10 Examples to Understand Copywriting

10 Examples to Understand Copywriting

Wondering what's the relationship between Rolls-Royce, Tai Lopez and Suicide Squad?


From printed ads, social networks and emails... to movies and video games:

Copywriting is everywhere.

I've picked 10 examples to illustrate my point and get you to understand what copywriting really is.

Read on.

The good ol' Printed Ads & TV Commercials

Copywriting was originally developed to market new products directly in printed magazines or billboards.

From making women smoke to sell Rolls-Royces, it proved itself to be a very effective way to increase sales.

Let's see 3 examples in detail.

1. "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock" by David Ogilvy (1958)

Rolls Royce "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock" by David Ogilvy (1958)

Written by advertising legend David Ogilvy, this ad was the longest running and most successful Rolls-Royce advertisement at the time. Many people consider this to be one of the greatest advertisements of all time, and Ogilvy himself said this is "my best headline ever."

This Ad is the perfect example to illustrate how copywriting can have immense impact on a business. Indeed, this campaign had a tremendous effect on sales: plus 50% over the previous year!

2. "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet" by Edward Bernays (1928)

"Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet" by Edward Bernays (1928)

Edward Bernays was a pioneer in marketing for women. After World War I, Bernays was hired by the American Tobacco Company to encourage women to start smoking. At the time only men were smoking and it was not publicly acceptable for women to smoke.

The idea was simple: if you could make women smoke too, you would double your revenue.

Bernays was one of the first to realize that people can be made to want things they don't need by playing with their unconscious desires.

And that's exactly what he did with this very successful campaign.

He probably influenced tons of women to start smoking by triggering their desire to lose weight: if you smoke a cigarette instead of eating a sweet, you will lose some weight and be more desirable to men.

Simple but powerful.

Here again you see the power of copywriting.

A simple marketing campaign was able to change was publicly acceptable.

To go further, I encourage you to check out how Edward Bernays built on the first wave of feminism to sell even more cigarettes with its slogan: "Torches of Freedom".

3. "Doctors Claim New Miracle Drug Reverses Aging Process" by Eugene Schwartz (1981)

"Doctors Claim New Miracle Drug Reverses Aging Process" by Eugene Schwartz (1981)

Again another printed ad from what people consider the best copywriter of all time: Eugene Schwartz.

This kind of copywriting is called direct mail marketing.

This is the ancestor of email marketing.

The goal was to make people send a check by mail and they would receive their product by delivery. And it has proven to be a very powerful marketing channel in the 80's.

Here specifically, Schwartz is playing with the desire of women to stay young forever.

Since there is no miracle solution to this problem, he used the authority of doctors to sell his so-called "new miracle drug".

This can sound silly but this kind of copywriting is the root of contemporary copywriting. Indeed, with the Internet, we often write for people to take action: click a button, leave their mail or buy our product.

4. "1984" by Apple (1984)

What is the difference between Apple and You name a computer company?

Some would say their products.

May be.

But definitely they do have better marketing.

This TV commercial is probably the most famous Super Bowl ad.

This is truly genius. We are in 1984. And everyone knows the plot of the great Orwell's eponym novel: people fighting against Big Brother's conformity and control.

The metaphor is simple: the introduction of the first Apple personal computer — the Macintosh — will break the IBM domination over the pc market.

The copy is simple but filled with curiosity: "And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984".

People are now teased and want to know why this Macintosh will be so different.

Needless to say this was a huge commercial success.

Modern Ads: The Tai Lopez case study

It's great to see what our grandfathers did, but let's take a look at a few examples of modern ads.

I found it more insightful to make a full case study of a web entrepreneur and see how he uses the different marketing channels to compose its funnel.

Let's study the great, the good (the bad?) Tai Lopez.

5. "Here in my garage" by Tai Lopez (2015)

You can't have missed out on this one.

Everyone who's watching YouTube on a regular basis must have found itself watching this ad until the end.

This Ad is really a perfect case study.

In less than 15s, Tai has proven his authority and teased your curiosity enough so you stay until the end.

Every single word presses on a specific psychological trigger:

  • "Maybe you've seen my TEDx talk" ⇒ I'm a legitimate guy since I'm doing TEDx talks
  • "I was in a little town across the country sleeping on a couch in a mobile home with only 47 dollars in my bank account" ⇒ I'm like you. If I could do it, you can do it.
  • "I didn't have a college degree" ⇒ You don't need education.

And it goes on and on.

This Youtube Ads is a masterpiece.

Watch it and try to understand how he structured his copy so in the end you click the link and end up on his landing page.

6. "From broke to Beverly Hills" by Tail Lopez (2020)

"From broke to Beverly Hills" by Tail Lopez (2020)

In this landing page, Tai promises to show us how he went from broke to living in Beverly Hills. That's pretty efficient since he already has proven us he is actually leaving in Beverly Hills in the previous video.

