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on 23 September 2011
This isn't your standard "how to write great copy" book - it is an "updated" version of the 1995 book by D&AD on the art of writing for advertising. Marketing/communication professionals from agencies, in-house teams and freelancers may want to consider it.

According to the blurb, "the book features a work selection and essays by 48 leading professionals in the world, including copywriting superstars such as David Abbott, Lionel Hunt, Steve Hayden, Dan Wieden, Neil French, Mike Lescarbeau, Adrian Holmes, and Barbara Nokes." I would say 'essay' is somewhat generous. You get a couple of hundred words from each copywriter on their approach and philosophy to copywriting. It's interesting to see how different copywriters approach their work - each has a very definitive style and they don't seem to have much in common with each others' way of working. Following these short introductions, readers are presented with a few pages of some of the copywriter's work.

There's a mix of classic adverts pre-1990 and a healthy sprinkling of ads from the 1990s and early 2000s, but I think the bias is weighted too heavily in favour of older work. Much of the modern adverts reproduced feature the Economist ads. According to the publisher: "The lessons to be learned on these pages will help you create clearer and more persuasive arguments, whether you are writing an inspiring speech, an engaging web banner or a persuasive letter." - possibly, but we aren't actually presented with anything web-related. I believe in this day and age, copywriting books do need to cover the web more comprehensively, whether it's a news story headline or a web banner ad. Writing for print is not the same as writing for the web.

I also think it would have been good to include upcoming copywriting talent. The focus of these books always seems to be 'leading professionals' and 'copywriting superstars'. It would have given the book a little more balance.

The biggest issue I have with the book is its format. It's a huge, coffee-table sized book, which isn't conducive to reading. The paper quality is not great and some of the ads have not been reproduced very well - a small number look truly awful. Also, a number of adverts have been reproduced over a double page spread, which just destroys the ad - this isn't the type of book where you can easily bend the spine. The editor does admit that in some cases they "have had to scan ads from previous editions of the book or from old awards annuals".

Overall, I think this is an expensive book for what it offers. For sure it'll look good on your coffee table and in your agency/marketing department, but I personally don't buy books to sit there and look pretty. It's cumbersome to read and would have benefited from being published in a more user-friendly format on better paper. I actually think they should have made it a completely new version, featuring adverts post-1995, and re-released the first version. The world has moved on a bit since 1995, it's a shame some of these publishers haven't.
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on 17 October 2012
This book originally came out in 1995, the same year I started looking for a job in advertising. I got myself a copy and used it untold times as a jump starter to get ideas rolling. There is no 'how to' section on how to write copy. It's not that kind of book.

In this digital age everyone and their uncle has a Twitter account or a blog of some sort. Millions of posts and tweets are created each day. But that doesn't make these people into copywriters. It is a learned skill with many hours of practice. The Copy Book may not have a 'how to' section but then again, the writers you'll find inside didn't learn their craft by following a 'how to' book either.

Read, read and re-read the work of these writers. Find your heros. Try to understand the tone of voice they have used, why they've written what they've written and how they have crafted each sentence. If you do this you'll be well on your way to writing some half decent copy yourself. Trust me. It's the only way to learn the art of being a real copywriter.
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on 28 August 2013
Making a career move into advertising in the last years, I've bought quite a few books about the craft. This is a nice looking coffeetablebook compilation, not so much a handbook, although every featured writer gets two pages to say something about the art of writing copy. Although, not necessarily a must-have - it's a book I enjoy owning, and there's plenty of ad-filled pages to go through. Lots of great stuff of course, just not something you read in one go.
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on 13 November 2011
Ok, so it's not a 'guide' in the truest sense: there's no 'how to' section or 'tips from the pros'. But as a collection of examples of the best in ad copy, it's inspirational. Excellent.
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on 3 September 2011
I'd been hoping that this would be a reprint of the original, deleting possibly the dead, and conceivably adding a few new names and faces. In the event, it's fatter, bigger, and less entertaining than the original, with no author's photos, and much of the extra bulk taken up by blow-ups of ads which were carefully written and art-directed to a smaller format. I'm surprised at Taschen, who are normally very sensitive....but I suspect this is the work of the clowns at D&AD. The original can be bought on eBay etc, at rapidly-escalating prices.
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on 29 October 2011
Fantastic book to have. A good compilation of the best ad ever. Very happy with my purchase. I really recommend it.
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on 5 October 2011
I bought the first edition of this book when I was an earnest young copywriter. To say that my copy is well thumbed is something of an understatement. So excited to see Taschen has republished it.

If you work in advertising, and even if you don't, this book is an essential read. Whilst I'd never consider myself good enough to feature in it, I'm proud to say I have worked with a couple of the creative legends featured within its pages.
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on 7 April 2014
Bad, it s an amazing, great book but i received it in german white i ordered it in english. And i was really carrefull when order was made
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on 15 August 2012
Nothing has inspired me to write good copy more than this book. Award winning copywriters share their approach to copywriting some of their best ads. Simple and brilliant.
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on 13 January 2015
Read this book. Read it again. Read it again. Take notes. Practice every day. Write. Write. Write. Read the book again.
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