The Adweek Copywriting Handbook


Joseph Sugarman. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 338 pages. 2007. Paper book, Kindle. ISBN-13: 978-0-470-05124-5

In four sections Joseph Sugarman teaches about copywriting. He is famous for introducing BluBlocker sunglasses. And for his creative and sometimes outrageous ads that have sold many different products.

Sugarman outlined what he called “the slippery slope”. This consists of:

  • Headline: gets your attention and sends you to the subheadline.
  • Subheadline: Gives you more information.
  • Photo or Drawing: gets your attention and illustrates the product more.
  • Caption: describes the photo or drawing and is most often read.
  • Copy: conveys the selling message for the product or service.
  • Paragraph Headings: breaks up copy and makes it look more readable.
  • Logo: displays the name of the company selling the product or service.
  • Price: lets readers know what the cost of product or service is.
  • Response Device: gives the reader ways to respond.
  • Overall Layout: provides the overall appearance of the ad.


In short, the readers of the ad should be sliding down a “slippery slope” as they read the ad until they reach the end.

Sugarman’s copywriting advice applies to other formats other than direct mail. This includes catalogs, flyers, newspaper ads, billboards, press releases, radio, television, infomercials, and the internet.

There is at the back of the book Appendix C which lists the major points of copywriting. It is a very handy reference. I suggest that you photocopy the pages and keep them handy.

There is also an index which helps to find quickly any subject that you need to read about. Buy The Adweek Copywriting Handbook and put it in your copywriting library.