Direct Response Copywriter on the Cartoonists

I spent my formative years in the United Kingdom. I grew up, therefore, with three media companions.

  1. Seriously good newspapers with seriously good writing.
  2. Tabloid newspapers with shoddy journalism but phenomenal writing.
  3. High quality radio.

One day I’ll write about the tabloids—because the headlines and captions present a daily clinic in breathtakingly attention grabbing writing. And I'll go into my favorite radio shows like Just a Minute...another time, another day.

I believe I learned to write by reading the quality broadsheets like The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian. A mixed bag politically but you can’t argue with the consistent quality of the writing.

Today, I want to focus on perhaps my favorite part of The Telegraph, the daily “Matt” cartoon. You can see the archive here.

You can see the current Matt cartoon here.

The newspaper just celebrated Matt’s 25th anniversary. Here’s an article and video.

Matt cartoons are always funny—in a non-confrontational way. They poke fun at everyday life and its absurdity.

But the cartoons are arresting. They grab my attention—just like a good headline.

You can apply how Matt works to direct response headlines.

  • He tries 6-20 jokes (similar to a headline)
  • He ‘tests’ the cartoons on people in the office…simply asking their opinion
  • He understands the daily pressure to produce
  • For material, he uses topical subjects and completes research
  • The visual (the cartoon) matches the joke—the perfect marriage of copy and graphic
  • It’s simple—and you get the joke and the cartoon right away without having to dig

Matt isn’t trying to sell anything. But a direct response headline isn’t trying to sell a product directly. The perfect direct response headline simply persuades you to keep reading until you get to the final sales pitch where the you have to decide whether to leave or buy.

Part of me wishes I had just 5% of the raw talent of a Matt. I’d be able to write killer headlines in about 10 minutes.


I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing content and copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy, landing page copy and copy that persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.


The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting.  This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution.  It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.