Will This Post Pass Regulatory?
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
In my dystopian future, the tyrannical government will be known simply as Regulatory. This is not because the regulatory departments of our clients are ruining my life (They aren’t!). But in my exaggerated image of my role as a 2e copywriter/strategist, they are my nemesis — in the most enjoyable sense of the word. They are the Wile E. Coyote to my Road Runner. I am the Donald Byrne to their Bobby Fischer. We are Spy v. Spy.
Damn you, Regulatory.
If you write content for biotech or pharma or any field in which companies are actually held accountable for the claims they make, you probably know what I’m talking about. You’ll write a sweet little ditty of a sentence, the kind you just want to frame and stare at for a while, basking in your own brilliance and giving the rare appreciative nod to your English degree. And then Regulatory will come back with, “Oh, but you can’t say that.” But… I… it’s… yes I, look see… no? “Nope.” Really? “‘fraid not.” Drats! Foiled again!
Of course, it’s all for the best. Regulatory doesn’t make arbitrary decisions just to quash our fancy rhetoric. It’s making calls based on calculated risks. The Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) explains, “The regulatory function is vital in making safe and effective healthcare products available worldwide. Individuals who ensure regulatory compliance and prepare submissions, as well as those whose main job function is clinical affairs or quality assurance are all considered regulatory professionals.” In other words, they’re the good guys! They’re those friends who ask, “Do you really think that’s wise?” when you’re about to jump off the roof using a bed sheet as a parachute.
Careful, but still creative.
My desire to celebrate our clients and their offerings pushes my writing outward. I want to use effusive, colorful language that communicates the manifold ways they are increasing the quality of life for countless people. But Regulatory’s desire is to ensure their company is saying only that which it can support, protecting the customer from grandiose expectations and protecting the company from legal reprisal. This pulls them inward, with a preference toward careful, studied language that cannot be misinterpreted.
This tug-of-war could become vexing if it weren’t for the fact that, ultimately, we at 2e Creative want the exact same thing that Regulatory wants: what’s best for their company. Our client. We work with some of the most exciting companies in the world, and it is easy for us to get a bit carried away. While we are adept at self-editing, knowing — at least in the back of my mind — that someone else is there to catch me if I go too far is why I feel comfortable going right up to the edge. And, personally, Regulatory makes me a better, more flexible writer. They force me to think of 17 different ways to say what I want to say. They remind me that every word has extreme weight. They up my game.