Every so often, another HUGE swipe file is introduced, today, a behemoth package of swipes for a good amount of moolah.
The thing is, unless you know the details behind the ad, these compiled swipes only tell you ads that have been run, but we don't get the full results. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
I had the gold of Ted Nicholas, he at least told you if it made money, or how it fared, and gave more detail than most swipes do, well worth the money to learn from Ted, a brilliant copy guy/marketer. I think he was one of the best role models for writers/Entrepreneurs.
Another was Bud Weckesser, of Green Tree Press. When I consulted with Green Tree, we came very close to releasing Bud's swipe file, complete with the details of when the ad ran, the results, and the tweaks or tests made on the control. Bud wrote ads that pulled in millions of dollars and Green Tree was a small shop with a handful of employees.
Another GREAT swipe file, and I was privileged to have a lot of time and opportunity to review it in detail, was Ben Suarez' swipes of every ad he ever ran, and at the time, over a Billion dollars worth of sales and an ad spend into the millions of dollars.
As someone who has spent a lifetime researching and studying ads, one thing which goes unspoken among the genius copy guys, is TIMING. I dare to heresy, and say a large part of many an Entrepreneur's success was due to timing and market, as much as their brilliant copy. Although, not to discount the copy, it may have made a difference between a dud and a star product.
Sometimes, COPY is the king, and sometimes, it is where and when as much as anything.
The take away from studying swipe files, often, is to learn of the psychology or methodology behind the ad, and/or learn the writer's style.
So, sure have yourself a lot of swipes in your home file, just be sure to understand, without the details of the ad, where and when and at what cost, the control, tweaks or tests, you are really just getting some guy's opinion because he liked the ad or just filling out his product to sell to you.
Copywriting is a powerful tool in a marketer's tool kit, just make sure the hammer used by one of the greats, is the same kind you use. That may be my worst analogy ever, however, point is, find out the details if you can about how an ad performed before you start to copy it out by hand and analyze it.
P.S. Also, today's top IM have ad spends into 6 figures, it is costly to run ads, better for small one person bands to "busk" first, and spend after you have some mastery. Running ads, even online, is not cheap when dealing with big numbers of eye balls bought.