John McCreery

John McCreery

Dr. John McCreery

Ph.D. (Cornell University)

Owner-Partner, The Word Works, Ltd.

PopAnth Author, Editor, Founding Member, Writing Coach

John graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. with Honors in Philosophy in 1966 and received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University in 1973. His career includes 13 years (1983-1996) as Copywriter and International Creative Director at Hakuhodo, Japan’s second largest advertising agency. From 1994 to 2005, he was a lecturer in the faculty of the Sophia University Graduate Program in Comparative Culture, offering seminars on “Marketing in Japan” and “The Making and and Meaning of Advertising.” His book, Japanese Consumer Behavior: From Worker Bees to Wary Shoppers was published in March 2000 as part of the the ConsumAsiaN Series (Curzon Press, UK; University of Hawaii Press, USA).

PopAnth Publications

Monsters, superheroes, and babes on the cover of Space War no.29: Enchanted Planet, May 1978.

Superheroes, spaceships and thick description: Deep reading Galaxy Primes

How can we tell complex stories while writing clearly and persuasively? A deep reading of science fiction provides some clues.
Continue reading »

Camera sketch by ShakeHatThing, via DeviantArt.

Creativity, politics and perks

In his previous two posts, copywriter McCreery asked “What is creativity?” and “How does it happen?” He now addresses creativity’s politics and perks through the lens of a Canon advertisement. Continue reading »

Advertisements line the streets of Tokyo. Photo by Alessandro Baffa via Flickr.

Creativity, how does it happen?

Copywriters have to come up with a unique angle for every single advertisement they design. Where do they get their inspiration, and how do the elements of an ad come together? Continue reading »

Creativity is a messy process, and not just in getting your hands dirty. Photo by Jennifer Rensel (Flickr: Let's paint!) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Creativity, what is it?

People often think that creativity is done by creative individuals in moments of inspiration. In fact, creativity is a messy, political, social process. How are new ideas and inventions brought to light? Continue reading »

A target for advertising. By Ⅿeagan from Tulsa, OK, United States (Julie Uploaded by calliopejen1) [CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What’s a social engineer to do?

Contrary to popular belief, individual behaviour can be far more predictable than mass behaviour. Why? Because today’s technology means that advertising can be tailored to the individual. Continue reading »

Kimigayo, the national anthem of Japan. By Sakurambo, CC-BY-SA-3.0.

The curious history of Western martial music in Japan

Japan is known for its distinctive culture, but its national anthem and many other popular songs have roots in Europe. How did music make its way to Japan – and stick? Continue reading »

Too much rope? Photo by Flickr user Traveller_40

Pulling for the neighbourhood

When isn’t cooperating a cultural option? Tugs-of-war in Japan. Continue reading »

Japanese salaryman. Photo by James Justin

Cultural differences, global trends: In search of bien-être in today’s Japan

What does wellbeing mean to you? In Japan, it’s increasingly defined by the individual, not by society. Continue reading »

Lost in Translation?

Breaking through: Working with Japanese creatives

How hard can it be to work in Japanese advertising, anyway? Very, when things get lost in translation. Continue reading »

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