Good copywriting is powerful.
How many times have you seen a headline, tagline or email subject line that made you think, “Dang. I wish I’d written that”?
It’s these stand-out pieces of copy that remind us how much writing is an art form. It requires talent and creativity — which, as we know, doesn’t always come easy.
Fortunately, it is possible to learn the skills required for stellar copywriting. And while classes and workshops are a great way to answer any “how to” questions you may have, there’s nothing better for inspiration than poring over the very best copywriting, from past and present marketeers.
With that in mind, let’s check out 15 examples of awesome copywriting — and what they teach us about crafting copy like a pro.
This is a masterclass in evocative writing — and that’s precisely why this ad worked. Porsche customers are known for wanting the very best, and the business used daring, provocative copy to appeal to these desires.
The copy takeaway? Many people buy on emotion, not logic. So you want to engage both heads and hearts with your copy. For instance, you can draw on different visions of success, emphasize personal benefits, show the cost of inaction, or allude to past mistakes that can be avoided or fixed with your product offering.
2. L’Oréal Paris
This social media campaign is proof that juxtaposing image with text can really grab a scroller’s attention. The copy, in particular, was effective thanks to its bold, direct approach. And the clever nod to L’Oreal’s tagline — ”Because you’re worth it” — paired with the revenue figures really hits home the benefits of gender parity in the workplace.
The copy takeaway? Say more with less. Filler copy can annoy your readers, so go for quick, snappy headlines that condense your idea into a few words. For instance, you can cut unnecessary conjunctions and remove redundant words.
In the age of serial skimming and scanning, this 2018 Kiwi print ad is a breath of fresh air — managing to capture people’s attention despite taking a long-form format. By using vivid imagery and narrative prose, readers were hooked to the story right to the end.
The copy takeaway? Great copy doesn’t live in isolation — imagery can, and should, be used as part of the message. Not only will this make your copy more interesting and memorable, but it will also help readers build a clearer picture of the benefit you have to offer.
When operating in a new or growing sector, copy often has to do an education job — helping customers understand what to expect from the brand. Recess does this brilliantly, clearing up any confusion surrounding hemp-based drinks: “Not tired, not wired”. Plus, it rhymes. Which we love.
The copy takeaway? Consider what role your copy has to play. Does it need to inform potential buyers, or do they know enough about what you do to simply be entertained? Knowing this is a crucial first step toward copywriting mastery.
How often do you come across an ad with a built-in pregnancy test that changes colour and reveals a coupon for a discount on cribs if you’re expecting?
Not that often, we’re guessing.
This ad gets an A* for uniqueness, and — unsurprisingly — it went viral. Whether people actually tried out the offer is another matter, but it’s clear that unique, attention-grabbing copy = lots of hype and interest.
The copy takeaway? You don’t have to write your copy by the book. You can break the rules of proper grammar, tone, syntax, and mechanics to create something more witty or edgy — but only if that fits with your brand tone of voice. This ad from IKEA, or any other high-end furniture store, might have felt at odds with their personality.
Business updates are not the most exciting thing to land in our inbox. They’re packed with necessary (but dull) information, and that’s just the way it works — or maybe not.
Instead of using the default updates format that most businesses use, Revolut used wordplay to update customers on the impact of Brexit. The email campaign went viral; proving that good copy really can make you stand out from the crowd.
The copy takeaway? Avoid being too stiff or formal, unless that’s how your reader likes it. Yes, it’s great to have a vast vocabulary, but big, complex, laborious words will probably put your readers to sleep.
Keep your copy punchy, throw in some humor for good measure, and make a memorable impression on your readers.
7. Jack Daniel’s
At a time when other premium drink companies were showing ads of immaculately dressed men, imbibing their drinks in luxurious surroundings, Jack Daniel’s came along with ads of men in their working clothes.
In addition to a focus on the authenticity of its distilling process, Jack Daniel’s wanted its brand story to reflect the importance of community — and the copy reflects this strategy perfectly. Today, Jack Daniel’s is the best-selling whiskey in the world and we don’t doubt the significant role copywriting played in that success.
