Take five…with Steve Kerneklian

This week we’re talking with Steve Kerneklian, who oversees our Creative department and writes much of the copy for our campaign communications. Let’s see what our master wordsmith has to say:

You’re House Party’s Director of Creative Services. What does that mean?

I’m a working manager, so I’m creating campaigns right along with the rest of the Creative group. And this is great, because my role involves streamlining our creative process and enabling our department to run as efficiently as possible. That and looking after day-to-day issues that arise are my main responsibilities. The Creative group here is made up of the most talented and professional staff I’ve ever worked with, so the directing I’m doing within the department isn’t necessarily pointed at them. I just ensure they’re happy — and having fun. (This is House Party, after all.)

Not every copywriter out there gets to write about parties all day. Is your job as much fun as it sounds?

House Party takes having fun very seriously. I have a lot more fun here than I’ve had in any previous job. When I’m at my computer it’s all business, though — but the business of writing about parties is more fun than some of the other jobs I’ve had (for instance, writing about credit cards at a major bank, which I did for a few years).

How has the process of writing copy for House Party campaigns changed over time?

The work we’ve done updating our digital platform recently (namely, introducing more and easier ways for users to upload great content and share it across their social channels) has brought about changes in the way we write copy for campaigns. We continue to evolve our product to find ways to drive the best experience for users and our clients. For example, the House Party site allows us to engage users through many customized activities and across whichever social channels are most relevant to our clients. This has amplified the reach of our campaigns and given applicants and hosts more ways to interact with their favorite brands and products in specific ways. I think this has really expanded how we engage with our community and invites them to discover and experience brands (online and offline) in a much broader way.

Do you have a favorite sentence or phrase you’ve come up with over the years? A beloved pun or party name, perhaps?

Party names are like my children, I couldn’t pick one as a favorite. But if you’re twisting my arm, one recent party name that jumps out for me is the SodaStream Fizz the Season House Party. I feel like that name captured the branding and the spirit of the party in a short, very creative way. (And in case you were wondering, I was not the one to come up with that name.)

Which punctuation mark could you not live without?

I try to write with a conversational tone. To me, conversations have natural pauses — some longer than others — that I don’t feel are necessarily best captured with periods. I personally find semicolons to be unfriendly. I often resort to dashes to a fault. I’m a dash addict. I know it’s not good to use them so much in online writing, because they never seem to set correctly on the page, since there’s a lot less opportunity to typeset. I come from an old-school print advertising background, where the designer/typesetter could always make my dashes look dapper. I’ve tried to stay conscious of this change in the online space, but still try to sneak a few in when I can — as you can tell probably from my responses to your questions.