Copywriting Legend Ed McLean Dies at 77

Share this article:
Longtime copywriter Ed McLean, known for writing Newsweek's most famous control, died Aug. 13 after a long illness. He was 77.

McLean wrote the prospecting letter 45 years ago, shortly after being hired by Newsweek circulation director Arthur "Red" Dembner. Mailed to more than 100 million consumers for nearly two decades, the control is considered to have one of the most copied lead paragraphs. It began:

"Dear Reader: If the list upon which I found your name is any indication, this is not the first -- nor will it be the last -- subscription letter you receive. Quite frankly, your education and income set you apart from the general population and make you a highly-rated prospect for everything from magazines to mutual funds."

In his four-decade career, McLean wrote more than 9,000 mailings, direct response print ads, radio spots and inserts, and his ad copy is said to have sold more than $1 billion of products and services. McLean also conducted all-day sessions on copywriting techniques at Direct Marketing Day in New York and taught similar sessions at colleges and universities nationwide.

As per McLean's insistence, there was no funeral or memorial service. He is survived by his wife, Ylavaune of Ghent, NY; and three sons, David of Ghent, James of New York City and William of Virginia.

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in Agency

Are You Really Ready for Customer Experience?

Are You Really Ready for Customer Experience?

Marketers can talk a good game about customer centricity, but actions speak louder than words.

Essentials in Content Marketing: Think like a best-selling author

Essentials in Content Marketing: Think like a best-selling ...

Imagine if all the electronic content thrown your way daily was actually printed on paper. To stand out from those piles of worthless pixels, you must offer your audiences intriguing ...

The Mobile-Email Marriage

The Mobile-Email Marriage

Marketers who considered leaving email at the altar are finding renewed passion for the channel as an ever-increasing number of customers triage, read, and click-through email on their smartphones.