There’s a small but vocal segment of direct marketers who say you shouldn’t waste time creating advertising.
You should just horde a bunch of successful copywriting templates, expropriate them and plug in your details.
It must be a popular message because the same copywriting teachers keep at it year after year.
The problem with this superficial approach is it may work occasionally but not over the long haul.
Every product or service is unique and deserves a dedicated and original approach. Sure, you can model successful elements of other ads but wholesale hijacking of someone else’s work is lowbrow and amateurish.
Additionally, assuming you can correctly identify a winning ad in the first place, the market may well reject your ad if it’s perceived as overly derivative. Many advertisers have had their heads handed to them trying to ride on the back of an originator’s successful campaign.
This whole strategy renders swipe files worthless.
But there’s a deeper and far more profitable use of swipefiles…beyond the mere parroting of ad copy. And with it you can…
Successfully Harness Million Dollar IDEAS
As an example, take Robert Collier’s little known ad: Yours Free..A Gift from the Richest Man in the World.
This ad, written fully 30 years before “The Secret,” shows once again there’s nothing new under the sun. But my point has nothing to do with new age thinking, the secret or the content of Robert Collier’s book, strangely titled, “The Secret of the Ages.”
It’s how an aging genius of an adman leverages off the reputation of the wealthiest man in the world.
When you begin to read this ad, you’re immediately confronted with some powerful reason why advertising. Here’s this dynamite secret and the reason it’s being let out of the bag is because the author won’t be long for this world. And he’s generous enough to share it because he wants you, the reader, to apply it so he’s charging $20 for it. He thinks if you invest money in it, you may actually do something with it. Remind yourself of this the next time you find yourself giving free advice.
The two most powerful levers in life are other people and other people’s money and Collier gets a two for one in this ad… thanks to Jean Paul Getty.
This isn’t just another one of those cases in which the premium (J.P.’s book, “The Golden Age”) is as appealing as the main product itself. It’s a calculated strategy by Robert Collier to link himself and his book to the front man, Getty.
Whatever it cost Collier to obtain the rights to J.P. Getty’s book, it was a stroke of genius.
Without it the headline collapeses.
“Yours Free, A Gift from the Wealthiest Man in the World, The Late J. Paul Getty”
Yours For $20, A Book By An Aged, Northern New Jersey Adman, Robert Collier
I wish I could tell you how this ad campaign turned out but I have no idea. I am trying to find some more ad insertions. All I know is I owe a debt of gratitude to Robert Collier for passing along this elegant idea.