The most famous copywriters are the ones that have created some of the most iconic slogans in advertising history, such as “Just Do It” for Nike or “Have a Coke and Smile” for Coca-Cola. They sell products by tapping into our emotions, but they also understand how to tell a story.
These 17 most famous copywriters will teach you how to craft your perfect tagline.
1. Claude Hopkins
Claude Hopkins was a pioneer in the advertising industry, and he is most famous for his campaigns for Palmolive soap.
He has written several books on advertising, such as Scientific Advertising (1923) and My Life in Advertising (1965). His most notable book is perhaps Tested Ads that Sell: Guaranteed Ways to Boost Your Sales which came out after 60 years of experience in copywriting. It was published posthumously by his son Gail Hopkins. Claude Hopkins believed that we should focus more on selling our product than on it, emphasizing how vital storytelling is when creating advertisements.
2. David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy was an advertising executive most famous for his campaigns with Hathaway, Rolls-Royce, and Schweppes. He established Ogilvy & Mather in 1948, which is currently one of the world’s largest marketing communications companies.
Ogilvy wrote several books on copywriting that is still incredibly useful today, including Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963) and The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Dove Among Pigeons (1995). However, his most famous book is perhaps Ogilvy on Advertising and its revised edition titled simply David OgilvyOn Advertising(1983).
He also explains how to use some psychological tricks to sell more, such as demonstrating high quality through visuals and describing better than any other option on the market. He focuses on intriguing and persuasive headlines, using odd numbers, or writing phrases with powerful words that trigger people’s emotions.
Another one of his most famous quotes was, “The consumer is not an idiot; she is your wife.” It makes us realize why he believes we should focus most attention on selling our product instead of focusing too much attention talking about it – because consumers can see right through you if you try to make claims without backing them up with facts.
3. John Caples
John Caples was most famous for the direct mail advertisements that he wrote. Some of the most successful campaigns included those noted for Underwood Typewriter Company and Bulova watches, which remain some of the best-known print ads ever made.
He is most known for having researched to develop what has become popularly known as The Readership, Relevance, Impact (RRI) formula to determine how compelling copy would be based on its readability score, aka years of education needed to understand it.
He also believed that people are motivated by emotion more than reason, so we should focus on selling benefits instead of features when creating advertisements.
4. Eugene Schwartz
Eugene Schwartz is most famous for writing the book Breakthrough Advertising (1971) which focuses on the Persuasion Equation. This equation can calculate how many sales will be made with any ad campaign, and it is based on three factors:
How many people are aware of your product or solution?
Is there already a trial taking place among consumers?
For those who have not yet tried it, how long does it take to make up their mind about buying something?
5. Gary Bencivenga
Gary Bencivenga is most famous for his long-copy sales letters to sell cars, financial services, and real estate.
He was also a gifted marketer who would spend most of his time building relationships with other marketers to understand better what the consumer wants.
His best-selling book Persuasive Copywriting: How To Write It And Make It Sell (1992) includes some techniques that we still use today, such as how he makes claims about the product or solution based on facts instead of assumptions or opinions.
6. Ted Nicholas
Ted Nicholas was most famous for his direct mail copywriting in the 1960s and 1970s. He wrote sales letters to sell oil wells, real estate investments, and stock market tips.
His most well-known work is probably The Seven Lost Secrets of Success (1968) which he considered something like a “copywriter’s bible.” It includes many techniques, including how to write an ad based on what customers want instead of trying to convince them with features or benefits – because if they are not looking for these things, then it will be useless anyway!
He also believed that people could make decisions very quickly, so we should focus our attention on making sure we can understand everything about our advertisement without any need for further explanation.
7. Jay Conrad Levinson
Jay Conrad Levinson is most famous for writing Guerrilla Advertising (1984), which creates entertaining and fascinating advertisements. Consumers will keep looking at it even though they might not need to buy your product or solution.
He also wrote another widely popular guerrilla advertising book called The New Strategic Marketing Plan: How To Implement It And Make It Work For You (1999). This one includes how you should focus most of your time working with other people to understand better their needs instead of just trying to sell them something – because if we do not know what someone wants, then it does not matter anyway.
8. Bob Bly
Bob Bly is most known for writing copy that sells. One of the best resources available today is his 80+ book collection, including a 100-page copywriting book. In his first e-book, “How to Write More Than 1000 Words Per Hour,”. In his first e-book, “How to Write More Than 1000 Words Per Hour,”
He also runs a website where he offers free articles and information about marketing and copywriting. Over time, this site became an authority in providing relevant content with more than 400 pages worth reading at any given time.
- Top Copywriter in the World by Direct Marketing News, 2015
- Lifetime Achievement Award from New England Society of Association Executives (NESAE), 2016.
9. Joe Sugarman (Sugarman’s list of famous copywriters)
Joe Sugarman is most known for selling BluBlocker Sunglasses. He wrote a lot about his successful marketing campaigns in the book “Triggers.”
His most notable campaign was one that he ran on QVC, where he sold over $80 million worth of product within just 30 minutes. The Direct Marketing Association Hall Of Fame Award and INC 500 magazine’s Best Infomercial Producer Award followed. His other most significant work includes founding JS&A, which brought together direct response television with print media buying at a national scale while also launching The Golf Warehouse – an e-commerce retailer based in Dallas, Texas. It became the first major golf specialty retailer to sell online.