The copy takeaway? Be an evocative storyteller. Presenting raw information in the hopes of persuading people to take action doesn’t amount to a sales strategy. You need to make your readers feel like your friends — not just people you want to buy your product or service.
8. The Economist
While slightly obnoxious, this ad is also remarkable; it does such a good job at cutting right to the heart of what The Economist is all about. Economist readers, like Porsche drivers, consider themselves a level above the rest — and the brand makes no secret of agreeing!
The copy takeaway? Know your target market and speak directly to them — even at the risk of alienating other people. Remember, “If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one.”
9. KFC UK
In what could have been a fiasco, KFC used some clever copywriting to turn things around — turning proverbial lemons into lemonade with just three letters: FCK. In addition to salvaging its reputation, this ad also generated a lot of positive publicity and goodwill.
The copy takeaway? Use your copy to humanize your brand and form stronger relationships with your customers. Being down to earth levels the playing field and appeals to customers. Suddenly, you’re not some business that’s only concerned with financial gain; you’re a friend who is caring, attentive, and accountable.
The headline will make or break your copy. And this headline made it. When Apple came onto the scene, it wanted to appeal to the creatives, dreamers, and risk-takers. This ad hit the mark by showing the target audience an out-of-this-world capability provided by the Apple computer.
The copy takeaway? Whether writing an ad, blog post, article, or ebook, you want your headline to grab a reader’s attention. You can do this by including some eye-catching statistics, playing to their curiosity, of offering additional value (saving money, learning something new, etc.) in return.
Truly persuasive copy lacks any unnecessary marketing blurb — and that’s what makes RXBar’s copy so amazing. The brand ditched the small print (how awesome is that?) and went with simple copy that conveys the brand’s passion for transparency.
The copy takeaway? Use copy to connect with your target audience’s values. If they want ‘no fuss food’, give them no fuss food. And when writing for the web (or for packaging), short phrases and simple words will connect more immediately with your readers, too.
Besides the appeal of Mailchimp’s free plan, the brand’s simple copy may have a lot to do with the brand’s popularity, too. This copy especially rocks, because it simplifies what can be a confusing new platform for some users.
The copy takeaway? If you confuse your reader, you lose them as a customer. So keep it simple. For example, instead of explaining at length all the jazzy features and functionalities your product has, concentrate on telling the reader what they will get out of using it.
13. Norwegian Airlines
This ad was a hit thanks to its timely reaction to a significant “news” story. By acting quickly, the airline was able to capitalize on one of the most talked-about celebrity breakups of 2016.
The copy takeaway? Look for an unexploited angle or hook and use it to create an engaging narrative. Blog posts and social media are especially good mediums for this, as you can get your message out there quickly, while the audience is still hungry for related content.
2 examples of best-in-class copywriting during COVID-19
Great copywriting will help grow your business — no matter the season. Here are two more great examples of copywriting, courtesy of brands that have stayed on top of their marketing game, even during the coronavirus outbreak.
14. Gold’s Gym
Amongst the flood of COVID-19-related advertising, this Gold’s Gym ad cut through the noise. Why? Because it touches on the topic, while avoiding practices that have become too cliché.
Instead of using the usual images of unattainably toned or ripped hunks and supermodels, or focusing on the closure of gyms, the ad was straightforward with minimal graphics and a clear call to action. Plus, we can all relate a little post-lockdown, right?
The copy takeaway? Your business does not exist in isolation. Your copy should reflect this; showing that you’re aware of what’s happening around you. Keep in mind, however, that the social or cultural relevance needs to genuinely align with your brand. If it doesn’t, leave it. There’s no benefit to jumping on a bandwagon, if you’ve got nothing meaningful to say.
Within hours of release, several top athletes had posted this Nike ad on their social media channels. The copy gained traction because it touched on an issue affecting the entire world — resonating with a lot of people, as a result. Better still, it felt truly aligned with Nike’s role as a sports brand. There’s no phoney bandwagon-jumping here.
The copy takeaway? Be part of the conversation, but do it sincerely and show empathy. Avoid riding a situation for visibility and engagement alone — if you do, you run the risk of receiving backlash instead of brand recognition.