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 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 the 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 to 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 doesn’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 others’ grave mistakes, 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 to 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 “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 the 1960s. He is also known as advertising’s best storyteller and often referred to 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 at how much you learn that way.

But not only that. You will, even more importantly, “program” yourself to think about 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



  1. Jason says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome !!!
    I have most of these ads but, I’ve discovered some special gems in this post that I can’t wait to rewrite.

    Thank You, Egon aka Legend!

  2. Marcel says:

    Hey Ergon,

    I find a “gold mine” in your post man.

    God bless you bro!!

    I will print this article! :)

    If you have something to sell or if you have a charity, just let me know that at mar*****.com

    Best regards!


  3. Robert says:

    Egon…You’ve shared a ‘vault’ or should i say a GOLDMINE of great AD Copywriting.

    Thanks for that.

    I’m busy now with learning the HIC course thru Dan LOK.

    Hand copying such examples is already a daily exercise for us.

    I’ll share with my fellow bros and sis on the course.

    Thank You.

    • Hey, Robert, and thank you for your feedback and kind words. It is encouraging indeed. Thank you very much. And thank you for sharing this article with your friends. I hope they find it useful as well.


  4. vaibhav shinde says:

    Hello Sir,

    Few of the ads are not Opening

    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.

    Airline Outrage! New gadget in hands of passangers threatens airline revenues. Some airlines ban a sale of Dynalite.

    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.

    “How to Control the Mind of Your Prospects And Influence Them to Buy What You’re Selling”

    Is This Your Shirt?

    if it is possible, please add

    • Thank you for the feedback, vaibhav. I checked and the links to these 5 ads give an error indeed. I could find Howard Gossage’s “Is This Your Shirt” so I updated the link. It should work now.

      As for the other fourd missing ads, seems to me, these ads are not available anymore. Probably some copyright stuff that prohibits publishing them. Sad.

      But I want to thank you again for your help. I appreciate it a lot :)

      God bless you,

  5. vaibhav says:

    Hey Egon,

    Thank you for this wonderful site. it’s wonderful. as I mentioned last time some of the ads are not working here is the list

    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.

    Airline Outrage! New gadget in hands of passangers threatens airline revenues. Some airlines ban a sale of Dynalite.

    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.

    “How to Control the Mind of Your Prospects And Influence Them to Buy What You’re Selling”

    Is This Your Shirt?

    • Hey, vaibhav and thank you for the comment.

      As you saw I already updated my post (I gave you a more detailed answer to your other comment).

      Thank you again for pointing it out.


  6. vaibhav says:

    Hello Sir,
    I am unable to download these ads, please tell me how to download it
    and some ads links are not available.

    • Hey, vaibhav, and thank you for asking. The easiest way to download those ads is to right-click somewhere on the ad, then from the drop down menu select “Save as.” This way you will save the whole web page (as an html file).

      As for your comment that some ads are not available… Mhm… maybe they’ve been taken down. I need to check. Do you know exactly what ads you could not open?


  7. Hi Egon,

    I can tell you why hand copying the ad helps you learn it better than simply typing it out with a keyboard. It is the action of forming each individual letter as you write. Making your brain use those motor skills reinforces in your mind what you are actually writing. THis has been known for many, many years.


    Paul Foote

    • Hey, Paul, and thank you very much for your comment and the feedback. It’s very helpful. And I personally have found that exercise /copying the ads by hand writing) extremely enjoyable as well. Somehow I learn much more by doing it than by typing. Truth be told, by typing, I have noticed, I tend to switch to autopilot.

      Also, I wanted to thank you for these two articles. I checked them and they are great.

