Ad Copy Examples: 112 Greatest Ads Written by 15 Hall of Fame Copywriters

Ad Copy Examples: 112 Greatest Ads Written by 15 Hall of Fame Copywriters

Recently an email dropped into my mailbox. It was from Drayton Bird – one of the top gun copywriters in the world today.

The example given in that email is hilarious. But it also makes it plain clear why you need to study the following 112 ad copy examples.

But at first, let me tell you what Drayton Bird wrote.

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In his email, the world famous copywriter told about one particular ad, which once ran on the London Underground. It was a poster that belonged to Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). It read:

“We’re here to make advertising better. Not to make better advertising. (Sorry.)”

Now… What do you think?

The advertisement is clever, do you agree? After all, they clearly seem to play with words in a smart way, don’t they?

However, listen what Drayton Bird has to say about the ad:

“This is what I call “creative masturbation” – produced entirely to please the writer, with no discernible purpose whatever. It does absolutely nothing to satisfy the question in every reader’s mind: “What’s in it for me?”

If you study advertising, you quickly discover that most of the ads are bad (or just terrible). A big part of the advertisers don’t have a clue what they do. Clearly, they have not taken even 5 minutes to study the basic rules of successful advertising.

Let me prove it to you.

John Caples – one of the best copywriting geniuses of all time, writes about “clever” headlines:

“Avoid the “too smart” headline. Instead of making the readers want to buy, it simply makes them exclaim, “How clever!””

Also, he says this:

“Often: Ads are neither clever nor effective. The headline, trying to be smart, may turn out to be obscure and fail to attract readers. Those who read realize that the copywriter has tried to be funny and has failed.”

Now listen up! That is one of the first and most fundamental rules you learn right at the beginning of your advertising adventure.

Therefore, my question is – Have not these ASA guys learned about it? Have they never studied John Caples or Claude Hopkins?

I leave you to guess.

That’s why I put together this fantastic list of 112 ad copy examples written by 15 Hall of Fame copywriters.

I don’t want to fail. You don’t want to fail either, do you?

To avoid the grave mistakes of others, you have here such an excellent collection of the best ads to read and study.

Not only that. At the end of the post, I give you a simple task to help you improve your advertising skills even further. Don’t skip it.

OK. Here we go…

1. John Caples (1900-1990)

John Caples, one of the most famous copywriters of all time and “The Hall-of-Fame copywriter”. Also, he was a pioneer in applying scientific methods to advertising. Not only that, but he also wrote one of the most famous advertising headlines of all time (“They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano But When I Started to Play!”)

2. Robert Collier (1885 – 1950)

Robert Collier – “Mail Order Advertising Genius,” “Marketing Master,” and “the greatest sales letter writer of all time.” Also, Robert Collier is the author of the brilliant advertising textbook “The Robert Collier Letter Book.” That is by far the best book on writing sales copy. Most of Robert Collier’s mail order ads are collected in that book.

3. Claude Hopkins (1866-1932)

Claude Hopkins – the legend of advertising and one of the great advertising pioneers. Also, the author of the must read advertising textbook “Scientific Advertising.”

5. Eugene M. Schwartz (1927 – 1995)

Eugene M. Schwartz – another legendary copywriter and Direct Marketing genius. The author of “Breakthrough Advertising” and one of the highest-paid copywriters of the 1950s and 60s.

6. Victor Schwab (1898 – 1980)

Victor Schwab – Marketing Master and a copy research pioneer, he is one of the most famous direct marketing (DM) copywriters of all time.

7. Gary Halbert (1939 – 2007)

Gary Halbert – “The Prince of Print,” “The World’s Greatest Copywriter,” “Godfather of copy that sells,” “Ace of Space… ” Also, Gary Halbert was one of the most in-depth marketing educators in history.

“He single-handedly changed the nature of modern direct response advertising,” says John Carlton, “… and through his teachings, spawned three generations (and still counting) of rabble-rousing entrepreneurs and marketers who continue to force the business world to bend to their will.

8. John Carlton

John Carlton – the most respected and ripped-off marketing guru alive. He is yet another living legend and often referred as “the most respected writing teacher alive.”

9. Jay Abraham (1949 – )

Jay is a Genius,” “America’s #1 marketing wizard.” Or, as Stephen R. Covey puts it, ” Jay is one of the greatest business and marketing minds I’ve ever known.”

10. Gary Bencivenga (1958 – )

Gary Bencivenga – Hall of Fame copywriter who is also considered as “the America’s Best Copywriter,” “World’s greatest copywriter,” “Best copywriter in the world,” “The Michelangelo of direct mail copywriting,” “Olympian copywriter,” etc., etc.

11. Howard Gossage (1917 – 1969)

Howard Gossage – advertising innovator from 1960s. He is also known as advertising’s best storyteller and often referred as “The Socrates of San Francisco.”

12. Joe Karbo (1925 – 1980)

Joe Karbo is one of the greatest mail order book writer and self-publisher of all time.

13. Maxwell (Max) Sackheim (1890 – 1982)

Max Sackheim – “Tough-as-sandpaper copy chief” (Gary Bencivenga) and the author of the most effective headline in the history of advertising (“Do You Make These Mistakes in English?”)

14. Benjamin D. Suarez (1942 – )

Founder and president of Suarez Corp. Industries (SCI). The author of “Seven Steps to Freedom II: How to Escape the American Rat Race.”

15. Joseph (Joe) Sugarman (1938 – )

Joe Sugarman – The Genius, the legendary copywriter, and the marketing innovator. The “Mail Order Maverick” (New York Times). “Direct Marketing Man of the Year” in 1979.

Your Task:

I suspect you found the list above very helpful. So, therefore, here is what I would like for you to do:

  1. Download these ad copy examples. Create your personal copywriting swipe file.
  2. Take any one of those amazing ads and, using your own handwriting, copy them out word-for-word into your notebook.

Yes, do it. Hey, listen. Don’t skip it.

I ask you this:

Do you want to master the art of copywriting? Do you wish to learn how to write (and persuade) better?

Now listen up: If you want to get that “gut understanding” of it, then you must do it. There are no shortcuts.

I took the pain to provide you 112 proven ads from 15 legendary copywriters. You can start right now. Just pick an ad of your choice and copy it out in your own handwriting.

You will be amazed how much you learn that way.

But not only that. Even more importantly, you will “program” yourself to think the way how the best copywriters think. Try it out.

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Did you find the list of ads excellent? What other ads you think should be included here? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Thank you.

Image Source: By Alf van Beem (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons



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