April 5

WYODC Confidential #15: Learn from the mentor of the mentors: Clayton Makeapeace


Hey ,

This week there’s an event honoring the passing of Legendary Copywriter Clayton Makepeace.

Clayton is not only one of Kenneth’s most influential mentors but he’s also one of the best copywriters of all time.

20 years back, it was Clayton who gave Kenneth a start in the Direct Response Marketing Industry. 

He is totally up there with David Ogilvy, Eugene Schwartz and even Gary Halbert. 

That’s why 18 of the biggest names in Direct Response have gathered to share everything they’ve learned from Clayton.

People like… Bob Bly, David Deutsch, Gary Bencivenga, Parris Lampropoulous and even Brian Kurtz. 

Fortunately, Wendy was there and she managed to capture some of the golden nuggets!

With her permission, I’ve compiled a list of 5 insights from the presentation.

Let’s dive in:

1. Clayton taught Bob Bly the importance of a Credibility Pre-Header.  Because people are inherently skeptical especially in certain markets (financial and health), it pays to invest extra space on a pre-header to establish credibility and proof. E.g. For Health offers, it pays to dive into clinical data. Financial offers – Economic, Financial data.  

2. Clayton taught Kim Krause Schwalm how to Dimensionalize Clayton created a concept called Dimensionalization where he first encouraged every copywriter to inspect each and every piece of feature (and benefit) carefully.  Next, we’ll scrutinize it and inspect it to see how it looks like to have that particular benefit in your life. (We’ll look at how Clayton does it in his Copy). Paint it all out… how would it make you look like, how would it make you feel.  

3. Clayton taught Gary Bencivenga the importance of working with a good product.  Too many copywriters think that they can transform a bad product with good marketing and that’s a huge, huge fallacy.  Gary puts it best… The magic is in the product, not the copywriter’s pen. Advertising doesn’t create a product advantage.. it can only amplify.  As a copywriter, you are the jockey, the product is your horse. If you want to win more races, hone your skills but also learn how to spot faster horses. 

4. Clayton taught Carline Anglade Cole and Brian Kurtz the importance of Direct Marketing Principles. It’s about the list, offer and message. He understood Direct Marketing Principles. He has read Hopkins to Sugarman to Schwartz to Halbert to Ogilvy to Abraham to Cialdini to Kennedy Again, successful marketing campaigns are not just about the copy. Clayton understands the idea that beating controls involves getting many different moving parts done right rather than just getting the copywriting right.  The Traffic (Advertising Source), Product (Offer), Market (List).  

5. Clayton taught Pauline Longdon that the First Draft and the Final Draft are often MILES apart. Do not compare your first draft and your final (7th, 8th, 9th, 10th draft). Don’t feel bad if you feel that your first draft is crappy. Almost everyone’s first draft is crappy as compared to their final draft. 

You can see how Lesson #1 (The Pre-Header) is applied below in the 7 Horsemen of the Stock Market Apocalypse Promo.


Clayton is no doubt a copy genius and I’d recommend you to check out the replays of the tribute event if you have the time.

That’s all I have for you this week,




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