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Mark Ford

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I was recently in the hot seat for a monthly live Twitter event organised by ProCopywriters called #ProCopyChat. It’s basically an hour where the guest fields questions about copy. It was pretty intense with chatter flying all over the shop, but it was also a lot of fun. In case you didn’t get to catch the event live, or wanted to review my answers all in one place, I thought it would be a good…

Sad news today that the great American novelist, Philip Roth, passed away. I’m a big fan of his work. He’s one of the writers who inspired me to write in the first place. At school, in English literature, I was mostly force-fed old Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy period-waffle that I just couldn’t connect with. It put me off reading at all. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I had somewhat of…

I received a nice message from copywriter Stephen Marsh this week, which sums up exactly what the aim of The UK Copy Call is. He wrote: “Just a quick note to say: I don’t usually go in for most of the ‘people talking about being copywriters’ stuff that seems to be out there right now, but UK copy call 25 was great. A decent chit-chat about copy without the thinly veiled ‘Don’t write another word…

I’m just coming to the end of a long week of meetings and presentations here in Baltimore. It’s been great to catch up with so many friends on this side of the pond and meet so many new people. I’ve met marketing experts, copywriting legends and best-selling authors… And, as ever when I make the trip over here, I’ve been able to learn a ton of new stuff about the cutting edge ideas that are…

The local shop in my village has finally figured out the perfect marriage of impulse purchase and value. There I am… Waiting for the assistant to pack my stuff and ring it through the register… And I notice them… Four Kit Kats for £1. I know I shouldn’t. But four… FOUR… for just £1. That’s damn good value. Especially when you look across the counter and realise one Kit Kat alone costs nearly 70p these…

One of my mentors, the American entrepreneur and writer Mark Ford, once taught me a simple way to improve problematic headlines using ‘the Four Us’. I’ve written about the idea many times before, but today I thought I’d put it to the test LIVE. Or rather, as I write this article. Why not, eh? Indeed, I’m going to pluck three promotions at random from the Clickbank marketplace and see if we can’t use this old school…

“Sell, or else,” pronounced legendary ad man, David Ogilvy many a decade ago. And, ever since, this unflinching commandment has been passed down from copywriter to copywriter. It’s the great leveller; the simple reminder that whatever the media, your aim remains the same: you sell, my boy, you sell if it’s the last thing you do. But is it the right aim? Or rather, is it the right message? Is the perceived wisdom of ‘a…

Ideas are irritating. Sometimes they’re right there in your face, shouting at you like an arrogant teenage kid who thinks they know best… Other times they’re nowhere to be seen, like your broke mate Steve who’s always in the toilet when it’s his round at the bar. I’ll tell you what… From now on, let’s boycott ideas. Who needs them anyway? Not me… Well. Er. Hmmm. That’s the problem. I DO need them. And so…

Legend has it that direct marketing giants Bill Bonner and Mark Ford sat down to analyse all the direct mail promotions they’d written, all those that had worked and all those that had flopped. They considered what fundamental factors the successes shared. They identified what was missing from the failures. And then they put it all together. Four elements revealed themselves. Years later, some people dismiss those four factors… they think they’re old-hat… or cliche in some…