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If you want to be a good copywriter, do the copy work...
A method for learning how to be a copywriter.
People sell courses to future copywriters and marketers that teach them this. Hand copy famous advertising writing and campaigns in order to:
improve their skills and create successful campaigns
best understand the structure, impact and messaging intent
to learn from the great copywriters
How to do it?
Either grab a pen and paper and start copying by hand a piece of advertising copy. Or type some ads on your computer and get the benefits of this practice.
Who uses this method?
Many of the legendary ad people you’ve heard about:
Gary Halbert - Legendary direct response copywriter
Ray Edwards - Author and copywriter
Neville Medhora - Founder of Kopywriting Kourse
John Carlton - Marketing and advertising copywriter
David Ogilvy - Advertising tycoon and copywriting pioneer
Bob Bly - Freelance copywriter and author
Jay Abraham - Business consultant and copywriter
Dan Kennedy - Marketing consultant and copywriter
Eugene Schwartz - Advertising copywriter and author
Some current proponents of Copy Work:
Joanna Wiebe - Founder of Copyhackers
Laura Belgray - Founder of Talking Shrimp
Ashlyn Carter - Copywriter and author
Brittany McBean - Copywriter and coach
Kira Hug - Copywriter and consultant
Eddie Shleyner - Copywriter and founder of VeryGoodCopy
Sam Parr - Founder and past writer of the Hustle newsletter
Hillary Weiss - Copywriter and messaging strategist
Ry Schwartz - Copywriter and coach
Alex Cattoni - Copywriter and founder of The Copy Posse
Tarzan Kay - Copywriter and launch strategist
Where to Start?
As you copy, be aware of the language of persuasion being used. The style - Is it short words, sentences, and paragraphs? Is it easy to understand? If I were in Grade 8 could I easily understand what the writing was saying? Are the headlines worth 80% of the whole?
You may want to copy these more than once. As you find interesting and well written pieces of copy on the internet, copy and paste them into a file for future copy work.
Here are some resources for you to copy, by hand or keyboard.
Apple's "Think Different" campaign:
Apple's iconic "Think Different" campaign featured a series of print and television ads that celebrated creativity and innovation. The copy was simple and powerful, featuring short sentences and bold statements that captured the essence of the brand. And a great copy work example to start with:
“Here's to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some may see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do”.
© 1997 Apple Computer, Inc.
They didn’t mention the eyepatch in the ads. It was a prop that people would relate to the ad whenever they saw an eyepatch. The eyepatch was meant to symbolize high class. And a story the reader could write in their own minds. How did he get the eyepatch? What kind of job does this guy do? It’s there to pique curiosity. Similar to the Dos Equis' ads: "The Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign.
The man in the Hathaway Shirt - by David Ogilvy
“American MEN are beginning to realize that it is ridiculous to buy good suits and then spoil the effect by wearing an ordinary, mass-produced shirt. Hence the growing popularity of HATHAWAY shirts, which are in a class by themselves.
HATHAWAY shirts wear infinitely longer - a matter of years. They make you look younger and more distinguished, because of the subtle way HATHAWAY cut collars. The whole shirt is tailored more generously, and is therefore more comfortable. The tails are longer, and stay in your trousers.The buttons are mother-of-pearl. Even the stitching has an anti-bellum elegance about it.
Above all, HATHAWAY make their shirts of remarkable fabrics, collected from the four corners of the earth - Viyella and Aertex from England, woollen taffeta from Scotland, Sea Island cotton from the West Indies, hand woven madras from India, broadcloth from Manchester, linen batiste from Paris, hand blocked silks from England, exclusive cottons from the best weavers in America.You will get a great deal of quiet satisfaction out of wearing shirts which are in such impeccable taste.
HATHAWAY shirts are made by a small company of dedicated craftsmen in the little town of Waterville, Maine. They have been at it, man and boy, for one hundred and fifteen years.
At better stores everywhere, or write C.F. Hathaway, Waterville, Maine, for the name of your nearest store.In New York, telephone…Prices from $5.50 to $25.00.
