Copywriting Swipe File Library

by abdoue
12 replies
Hello Warriors

An image database of over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian advertisements covering five product categories

  • Beauty and Hygiene
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Transportation
  • World War II propaganda

dated between 1911 and 1955


All You Have to Do Is Tap Into the

Power of Colloquial Words,

Phrases and Speech!


#copywriting #file #library #swipe
  • Profile picture of the author Lady_T
    I appreciate this...it got my creative juices flowing...
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    • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
      Banned
      Oh yeah! I love old press ads - everything about them - layout, copy, images. They were killer.

      I notice quite a few are from J. Walter Thompson - which used to be the world's biggest agency with offices in every major western country and some third world countries. I worked there. In the "olden days" when they took you on in the mail-room and then moved you round various departments until you found your groove.

      Every month or so they'd have a viewing of TV spots from all the other JWT offices. And they were killer. You'd walk out of the theatre totally inspired.

      But they never shared the press ads around. Don't know why. I think they may have had an in-house journal or something for that. Its a bit hazy in my memory - it was back in the Sixties after all. And you know what they say about remembering the Sixties. Um...actually, I've forgotten. Something about "If you can remember the Sixties - you weren't there".

      Thanks so much for sharing this.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Another good place to find old ads is Google Books Advanced Search ...

        Advanced Book Search

        I'm sure there's a ton of space ads from the 1970s to 1990s there.

        I recently did a search on "Green Tree Press" and found 6 space ads written by Bud Weckesser.

        You can learn more about Bud Weckesser here ...

        Bud Weckesser: Master of Case Study Marketing

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author SMazinTX
          WOW! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the words "Green Tree Press." It brought me back to my early days - in 1979, right after I started my first company in Dunkirk, NY - the original home of Green Tree Press and Bud Weckesser. I actually met him a few times and he gave me some advice on how to write a successful ad.

          Until this day I never knew I was getting advice from a copywriting legend. But I will say this - when I implemented his advice and created that first ad - I stirred up such a controversy and easily got a couple thousand dollars worth of free advertising. My new little business went from being unknown to the talk of the town.
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          • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
            Originally Posted by SMazinTX View Post

            WOW! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the words "Green Tree Press." It brought me back to my early days - in 1979, right after I started my first company in Dunkirk, NY - the original home of Green Tree Press and Bud Weckesser. I actually met him a few times and he gave me some advice on how to write a successful ad.

            Until this day I never knew I was getting advice from a copywriting legend. But I will say this - when I implemented his advice and created that first ad - I stirred up such a controversy and easily got a couple thousand dollars worth of free advertising. My new little business went from being unknown to the talk of the town.
            I'm sitting in an office at Green Tree Press, Inc. in Erie, PA as I type this. It is my last week of a consultancy contract for GTP in which I prepared a complete Independent Marketing Appraisial for GTP.

            This past summer I've spent a lot of time at Green Tree going through their 35 year archives. A couple of points. This one minor.

            Bud started his company in Akron, OH, he was a professor at Kent State University at the time. He had a friend in Dunkirk who operated the fulfillment house for him until he moved the entire operation to Erie, where it has been for the last couple of decades.

            The other point, like the poster below says, you need to know the history and details of the ad, how it actually performed, if it was a direct response ad, and you need to know the life of the ad and the product.

            I'll respond to that poster's comments below.

            Bud Weckesser started with small classifieds in the Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, went to small space ads, and then mastered the art of full page space ads. He also pioneered the ads run on the front page of the LA TIMES Classified section too.

            gjabiz
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  • Profile picture of the author frankgotgame818
    A great resource! I have been looking for examples of copy that interleave the promise, emotion and the image of the end result to the reader.

    Thank you.

    Frank C
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  • Profile picture of the author Bigsofty
    Is there any indication of which ads did well - and which were a waste of time and money?

    Swiping dud ads is not going to help anyone.



    B.
    Signature

    This man is living his dream. Are you...?
    www.copywriter-ac.com

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    • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
      Originally Posted by Bigsofty View Post

      Is there any indication of which ads did well - and which were a waste of time and money?

      Swiping dud ads is not going to help anyone.



      B.
      This is the MAJOR detail that gets left out of most swipe files. Ted Nicholas uses a one to five star rating system for his ads, he tells you which ones were successful, but even then, he leaves out important details.

      The MEDIA is just as important as the AD. An could work great in, say, the Wall Street Journal but be a total dud in another publication.

      HARD details to find. And it is significant for a copy writer to know the details too. Some are starting to argue that the PAST is dead and what worked is unimportant. Ask Dan Kennedy, a modern master, what he thinks about this "history is unimportant" type of thinking.

      So here is an example of a successful ad.

      The Headline: What is this woman doing? And a picture. You can see the ad on Bernstein's page that Alex Cohen linked to. This ad ran for over a decade, with at least 6 differetn pictures and minor changes in the copy that Bud wanted to test.

      So you know that ad was a winner, but how did it pull in various publications. It killed in the "Women's" pubs and did OK in more general publications. A variant, What is this man doing, featuring Bud instead of his wife Mary, was tested and....it sucked. So what is this woman doing ran for over a decade and sold millions of dollars of books for Green Tree Press.

      Now a more recent test by Green Tree Press made a remarkable discovery, they added ONE line of copy to the end of the ad and it REDUCED response by 20%.

      Can you guess what the one line of copy said? I bet you can if you think about it. They took this line out, and sales jumped back up to where they were before the line of copy was added.

      You are 110% right on, it does NO good to swipe from a dud ad. Even Bud Weckesser "borrowed" from the best selling ads of his day.

      gjabiz
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      • Profile picture of the author David D.
        gjabiz, can you say what the line Green Tree added was?

        Thanks!

        David
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        • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
          Originally Posted by David D. View Post

          gjabiz, can you say what the line Green Tree added was?

          Thanks!

          David
          DD makes the scene...

          And just like that, this thread got a LOT cooler.

          B <- owes you a phone call
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          • Profile picture of the author David D.
            Hey, Brian, good to hear from you, my friend!

            I keep forgetting there's a place where people discuss important things like old Green Tree ads.

            And you DO owe me a phone call.

            David

            Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

            DD makes the scene...

            And just like that, this thread got a LOT cooler.

            B <- owes you a phone call
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  • Profile picture of the author n8
    Abdoue- Great share my friend!
    Signature

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