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Like any form of writing, copywriting becomes difficult when you don’t have inspiration.
Many professional marketers and copywriters use a swipe file to ignite their creative spark in this situation. According to Henneke from Enchanting Marketing, a swipe file is a collection of copywriting examples used to improve your writing, and help you solve writer’s block.
To give you inspiration you need to tackle your next assignment, we put together these 20 examples of good copywriting to add to your swipe file. We’ll also explain what you can do to apply the techniques used in each example.
This template bundle includes templates for a variety of different projects that involve copy.
Kicking off your next draft, whether it’s a social campaign, blog post, or an advertisement, will be a breeze when you refer to our template bundle. You’ll be creating compelling, traffic-worthy content in no time.
One of the most referenced ads in copywriting dates back to nearly a century ago. Published in 1927, “They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano – But When I Started to Play!” by John Caples, marketed the U.S. School of Music’s lessons.
The U.S. School of Music ad implements plenty of techniques that you’ll find used in copywriting today. It uses a cliffhanger in the headline that entices the reader to learn more about the rest of the story. This ad also features a compelling call to action that appeals to the customer’s values and establishes a clear conversion.
Most importantly, it taps into human emotions and keeps the reader engaged using storytelling.
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged brands to do their part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In April 2020, Nike ran their Play for the World video advertisement that encouraged customers to stay home.
As a sportswear and equipment brand, Nike appeals to their audience by connecting to their desires for self-improvement and athletic success. You’ll often see their ads using punchy copy that urges action.
Nike leaned into their customers’ values to stress the importance of social distancing. They framed staying at home as “playing for the world” — reworking a competitive mindset into a compassionate one.
As part of their dedication to doing good, Innocent Drinks uses recycled material in their packaging. This page breaks down their approach to plastic bottles.
Innocent Drinks outlines clear sections in their copy that cover the past, present, and future of their packaging. They also define their mission in the page’s first sentence.
If you’ve ever read Old Spice product packaging, you know the brand’s flair for humor. Old Spice takes that attitude to the internet on their website’s home page.
Many retail home pages only have so many words to get their message across, and Old Spice makes each of them fun. Old Spice uses its tongue-in-cheek uber-masculinity to describe its bundled discounts with the statement “Buy a manly amount and save money.” They frame their shopping calls to action as getting more “awesomeness” and “good smellingness” than ever before.
Everlane sells ethically made, sustainable clothing and accessories. The category page for their shoes explains the materials and steps that go into making their sneakers.
As a brand focused on transparency and accountability, Everlane has an audience focused on the processes behind their products. They answer their customers’ call for responsibility by detailing the materials and steps used to give their sneakers a low environmental impact.
The country of Georgia has a large population of street dogs due to abandonment. To raise awareness about this issue, agency Saatchi & Saatchi created this print ad.
This ad uses few words and structured copy to communicate a world of ideas. The phrase, “Till ___ do us part,” emphasizes the lifelong nature of pet ownership. Meanwhile, the potential obstacles to ownership contrast this saying, and make the reader think before adopting.
Saatchi & Saatchi’s text placement on a compelling picture of a dog adds the finishing touch.
How do you include potential customers if they can’t make it to one of your events? Campaign Monitor sent an email with helpful resources to list members who didn’t attend their Marketing & Mixology event.
Campaign Monitor used a technique that we’ll call compassionate FOMO (fear of missing out). They implied what the reader missed, while making them feel included, by sharing resources relevant to the topics they covered at the event.
The Ad Council’s “Because of You” campaign challenges teens to think about their impact on others. It features a website that includes all of the campaign’s video ads and a self-quiz.
While the “Because of You” website has plenty of inspiring copy, we’d like to focus on its “Be the Change” section. It encourages self-reflection by having the reader answer questions about their actions.
In July 2020, Ford introduced the newest generation of Broncos in decades. They crafted this Instagram post as part of their lead-up to its release.
This example of social media copy sets itself apart through its succinct language. Ford’s fans have been looking forward to new Broncos for years, so the image best speaks for itself.
The post uses Ford’s unifying message for the addition of the Bronco Sport to the two-door and four-door versions — “Three’s a family.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the online business directory, Thumbtack, sent an email presenting their clients’ lessons — available to customers stuck at home.
