What do we mean when we talk about the craft of copywriting?

CR’s advertising correspondent Ben Kay muses on the crafting of copy for ads and the role this has in the wider creation of a campaign

In my experience ‘craft’ is one of those vague, ubiquitous advertising terms, like ‘graphic’, ‘human’ and ‘organic’. We all use those words as if we know their precise definitions, but if push came to shove we’d struggle to express their meanings with much accuracy. Having said that, in this instance the dictionary kindly clarifies: ‘craft’ means the faculty of making or producing with care, skill, or ingenuity.

So crafting something just means making it good. But I think it conveys something beyond that. When I think of a craftsperson, I think of some artisan toiling away under candlelight to ensure every last detail reaches perfection. But is that the reality of great copywriting?