Birmingham is my adopted home, and if you’ve met me in person, you’ve probably heard me describe it as “My favourite city in the world.” There’s a vibrant marketing and creative community (on the professional side), and it’s dynamic and friendly (on the personal side).

I’ve been doing a lot of travelling North and South recently, which got me thinking…from a copywriter/marketer perspective, what are Birmingham’s quirks?

And, because I’m a copywriter, that thought process led to this Buzzfeed-style listicle.

1.     There’s great train station billboard action

Moor Street Queensway always makes me smile because of the cheeky billboard spat between Chiltern and Virgin.

Here are 2 classic examples:

A great Virgin ad in Birmingham New Street. Only a copywriter would love this!

Now that's what I call copywriting!

(Photo credit: Elliot Brown under the Creative Commons licence)

2.     You pick up on funny train announcements

Gunning Marketing works with lots of industrial, logistics and events clients, and for them, being in the West Midlands is a competitive advantage – you can get anywhere easily, and anyone can get to you.

I do lots of “getting anywhere easily,” which means I spend lots of time on trains. And my ear certainly picks up on interesting train announcement scripts. Like the one in the Virgin loos, anthropomorphising the toilet and warning you not to flush goldfish.

And then there’s the catering one, which always puzzles me: “We’re currently serving a range of hot drinks, including teas, coffees and hot chocolates…” What are the other hot drinks besides teas, coffees and hot chocolates?!?

3.     We love Digbeth – but there’s loads of creativity beyond it

Custard Factory, Impact Hub, Fazeley Studios, Brum Radio – they’re all great. But there’s lots of great work being done closer to Colmore Row and towards Moseley and Edgbaston, too. And the Jewellery Quarter is its own little hub. Gunning Marketing is in Alpha Tower off Suffolk Street Queensway, and that’s a hotbed of creative talent.

That means there’s lots of great creative networking around. Meet-Ups, Social Media Café, #copywritersunite, Birmingham Design Festival – you can easily go on a coffee shop/pub tour of the city with your copywriting compatriots.

4.     Bin-related communication is a talking point

Or lack of communication (let’s be honest).

The recurring bin strikes are a classic lesson in the importance of “Know your audience” and “Enter the conversation already going on in your prospect’s head” (Claude Hopkins’ wisdom is timeless). When your bins are overflowing, the street is strewn with rubbish and a bin lorry is rarer than a dodo bird, you don’t want the council to keep warning you:

“Please do not make duplicate reports about the same bin being missed, as this may lead to a delay in your bin being collected.”

(On the flip side, during the bin strike a couple of years ago, the rat catcher cheerily told me business had never been better…and I definitely did word-of-mouth marketing on his behalf after his successful visit.)

5.     There’s lots of copywriter love

I’m ending on a saccharine note. But it is genuinely one of the best things about being a copywriter in Birmingham. We’re a collegiate, welcoming and interesting group, regularly getting together one-to-one and in groups. We support each other. And we know that – in Birmingham’s wonderful business community – we’re making a difference, one campaign at a time.