The Story Behind, One of the Cleverest Copywriter Websites Ever

The many shades of Joe Coleman

Headshot of Tim Nudd

We’ve seen scores of creatives’ websites over the years, but here’s one of our instant favorites—, from British copywriter Joe Coleman.

The idea is simple and very fun: The site’s copy makes a variety of pitches for Joe, from “Less Hard Sell” to “More Hard Sell,” using a slider you can move around at the bottom of the page.

When you initially load the site, it defaults to this message:

Hello. I’m Joe Coleman. I’m a freelance copywriter. I come up with words and concepts that help you win pitches and pick up awards. I’ve been in the business for over 15 years and can tackle everything from ad campaigns to brand guidelines. I adapt my style to suit every job and work with some of the best advertising and design agencies around.

Moving the slider to left (“Less Hard Sell”) makes a progressively softer pitch for Joe, until you get all the way to:

So, yeah, I’m a freelance copywriter. What of it?

Scrolling to right (“More Hard Sell”) cranks up the intensity, and humor, of the pitch—until you get to some seriously goofy antics all the way to the right.

Joe Coleman

AdFreak spoke with Coleman about how he came up with the site (it’s been live for about a year) and how successful it’s been in drumming up business.

Where did you get this idea?
One of my clients was—and is—the design agency Music, and I was cheeky enough to ask them if they’d do my website for me. We had a few meetings where we knocked ideas around, and this was what emerged at the end of it. So, it was a collaborative process.

How did you go about writing it? Did you start from one end and work your way to the other?
I started in the middle—the page you land on—and worked through the progressively more hard-sell messages. And I was thinking about it from a visual point of view, too. Not just words. Then I went back and did the soft-sell end of the spectrum. I knew where I wanted to end up on that side, too, so I worked toward that.

Did you go through a lot of revisions?
Yes. And every amend I did had a knock-on effect for the next page, so it ended up being quite time-consuming.

Do you have a favorite phrase or two that you came up with?
It’s not written in a particularly “copywritery” way to be honest! Most of the phrasing is pretty straightforward. It’s the idea that’s interesting. And the cats! I’d had the phrase “weapons-grade copy” in a notebook for years, though, so I chucked that in there.

How much of this is just a fun stunt, and how much is it actually designed to show off your chops?
It’s supposed to do both. That’s why we liked it.

How long has the page been live, and what’s the reaction been to it? Have you gotten jobs directly from it?
It’s been up for a year, but an awards nomination kickstarted a flurry of interest last week. In fact, so many people visited it, the site crashed a couple of times. I had got a fair bit of work out of it already, though.

Where are you based, and what is your ideal freelance gig?
I’m based in Manchester in England. I like working with talented creative people who want to do good stuff. My ideal gig is one that produces something I’m proud of at the end of it.

Join the foremost brand marketers, such as Marc Pritchard, Brad Hiranaga, Kory Marchisotto and more, for Brandweek Masters Live on Sept. 14-17. Secure your pass and learn from the brand masters.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.