      God bless you, sir,

  8. Hi Egon!
    Thank you very much for taking time and pain in making the roster for copywriters, and for that matter, anybody who wants to be an effective communicator.
    I found direct mailer techniques and principal squarely applies to landing pages on the internet. I am doing landing pages and A/B testing and will use techniques by legendary copywriters.
    It will also be a great idea to make a list of books copywriters must read and reread.
    My favorites are
    1) Scientific Advertising by C.C.Hopkins.
    2) Making Ads Pay – John Caples
    3) Copywriters handbook Bob Bly
    4) Elements of Style
    5) Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works- Janice (Ginny) Redish
    6)Ogilvy on advertising.
    7) Confession of Adman
    8) Don’t make me think.
    Thank you once again.
    Bhavesh Desai

    • Hey, Bhavesh, and thank you for your encouraging comment. Also, I want to thank you for the list of books you have suggested. Simply awesome. I try to find them and read asap.

      Thank you again, sir,

  9. Jacques Le-Roux says:

    Hi Eton
    Thank you for a great blog!Do you have a collection of these ads in a book or off format which can be ordered from you?
    Please let me know.
    Many thanks


    • Thank you for the comment, Jacques.

      No. I don’t have them in a book format. I just collected them from the internet and printed them out for myself. I think most (if not all) of these ads have at least some kind of copyright restrictions as well. It means, you cannot sell them. But you can download them for personal purpose and print if you want.

      Hope it helps.

  10. Mohamed Belguendouz says:

    Hi Egon.

    Jus wan to thank you for this files.

    I downloaded all copies and began today to write it out like you suggest it.

    Greeetz from switzerland

    • Hey, Mohamed, and thank you for the reply. I am glad to hear you liked the files. I have handwritten them (not all yet though) and have found it tremendously helpful. Cannot really explain why but that’s how it is. Anyway, if Gary Halbert and other top notch copywriters recommend doing it, better do it, right?

      God bless you much, sir :)

  11. Lionel says:

    Thank you very much…This is a most valuable resource for my swipe file.

    • Hi, Lionel, and thank you very much for your comment. I am happy to know you found my resource helpful. I have found these files a real treasure trove as well.

      Kind regards,

  12. Mita Galkan says:

    Hi Egon
    Whether the copying of the copy should be made manually, a pen on paper, or I can copy it to a computer. Will the result be the same for me?

    • Hi, Mita, and thank you for the feedback and the question. I’ve tried both and I can say, using pen and paper is way more efficient. And that’s what Gary Halbert emphasizes – when you use handwriting somehow it goes deeper into your brain than when you use your computer. I cannot explain it as I am not a psychologist but the same goes with reading books. It’s proven that when you read paper books your reading is more efficient and you remember more than when you read digital books.

      Gary Halbert always emphasized – this exercise must be done by using handwriting. I can tell, it really works.


  13. Hi,
    Im new to copywriting.
    What is the meaning of copy them out word-for-word ? Am i suppose to rewrite them out word by word ?
    How to use all the ads ?
    please enlighten me

    • Hi Seudo,

      Yes, you copy the advertisement of your choice word by word. It helps you a lot.

      The world is full of bad (and extremely bad) advertisements. When you learn from those, you learn the wrong way.
      On the other hand, all these advertisements listed here are written by legendary copywriters.

      Not only that. Also, all these ads have proven to be successes. They DID sell.

      To persuade better all the different parts of an advertisement must be right. Or it fails to sell.

      Some of the parts of every copy are:
      1) Headline (Crucial)
      2) Subhead
      3) Opening sentence (extremely important part of a copy)
      4) Opening paragraph (an important part again)
      5) images
      6) benefits (what does it do for me)
      7) main benefit
      8) features (of the product)
      9) proofs
      10) testimonials
      11) CTA (Call to Action – a crucial part of any ad again), etc.

      The list is not complete but you get the idea.

      If you want to learn to write more persuasive copies you must study each of those parts of a successful copy. And here, in this list above you will find 112 awesome advertisements by the best of the best copywriters in the world.

      Reading those copies is one thing. But when you copy/handwrite them word by word into your notebook, you kind like program yourself to think and write the way these legendary copywriters do it.

      Try it out. And while you do it, notice those different parts of the copy – benefits, features, testimonials, CTA, etc.

      Also, here you will find a step-by-step guide on how to get the fundamental copywriting skills under your belt ASAP.

      It is probably the best method of all. Because it is recommended by the best copywriter of all time.

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