How to write copy: A copywriting crash course by Mad Men (Infographic)

If you didn’t love Mad Men, I don’t even know how to talk to you.

Mad Men ended this Sunday after 7 incredible seasons…

…which is a terrible blow to copywriters worldwide. Thanks to Mad Men, my sister knows what I do. Thanks to Mad Men, marketers get that copywriters belong with the design team in the creative lounge. Thanks to Mad Men, I have an ever-so-slight addiction to drinking, smoking, sleeping around, changing my identity and selling stuff.

In honor of one of my fave TV series of all time – right up there with Six Feet Under – we’ve compiled all the best copywriting lessons from Mad Men to create the following infographic, which we hope you love the way Peggy loves Stan. (Still not sure how I feel about that.)

Mad Men Crash Course in Copywriting - Infographic for Copy Hackers


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About the author

Joanna Wiebe

Joanna Wiebe - Copywriter and author of "Copyhackers"

  • What a great idea to create an infographic! I can feel the passion for mad men, it makes the post much more intresting and engaging.

  • Amy Ahrens

    Absolutely love this post and infographic! Obsessed with Mad Men and Six Feet Under – I have a pic of that house on my Instagram @midwestrealness – from when I was living in LA.

  • I just rewatched a bunch! I particularly like the “Nap frequently” you slipped in there 😉

  • Vladimir

    This is just awesome! I love it!

  • Icy Sedgwick

    This is fantastic! I’ll share it with my copywriting students.

  • Justin Skinner

    Great post! Glad I came across this and thank you for the infographic!

    • Joanna Wiebe

      Glad you like! 🙂

  • Excellent work. I was thinking of writing a post about Don Draper’s copywriting lessons, but you’ve got it covered right here, so I’ve just posted your infographic at my site instead. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Joanna Wiebe

      Awesome to hear! Thanks, Tom. 🙂 Just checked out your blog at – great stuff there.

    • Love the graphics on your site! Great concept… I’ve always struggled with visualizing “what we do”. You nailed it!

  • Silvestru Iapascurta

    First time I found about CopyHackers I thought Joanna looked very much like Peggy’s estranged twin. Now I’m certain of the connection 🙂

    • Joanna Wiebe

      haha – I wish that were true. But thanks. 🙂

  • Philippa Davies

    Hi Joanne – series ends in the UK this evening, so have shared your fab infographic here and thanks for it!

    • Joanna Wiebe

      It hasn’t ended yet for you?! How have you avoided spoilers???

      • Philippa Davies

        Shouting at people when they start to give them or shutting my eyes very quickly! It’s been tough…

  • Ben Morel

    A great infographic inspired by a great series. Although there are probably as many lessons they teach about what not to do, especially in the ad men’s personal lives!

    I love the “juxtapose happiness and sadness” lesson. It’s always good to remember that – exactly as Don finds out in the Kodak projector episode – nostalgia literally means “the pain of remembering”. Show your audience that pain, then take it away by moving them back to that time or place.

    • Joanna Wiebe

      They mentioned nostalgia so many times throughout Mad Men, but you rarely hear marketers, copywriters, etc talking about it alongside other persuasion techniques. It deserves more attention.

      And, yeah, Mad Men covered a ton of meaningful ground. Another post dying to happen is The Mad Men Guide to Client Management. As I was binge watching these past weeks, I couldn’t believe how much of the series was about dealing with clients. Someone should do that post.

  • Great post. I really should watch again the series.

    • Joanna Wiebe

      Indeed you should!

  • Yuvrajsinh Vaghela

    My fav : Think about your copy deeply, then forget it. And an idea will jump up in your face. Ep.11

    This is AWESOME Joanna !

    • Joanna Wiebe

      My current fave is from season 7: write a letter to your friend to convince them to buy the product.

      • Heidi Kenyon

        I do this a lot in medical marketing for the web: I’ll write a letter to a fictional doctor to ask advice, or to a fictional patient to give it. This exercise can really help develop a voice, and can help identify important points I might have missed.

        Thanks for the infographic, this is great! I’ll repost to my blog, too.

  • vlopezev

    Thanks, This is awesome. I posted the infographic on my site quickly.

    • Joanna Wiebe

      Very cool!

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    Hmm…I haven’t watched Mad Men, but your Infographic was hugely entertaining (and might change my mind!). Thank you!


    • Joanna Wiebe

      Awesome to hear – you should totally watch it. It was so smart.

  • I love Mad Men and I LOVE this infographic!!! You guys ROCK!!! Thank you!! (I apologize for all of the exclamation points. Just couldn’t help myself.)

    • Joanna Wiebe


  • Gilson Oliveira


    First, I need to say that I’m glad that after all the show viewing and research, you still only have a ‘ever-so-slight addiction’ for the ‘good’ stuff 🙂

    Second, I much appreciate your work (@CopyHackers) and putting together this ‘essential’ guide to Mad Men copywriting.

    Lots of Fun!

    • Joanna Wiebe

      I may have downplayed my addiction to certain things on that list. 🙂 Thanks, Gilson!

  • Bob Caples

    I wish I had thought of this. You’ve elevated yourself to a whole new category in my mind. Won’t tell you the label, though, it might go to your head.

    • Joanna Wiebe

      haha – we wouldn’t want that! Thanks, Bob.

  • I love this. Very cool and very helpful. “What you call love was invented by guys like me.” 🙂

    • Joanna Wiebe

      There were sooo many good lessons on Mad Men. When it comes to Don Draper’s cynicism, though – well, that’s what the mute button is for. 🙂

  • A. Paul Myers

    Pure genius. And no lawnmowers in the office!

    • Joanna Wiebe

      hahaha – that was the perfect way to get rid of that pompous character!

  • Sixxiron

    Easily the coolest, most useful infographic I’ve seen in a LONG time! Reason #697 why I love this site.

    • Joanna Wiebe

      thanks so much! we’re working on #698 right now.

  • Aaron Orendorff

    Flippin’ amazing!

    Love the lines about “happiness” and solving problems.

    “DON DRAPER’S GUIDE TO PICKING UP WOMEN” is pretty great too.

    • Joanna Wiebe

      ah! that’s awesome. anything don draper is awesome.

  • Thanks to netflix I just binge watched half of season 1


    I can see why Jon Hamm? did so well from this show!


    • Joanna Wiebe

      I binge-watched all seven seasons over a 2-week period to get the lessons for this post. Best research assignment ever. (I’d already seen most of the episodes twice, but I’d never noted the lessons.)

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