Swiping – Jesse Grillo
swipe file

Every idea is just a mix of previous ideas.

 How does a marketing master look at the world?

They figure out what's worth copying.


A marketing master understands that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.

If we're free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.


The master marketer is a collector.


Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by.


Keep swipe files to keep track of the stuff you've swiped from others.

They can be digital and physical.

See something worth copying? Put it in a swipe file. Need a little inspiration? Open up a swipe file.

When you’re working on any aspect of marketing, you can review these samples for inspiration and ideas.


Outright plagiarism is illegal as well as immoral. However, extracting parts 'n' pieces from successful models and creatively adapting them is legal, ethical, and smart.

Create a swipe folder and a swipe text file on your computer.

Then go to the websites of the top brands in your industry and collect unique adcopy to your text file.

Save unique images to your swipe folder.

Find ads from these brands and extract the valuable parts.

Save direct mail advertisements and print ads to a physical folder you can pull from ongoing.


Create a dummy email account and sign up for the newsletters for these brands. You’ll then have a catalog of newsletters to reference whenever you’re considering any type of marketing.


You can also use swiped ads as a layout. If they use a long headline, make your headline long. If they use a lot of captions, then you create a number of captions.


Over time, build up your own swipe file of ads, direct-mail pieces, web content, and other examples of advertising that are successfully generating sales from the same potential customers you want to influence.

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