Recently an email dropped into my mailbox. It was from Drayton Bird – one of the top gun copywriters in the world today.
The example in that email makes it plain clear, why you will find the following list of 112 ad copy examples extremely useful.
First of all, let me tell you what he wrote.
In his email, the world famous copywriter said about one certain advertisement, which once ran on the London Underground. That particular poster was from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and read:
“We’re here to make advertising better. Not to make better advertising. (Sorry.)”
Perhaps you think the advertisement is smart. After all, they clearly seem to play with words in a clever 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!”)
- They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano But When I Started to Play!
- They Grinned When The Waiter Spoke To Me in French – but their laughter changed to amazement at my reply
- Will your Scalp stand the FINGERNAIL TEST?
- To men who want to QUIT WORK some day
- How you can retire on $200 a month
- A PLAN FOR MEN who want to Retire on an Income
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.”
- To Housewives Who Buy Condensed Milk
- 5 Mistakes Corrected for you in a shaving cream
- This 10-Day Test Has shown millions the way to white teeth
- This Kind of Copy Costs $1,000 Per Week
- Schlitz Beer Ads
4. David Ogilvy (1911 – 1999)
- At 60 Miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock
- The man in the Hathaway shirt
- „Darling, I’m having the most extraordinary experience.“ I’m head over heels in DOVE!
- How direct response advertising can increase your sales and profits
- How to make your sales promotions more profitable
- Why Puerto Rico is the most profitable of Omark Industries’ 14 plant sites in 5 countries
- Every secret but one* is in this book
- How much should you spend on advertising?
- How to Advertise travel
- How to create industrial advertising that sells
- How to create financial advertising that sells
- How to make successful television commercials
- How to run an advertising agency
- How to create advertising that sells
- How to launch new products
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.
- Builds You A Memory In 4 Short Weeks So Powerful It Is Beyond Your Wildest Dreams Today!
- Doctor Reports New „Miracle“ Diet Cures Arthritis
- Doctors Claim New Miracle Drug Reverses Aging Process – Can Prolong Healthy Life Up to 120-150 Years of Age.
- Don’t Pay One Penny Till This Course Turns You Into A HUMAN COMPUTER!
- Do You have the Courage to Earn HALF A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR?
- FOOD IS YOUR BEST MEDICINE
- How modern Chinese Medicine helps BURN DISEASE OUT OF YOUR BODY… lying flat on your back, using nothing more than the palm of your hand! (Here you can find another version of this ad.)
- How to Live to Be a Hundred!
- If You’re Over Thirty – This is the Best Exercise You Can Do For Your Face, Your Body and Your Heart!
- Let This Machine Work On Your Mind One Evening…
- ONE DAY WITH THIS MAN COULD MAKE YOU RICH!
- Sweden’s Miracle Formula that Makes Skin Look Young Again
- The British Miracle That Creates Super Plants In the Garden – In the House
- Why Haven’t TV Owners Been Told These Facts?
- Why Models Stay Young Till Sixty!
- Your body is twice as young as you think!
- 37 ingenious SPARE-TIME BUSINESSES that require almost no investment, and net you up to $200 EXTRA INCOME every week!
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.
- Amazing New Formula From Beverly Hills Lets You Look Years Younger. Wouldn’t you like to look as young as you feel?
- An Open Letter to Every Man And Woman In America Who Wants To Have Better Sex Withought Feeling Guilty!
- At last! China revelas her 1,300 year old stay-young health secret. More amazing than acupuncture?
- Believe it or not… a clean colon is the key! „The Amazing Health Secret Of the Oldest Person In The World!“
- Coat Of Arms Letter (was mailed over 30 years to over 600 million people!)
- Free Book By 57 Year Old Swim-Suit Model Reveals A Top-Secret Way to Lose Weight… Extremely Fast!
- Gary Halbert’s Famous Dollar Letter
- High School Student Loses Alamost 600 Pounds And Now Devotes His Life to Helping Others Get Skinny!
- Hot New 4-Hour Seminar Sponsored by Key West College of Millionaires Reveals 11 Amazing Secrets That Can Make Huge Profits for Any Business in Florida… Even During the Coming Recession!
- How a New Discovery From Asia Seems To Burn Off Body Fat For Almost Everybody Who Tries It!
