“Copy” simply means prose, and good copy is any piece of text that communicates well.
There are many master writers who turn out exquisite pieces of copy who are not “copywriters” since they do not write direct sales copy. But they still sell, albeit indirectly, the products, personalities and services that they so skillfully review.
Since they are so good with the words, you also don’t want to be around them when they don’t like your product or service. Their mighty sword uplifts and reflects light on their favorite objects. But the same instrument can also cut and dissect like a laser beam.
Here are the three non-copywriter masters of the copy that I read regularly:
1) Frank Deford is an award winning sports author with fifteen books, a Senior Contributing Writer at Sports Illustrated and a commentator on NPR.
Here are some Deford samples:
“Clemens, the best pitcher of this era, engages in an annual peek-a-boo. He retires in autumn, and then, like a perennial, decides to bloom again in the spring.”
“More often, though, there is the likes of Terrell Owens, diagnosed with modesty deficiency syndrome…”
“For many athletes, New York City is an intimidating place to play. Fans have high expectations and aren’t afraid to boo players who disappoint them. If you can take it there, you can take it anywhere.”
2) Rex Reed is a movie critic at New York Oberver.
Here are some samples from Reed:
“…Mr. Fraser as Jamie, a frustrated, simmering wimp with a streak of mendacity waiting to surface and torch…”
“…director Rydell balances every move on the head of a pin…”
“Jane Fonda can do just about anything, but first you have to give her something to do.”
“This movie is so bad people are taking bets to see how long they can stay awake without snoring.”
“Directed by Marc Evans, Snow Cake suffers from the same faults that plague most Canadian films: It drones itself to death with the pace of a drunken ant, and the ending takes longer than to arrive than Christmas morning.”
3) Warren Brown is an automobile reviewer at The Washington Post.
Here are some Brown samples:
“If pickup trucks were a religion, most of the owners of those vehicles in Asheville would be fundamentalists.”
“Witness the all-wheel-drive 2006 Infiniti M35 X sedan, a motorized treaty between excess and practicality.”
“…finished with elegant rosewood for older, more traditional customers who know that life’s bits and bytes are relatively meaningless without its poetry.”
“Sitting in the car is akin to fitting one’s body into a rich, comfortable glove. It is a rare instance in which status plays second fiddle to seduction.”
“Head-turning quotient: Oh, Bess! Honey, you snapped necks everywhere with your bad self…”
“I much prefer dancing — spending an evening with salsa, samba or tango. There is just as much sweat in such movement; but the experience is more enjoyable, memorable — like driving a DB9 along a beach road in Coronado at twilight.”