Now he has our attention, he proposes to us to reveal a secret formula in a 1h+ video.

At the end he encourages us to "start now", "today is your day".

"Click the button below and move forward" he concludes.

An interesting thing to note is that before taking our mail, he will ask "What is your biggest frustration".

Depending on the choice, he will send you a different email sequence. Pretty smart isn't it?

So this landing page is a pretty good example of copywriting: you take a qualified audience and then you push the right emotional buttons so they leave you their email.

You can check out the landing page for yourself if you want (no affiliation... but wait maybe I should 🤔)

7. "My team warned me about sending this email..." by Tai Lopez (2020)

"My team warned me about sending this email..." by Tai Lopez (2020)

Once you leave your email to Tai, he will regularly send you emails to try closing a deal with you.

That's fairly common nowadays.

But not always properly executed.

You can analyze the above mail for the Black Friday, it's pretty good.

If you're subscribed to Tai, you already may be convinced he is the solution to your problems.

However the last resistance may come to the price.

With this type of email, I'm pretty sure Tai is closing a lot of people that were in this case because the offer seems irresistible.

Again I encourage you to analyze this email to understand how it is structured.

Remember: every word has a purpose, nothing is random.

7. "Cashfloww" by Tai Lopez (2020)

"Cashfloww" by Tai Lopez (2020)

At this stage, I'm pretty sure you understand how the business of Tai is structured.

However I wanted to show you a sample of its Facebook Ads since it is a very common application of copywriting.

Here he addresses a rather hot prospect that may already know him and offers them to partner with him to make commission.

It's of course a great way to create traffic at limited risk to your funnel.

Take a look at the catchy thumbnail where it shows money and an orange lambo.

Basic but efficient.

Bonus: not ads, but still copywriting

8. Starbucks branding: the desire to belong

Starbucks branding: the desire to belong

This one is not really copywriting, but I wanted to show you how Starbucks was using this very deep psychological need we all have to sell even more coffee.

And with a $26.5 billion revenue, you can't deny it succeeded.

Do you know how they did to sell expensive, diluted coffees in Europe where the culture was rather to drink strong coffees in traditional bars?

No their coffee is not better.

No their coffee is not cheaper.

No it's not about the coffee.

It's about the feeling of belonging to the group of people who drink Starbucks.

In our imaginary, we think of people who drink Starbucks as well-dressed beautiful bourgeois that go to Starbucks to work on their Macintosh.

When we buy Starbucks, we wanna be part of this group.

We are proud to come to the office with a cup of Starbucks, showing that we can afford this luxury lifestyle.

Makes more sense right?

This is what a good branding can convey and it is the most powerful type of marketing we have at our disposal.

9. Suicide Squad Trailer: one of the greatest trailer for one of the worst movie

6/10 on IMDb, I would lie if I would recommend the movie.

It's pretty bad.

However it made $746.8 million at the box office (budget was $175 million).

And they can thank its trailer for this performance.

Let's see why this trailer was so effective at making us want to watch this movie so badly.

First it starts with one of the most iconic songs: Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen.

Then we see a girl with pink and blue hair drinking tea in jail.

Then an actor everyone loves: Will Smith.

Then a tattooed guy creating a flame in his hand.

At this point, you're hooked. You want to know more.

When the piano starts, we here the pitch of the movie:

"I want to assemble a task force of the most dangerous people on the planet."

Here we go, the trailer can start showing us all elements we want to see in this kind of "save the world" movies:

  • supernatural powers
  • jokes
  • action, explosions, guns...
  • famous actors: Will Smith, Jared Leto...
  • iconic characters: Joker (note that we see all its scenes in the trailer)

We see all those elements cadenced in music, with one promise: you'll have a great time watching those anti-heroes trying to save the world.

The movie was not actually respecting this promise according to the critics. But hey, copywriters are only responsible for the trailer 😉

10. Dead Island Trailer: one of the most beautiful "big idea" (2011)

This trailer made a lot of noise when it was released.

And it is well deserved.

The game in itself is somehow banal: you're on an island infested with zombies and you have to survive.

But the bias of the trailer is amazing.

It focuses deeply on emotion, sadness and despair instead of focusing on violence and action.

To do so, they must have had to resort to an outstanding copywriter.

The big idea: a beautiful, sorrowful piano music playing while we see in reverse motion the tragedy of a family torn apart by zombies...

Wow, that's art.

But it's mainly copywriting well executed to understand that people want to feel deep emotions while playing and not just beheading zombies.


I hope with this large panel of examples you now have a good grasp on what copywriting actually is and all the shapes it can take.

Feel free to share this (great?) article to your friends if you learned something.


Vlad Kowsky