Friday Copywriting Inspiration Sources

A few of the sources I’ve discovered in the last few days that could be fool-proof sources for copy inspiration (swipe files?):

Troy White, in his recent newsletter/blog post, talked about the J. Peterman catalog. My mother gets this because she loves the way the catalog looks lovingly put together. But when it comes to copywriting technique and strategy, this is a very effective approach. Here’s a snippet from the Christmas catalog:

High noon at La Côte Basque, circa 1960.

Red leather banquettes. Bright seacoast murals and bouquets. Thick silverware deployed with millimeter precision.

In the kitchen, the prep work has been going on since 6 a.m.; yes, the sauces are ready.

Babe Paley is the first to arrive, a chilled La Doucette please. Then Gloria Guinness, Diana Vreeland, C.Z. Guest, Slim Keith, Jackie and Lee…. (Well, perhaps not all at once.)

A ballet of waiters and sommeliers ensues, bites of Grand Marnier souffle and talk of indiscretions in high places. Mr. Truman Capote, surveying the scene, refers to the assembled as “the swans.”

He was a sad case, but he knew how to pick the right word.

(J. Peterman Owner’s Manual No. 71, Fall 2009)

This is the ad copy for a women’s blouse….

Another catalog inspiration I stumbled on late this summer, just after vacation. I was mindlessly flipping through a Bass Pro Shop catalog that belonged to a friend when a few of the product headlines just leapt out at me from the page. Here are a few:

“Get the same edge the pros have–brilliantly colored, ultra-flashy baits that dive to just the right depth!”

“Traditional designs that ALWAYS get results! The ultimate in simplicity…”

“Red hooks provoke vicious strikes!”

Then there are these belonging to my 10-year old nephew: Magic: The Gathering card game, his Avatar books (esp. The Last Airbender) and the 39 Clues books.

And, finally, this classic film ad for Hitchcock’s North By Northwest– very clever AND effective:

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