This example of email marketing shows the importance of relevance in writing emails that convert. It identifies the reader’s current problem and provides an accessible solution.
The website, Vintage Guitar and Bass, describes ad copy from 1977 for the Gibson Ripper and Gibson G3 bass guitars.
Gibson’s ad for the Ripper and G3 establishes the brand as an authority and cites famous customers, like Elton John. When releasing these instruments, Gibson knew they were taking a risk, so they addressed the reader’s potential concerns by sharing their support from well-known musicians.
Amazon ran this TV ad as part of their “Showhole” campaign for the Amazon Fire TV. It defines the feeling you get after finishing a TV show you like as a “showhole.”
Amazon found a specific problem that their customers had and defined it using new language.
The “Showhole” campaign’s copy made an impression on TV fans. A couple of years after the ad aired, you can still see Twitter users using the hashtag to describe their post-bingeing experience.
A series of web ads for Translators Without Borders demonstrates the importance of accurate translation during a health crisis.
The Translators Without Borders go beyond the principle of “show, don’t tell” by showing and telling.
Their animated ads demonstrate the confusion that can happen with similar words in different languages, then show examples of COVID-19-related translations. Meanwhile, their static ads have COVID-19-related translations in lesser-known languages, like Mandara and Bangla, to show the organization’s capabilities.
After succinctly showing us these concepts, the ads then directly tell us to donate as their call to action.
This video ad for the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation acts as a foundation for their “New, New Frontier” campaign. The campaign urges citizens to define their own “New Frontier” for the modern age. The Martin Agency created this ad campaign for the foundation.
Interestingly enough, the agency who wrote the video copy for this ad only needed to write the call to action — the rest comes from John F. Kennedy himself. The majority of the video copy comes from his famous “New Frontier” speech.
To reframe John F. Kennedy’s words for the historic challenges facing the United States in 2020, the Martin Agency relied on sharp typography and graphics.
“You are not here to do what has already been done.” This Apple print ad from 1997 features a single sentence and a picture of the Create button from the Mac OS.
Apple transformed its approach to advertising when Steve Jobs returned to the company as CEO in 1997. Their print ads, like those in the “Think Different” campaign, began to rely on minimalist copy that inspired the reader to create.
This ad uses an even more simplistic approach than the “Think Different” ads by letting the Mac OS interface speak for itself. With a single button and cursor, it inspires the reader to create with a Mac. It turns a feature into a benefit by providing a new perspective on their OS.
We have an example from our own website — the landing page for our 10x-Marketing Formula book. This page has been very successful at converting potential buyers.
The page starts with an ultimatum — get marketing results, or fall behind. We followed that statement with a snappy call to action. To define our offering, we provided a quick summary of the book’s three sections.
At the bottom of the landing page, you’ll see testimonials from thought leaders, like the founders of Airstory and the Content Marketing Institute.
BrewDog introduced its Double Punk IPA to Twitter with a strong statement and a video.
If you’ve ever written Twitter copy, you know that you only have so many characters to make a point. BrewDog relies on this sentence structure to give their short message power:
Subject, description. Subject, description. Call to action.
The tweet also calls back to their popular Punk IPA by referring to the “beer that started it all”.
Aww. This Instagram caption purr-fectly complements its furry star.
Instagram has a heavy focus on visuals, but you still need to write a caption that sells. LaCroix shared a picture from another account and emphasized their product’s appearance in it. Thanks to the playful matter of the subject, they could add a pun and some emoji without making eyes roll.
RXBAR packaging features an iconic list of the bar’s main ingredients, setting it apart in energy bar marketing. You can see some examples on their protein bars product page.
In 2017, RXBAR’s packaging won the company an Inc. Design Award in 2017. When RXBAR desperately needed a rebrand, the founders moved their pitch of whole-food ingredients to the front of the bar. They wanted to stick to their values of transparency and directness, and the design choice paid off.
Threadless sells apparel, accessories, and decor that feature community-made designs. This Facebook post highlights one of those designs.
This post sums up the design in three cheeky words — “Life’s a pitch.” It highlights one of their creative products with a touch of wordplay.
We hope that these examples of copywriting inspired your creativity for your next project. Whether you’re brand new to copywriting or consider yourself a veteran, everyone needs a creative spark now and then.
Best of luck with your next copywriting project!
September 10, 2020
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