- How to Collect From Social Security At Any Age!
- How to get what the U.S. Government OWES YOU!
- How to keep your money from being MURDERED!
- How To Make Money With Your Credit Cards
- How YOU Can Turn Box-Tops Into Gold!
- Need More cash flow? 11 Amazing Secrets Discovered by Top Ad Expert Can Help You Make Huge Amounts of Cash… Even During A Recession!
- The Amazing Blackjack Secret Of A Las Vegas Mystery Man!
- The Amazing Diet Secret Of A Desperate Housewife
- The Amazing „Face-Lift-In-A-Jar“ Used by Hollywood Stars Who Lose Their Jobs If They Don’t Look Their Best!
- The Amazing Money-Making Secret Of A Desperate Nerd From Ohio!
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.”
- How Does An Out-Of-Shape 55 Year-Old Golfer, Crippled By Arthritis & 71 Lbs. Overweight, Still Consistently Humiliate PGA Pros In Head-To-Head Matches By Hitting Every Tee Short Further And Straighter Down The Fairway?
- How One Simple „Magic Move“ (Which You Can Easily Feed Into Your Current Swing in Just 9 Minutes, Even If You Sting At the Game Right Now) Instantly Uncorcks So Much Hidden Raw Power, Balance And Accuracy… That You Can Go Out Tomorrow And Launch A Pin-Point 230-Yard Tee Shot With A 3-Wood… FROM YOUR KNEES!
- Why Are Bigger, Stronger, Taller And Meaner Multiple-Black Belt Bad Asses Absolutely Terrified Of Challenging This Mild, Middle-Aged (And Undefeated) No-Rules Cage Fighter From Arizona?
- World Famous Street-Fighter Will Give You A FREE GUN… Just to Prove He Can Take It Away From You Bare-Handed As Easy As Candy From A Baby!
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.
- Announcing an „apprenticeship program“ for aspiring millionaires
- Announcing a direct response advertising agency that will guarantee to outpull your best ad.
- Do you make these mistakes in job interviews?
- How to launch your own business for under $1,000 and make $25,000 – $50,000 a year!
- Job Hunting? How well can YOU answer these 64 toughest interview questions?
- „Kurobuta“ pork, the red-hot foodie obsession of 2005, becomes… „The Greatest Easter Ham I’ve Ever Tasted!“ „Outrageously Juicy, Flavourful and Melt-in-Your-Mouth Tender.“
- Lies, Lies, Lies
- Shoestring businesses that you or your wife can start now and run in your spare time!
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.”
- At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in the new Land-Rover comes from the roar of the engine
- Be the First One in Your Block to Win a Kangaroo!
- New York Child Wins Kangaroo, Her First!
- Is This Your Shirt?
- Now Only You Can Save Grand Canyon From Being Flooded… For Profit.
- Shall It Be The Boston Coffee Party?
- STAND UP & BE COUNTED! Are You Pride or Profit?
- 1st International Paper Airplane Competition
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.
- A Fluke of Nature
- Airline Outrage! New gadget in hands of passangers threatens airline revenues. Some airlines ban a sale of Dynalite.
- Atari Explodes! Atarai’s new computer serious threat to Mackintosh. Will the Amiga survive?
- BoneFone – A new concept in sound technology may revolutionize the way we listen to stereo music.
- BUBBLE GUMS – A Nurse pured the Drano into a small glass and started towards me as the dentist laughed. What happened was a nightmare I’ll never forget.
- Checkbook with a brain
- Exercise Your Heart Without Beating Up Your Legs
- Home Library Computer
- “How to Control the Mind of Your Prospects And Influence Them to Buy What You’re Selling”
- IRON MAN! Families are getting back to the basics, and if you want to join the movement, there’s one essential tool you’ll need.
- MicroTV Breakthrough
- Pinball Computer Your home, apartement, or office can become an action entertainment center with America’s first commercial-home pinball machine.
- Smoke Detector With a Brain – THE NOSE
- Study with Me
- The Home Computer Revolution
- Vision Break-through When I put on the pair of glasses what I saw I could not believe. Nor will you.
I suspect you found the list above very helpful. So, therefore, here is what I would like for you to do:
- Download these ad copy examples. Create your personal copywriting swipe file.
- 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.
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.