© Hathaway Shirts
Volkswagen's "Think Small" campaign
Volkswagen's "Think Small" campaign was a groundbreaking example of how to turn a weakness into a strength. The copy was witty and self-deprecating, acknowledging the small size of the car while highlighting its benefits.
Presenting America’s slowest fastback.
There are some new cars around with very streamlined roofs.
But they are not Volkswagons.
They are called fastbacks, and some of them are named after fish.
You can tell them from Volkswagons because a VW won’t go over 72 mph. (Even though the speedometer shows a wildly optimistic top speed of 90.)
So you can easily break almost any speed law in the country in a VW.
And you can also cruise right past gas stations, repair shops, and tire stores.
The VW engine may not be the fastest, but it’s among the most advanced. It’s made of magnesium alloy (one step better than aluminum). And it’s so well machined you may never add oil between changes.
The VW engine is cooled by air, so it can never freeze or boil over. It won’t have anything to do with water. So we saw no reason to name it after a fish.
Some more fun stuff to copy would be the Billy Mays infomercial scripts:
My take of the most successful piece of advertising ever. The original was written by Martin Conroy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Conroy) for The Wall Street Journal, ran from 1975-2003, and is responsible for more than $2 billion in sales and subscriptions.
If you are looking for more stuff to copy I’ll suggest going through the following list of the Top 30 Ads according to AdAge Magazine. The copy can be found by Googling. If they are TV ads, then they may be on Youtube.
The top 30 ads according to AdAge Magazine are:
Volkswagen "Think Small" Doyle Dane Bernbach 1959
Coca-Cola "The pause that refreshes" D'Arcy Co. 1929
Marlboro The Marlboro Man Leo Burnett Co. 1955
Nike "Just Do It" Wieden & Kennedy 1988
McDonald's "You deserve a break today" Needham, Harper & Steers 1971
DeBeers "A diamond is forever" N.W. Ayer & Son 1948
Absolut Vodka The Absolut Bottle TBWA 1981
Miller Lite "Tastes great, less filling" McCann-Erickson Worldwide 1974
Clairol "Does she...or doesn't she?" Foote, Cone & Belding 1957
Avis "We try harder" Doyle Dane Bernbach 1963
Federal Express "Fast talker" Ally & Gargano 1982
Apple Computer "1984" Chiat/Day 1984
Alka-Seltzer Various ads Jack Tinker & Partners; Doyle Dane Bernbach; Wells Rich, Greene 1960s, 1970s
Pepsi-Cola "Pepsi-Cola hits the spot" Newell-Emmett Co. 1940s
Maxwell House "Good to the last drop" Ogilvy, Benson & Mather 1959
Ivory Soap "99 and 44/100% Pure" Procter & Gamble Co. 1882
American Express "Do you know me?" Ogilvy & Mather 1975
U.S. Army "Be all that you can be" N.W. Ayer & Son 1981
Anacin "Fast, fast, fast relief" Ted Bates & Co. 1952
Rolling Stone "Perception. Reality." Fallon McElligott Rice 1985
Pepsi-Cola "The Pepsi generation" Batton, Barton, Durstine & Osborn 1964
Hathaway Shirts "The man in the Hathaway shirt" Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather 1951
Burma-Shave Roadside signs in verse Allen Odell 1925
Burger King "Have it your way" BBDO 1973
Campbell Soup "Mmm mm good" BBDO 1930s
U.S. Forest Service Smokey the Bear/"Only you can prevent forest fires" Advertising Council/Foote, Cone & Belding
Budweiser "This Bud's for you" D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles 1970s
Maidenform "I dreamed I went shopping in my Maidenform bra" Norman, Craig & Kunnel 1949
Victor Talking Machine Co. "His master's voice" Francis Barraud 1901
Jordan Motor Car Co. "Somewhere west of Laramie" Edward S. (Ned) Jordan 1923
I hope you found some value today. There are guys charging up to hundreds of dollars for “courses” to basically tell what I have here. Have fun, and comment, share, and like if you liked this. Let me know if you tried this out. Peace!