10. Jeff Walker (Walker’s list of famous copywriters)
Jeff Walker is most famous for his Product Launch Formula. Since 2008, he has helped over 18000 people launch their products and businesses. He’s also the author of many books, including “Launch,” which was named by Mike Dillard as one of the essential marketing books ever written, and “Automatic Wealth” – a New York Times bestseller.
Walker holds an MBA from Stanford University and graduated magna cum laude with honors in Economics from UCLA, where he received The George Ziegelmeyer scholarship award for high academic achievement. Jeff Walker also runs several niche sites such as NichePursuits (where you can find out about Internet Marketing news), BlackHatWorld (the most significant internet marketer community), and GSPC (a real estate investor site).
11. David Deutsch
David Deutsch is most famous for his work on the advertising campaigns of Dove, Lysol, and McDonald’s. He was once called “the world’s most influential adman” by The Wall Street Journal. David grew up in Manchester, England, but it wasn’t until he moved to New York City that he began working as a copywriter. At 24 years old, David started at Ogilvy & Mather, where one of his first accounts was American Express – I bet you’ve seen their commercials! It didn’t take long before David became an executive creative director at McCann Erickson, known today as McGarryBowen (one of my favorite agencies).
David Deutsch has won numerous awards, including Cannes Lions Grand Prix Awards for most effective campaigns for Dove Campaign For Real Beauty, Lysol No-Touch Kitchen System, and McDonald’s “You Deserve A Break Today.”
David Deutsch is no longer an advertising executive but continues to write copy today. He has written books about his experiences in the business, including “How To Make Advertising Pay,” which features interviews with David Ogilvy.
12. Joe Coleman
Joe Coleman is most famous for his work with P&G, The Clorox Company, and Papa John’s. He started at Young & Rubicam in New York City, where he worked on American Express, IBM, General Electric, and Gillette accounts, to name a few. Joe then worked at Fallon McElligott Rice (one of my favorite agencies) and Crispin Porter + Bogusky before joining McCann Worldgroup as a chief creative officer.
Many people credit much of their success to the relationships they make while advertising like one would see in Mad Men, but it all starts with having strong writing chops – whether you’re writing speeches or print ads, you need to know how to write well. Joe Coleman is one of many successful copywriters who has proven that the essential thing in advertising is writing a great ad, and he’s been doing just that for over 25 years!
Joe Coleman has won numerous awards, including Cannes Lions Grand Prix Awards for most effective campaigns for The Clorox Company “Bully” and Papa John’s “Better Ingredients.” He was also honored by Adweek as Creative Director Of The Year in 2000 after receiving three CLIO awards within six months (an awe-inspiring feat).
13. Laurence Blume
Laurence Blume is most famous for his work with Volkswagen, Johnson & Johnson, and most recently, IKEA. Larry started at DDB Worldwide, where he worked on accounts like Hertz, Kodak, and UPS before moving on to Y&R as a chief creative officer. He then went to Ogilvy North America as an executive vice president of account management, followed by a brief stint at TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles, where he was the managing director overseeing their operations in New York City (one of my favorite agencies).
As well as two CLIO Awards, Larry has won numerous awards, including a Cannes Lion Bronze Lion for the most effective campaign for VW’s “Think Small” commercial and a CLIO Award for the most compelling television commercial (“The First Years”).
14. Brian Clark
Brian Clark is most famous for his work with Microsoft, General Motors, and American Express. Then he worked at McCann Erickson (one of my favorite agencies) and Euro RSCG New York/Bloom Group USA before becoming the worldwide chief operating officer for DDB Global Interactive in 2001.
For his work on “I’m A PC,” Brian received the Cannes Gold Lion Award for most effective use of new media against another media type (since 1989).
15. Demian Farnworth
Demian Farnworth is most famous for his work with Verizon, Microsoft, and American Express. He went on to work for Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Wieden Kennedy Portland, and most recently Story Worldwide.
Demin has won numerous awards, including two National ADDY Awards – one award given to him from The One Club In America For Art Copywriting every year since 2008, along with a Clio Award for most effective use of music in an advertisement (“Life Is Like A Box Of…”).
16. Robert Collier
Robert Collier is most famous for his work with Microsoft, IBM, and American Express. Following a brief stint at Deutsch Inc. (one of my favorite agencies) and TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles, he served as executive creative director until 2000, when he became the chief marketing officer of CKS Group Worldwide.
Robert has won numerous awards, including two CLIO Awards – one award given to him from The One Club In America For Art Copywriting every year since 2008, along with a Gold Cannes Lion Award for most effective use of new media against another media type (“Every Step You Take”).
17. Tom McElligott
Tom McElligott is most famous for his work with Subaru, Quaker Oats, and, most recently, American Express. Before heading up the company’s San Francisco office in 2001, he worked at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles as an executive vice president. A year later, they appointed him chief creative officer of the worldwide branch of TBWA\ which was followed by a brief stint at Fallon McElligott Rice before he became a chief creative officer for Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
His awards include two Cannes Lions International Festival Of Creativity (one every year since 1985 from The One Club In America For Art Copywriting) and four One Show Awards (most notably “The One Show Pencil” from 1992-2000).
The copywriters I’ve shared with you today are all masters of their craft, but they also have one thing in common. They know that the best way to sell a product is by understanding your customer and speaking directly to them. You don’t need an MBA or years of experience in marketing–you need to know how people think when making purchasing decisions.
Hopefully, this post has given you some new insight into what makes good content great. Are there any other famous copywriters who deserve recognition? Would you please share with me below?
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