant, it’s what you pay for.

“I really like fixing stuff because I’m a fixer”

What’s your favourite thing about Copy Development?

The fact that I can have discussions about creative ideas and help to shape them in such a way that they’re going to get approved when they finish their script and submit to us. I really like fixing stuff because I’m a fixer. It’s very satisfying when I’m presented with creatives that looks like it would be impossible to get cleared for broadcast, but I work to find a way to salvage their idea and get something on air.

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22nd February 2022