You may have already learned of David Ogilvy’s “At 60 Miles an Hour” ad for Rolls-Royce. It’s an automotive advertising classic. Have you taken a moment to find and study this masterpiece? As a professionally trained direct response copywriter, I have found two resources where you can see this prime direct response copywriting example.
The first source is the AWAI Hall of Fame: Great Selling Ideas from 50 Super-Successful Direct Mail Letters and Direct Response Ads (non-affiliate link).
Edited by John Forde and published by American Writers and Artists Inc., this compilation gives you the best direct mail letters and advertisements that generated a lot of money. You’ll find work from Gene Schwartz, Martin Conroy, and a host of other successful direct response copywriters. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on direct response copywriting, or inspiration for a future project, I suggest you get your hands on the AWAI Hall of Fame.
The second source is Swipe-Worthy, an online collection of copywriting examples. You will find copies of the most profitable marketing campaigns ever created as well as insights on marketing, conversion, and consumer psychology. It’s a reliable source of marketing information.
3 Reasons Why You Should Study This Direct Response Copywriting Example
Drawing from the information found in the two resources mentioned above, as well as my experience as a direct response copywriter, I have produced three reasons why you should study the “At 60 Miles an Hour” ad by David Ogilvy:
Let Your Copywriter Do Their Research
Research is the first thing anyone writing copy should do before they even think of the first word to put on paper. How else would you understand what you are writing about? Or who are you writing to? Copywriters who tend not to do their research end up presenting generic, bland copy that carries no value to the reader.
Ogilvy, on the other hand, knew how to make the most out of the time he spent on research. Because throughout the ad, Ogilvy hits you with the relevant information you should know about the car you’re buying. And he wouldn’t have been able to find those gems of information without trying out the car and taking the time to understand what it was about and how it helped the potential buyer.
Before even thinking about producing a copywriting concept, take the time to know your product and your market. Find out what your prospects are looking for – what they want, need, or love. Then, figure out how your product can deliver that satisfaction. And viola – you have the foundation for your copy set.
Implied Benefits and the Rolls Royce Headline
The most talked-about featured of this ad is the headline “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”. Mr. Ogilvy himself described it as the best headline he ever wrote.
And you can’t argue with that claim – as sales for Rolls-Royce went up a whopping 50% in 1958 – the year Rolls-Royce launched that campaign.
But what makes this headline so magical? The element of implied benefit it has.
By telling you about how quiet the car is (even at 60 MPH), Ogilvy is telling you about the quality of craftsmanship. About how much effort people put into delivering a car engine that smooth. An engine that should not give you any trouble soon.
The headline is not telling you those things. But by saying you how quiet it is, it’s suggesting the other stuff I mentioned. If your headline can do that, then you have a powerful one on your hands.
Using Jet Engines to Establish Rolls-Royce’s Credibility
With a headline that makes such a claim as “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”, you’re going to need some strong points to back it up. And that’s what Ogilvy does throughout the body copy of this ad.
The ad gives you twenty reasons why Rolls-Royce is the best car in the world. Now, you might think some of those reasons are subjective – and some are – but you can’t argue with facts like Every Rolls engine runs for seven hours at full throttle before installation.
Yet, to me, the piece that carries the most weight in terms of credibility is the small box with the title “Jet Engines and The Future.” It lets you in on the secret behind such a quiet car they use the same engines as jets! You then understand what power and smoothness this machine has.
That makes me want to get behind the wheel of one of those babies right now!
What You Should Learn by Studying Rolls Royce’s “At 60 Miles an Hour” Ad
Starting today, you should study the “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock” ad by David Ogilvy to get a grasp of what research can do to your marketing campaigns. You should also aim to understand what makes a headline tremendous and how to apply the element of implied benefits. And finally, you should learn the importance of backing up your headline claims within your body copy.
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