Back to blog

Copywriting – the art of the one liner

Writing a great headline is an art. There aren’t many of us who can take a small handful of words and come up with something so compelling that people want to know more, buy one, write to their MP or repeat it in the pub that night.

So, let’s celebrate the master of the one-liner, the humble newspaper hack.

If you’re in need of some sizzling inspiration, what better place to look than the good old Soar Away Sun. Over the last 40 years, they’ve written some lines that have entered the English language and here are some absolute corkers:

1982, British troops sank the General Belgrano and The Sun launched a ballistic one-word, jingoistic war cry: ‘GOTCHA’.

1986, and how could you not read on from this little teaser: ‘FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER’.

Wind the clock forward to the 21st century and they’re still coming out with some real beauties:

2005, Prince Harry is photographed on his way to a fancy dress party: ‘HARRY THE NAZI’.

2009, perhaps a little gratuitous even for The Sun, as everyone’s favourite celebrity stoner has a bit of a prang: ‘GEORGE MICHAEL SHUNTS TRUCKER IN REAR’.

But it’s not just the journos at our number one tabloid that can turn out a nifty line or two. Spotted on high streets around the UK:

Copywriting headlines

So next time you’re struggling to edit a 15 word headline, you could do worse than buy a copy of your local rag.

For more on copywriting:

Choosing a freelance copywriter
Copy Editing – get to the point
Freelance copywriter – passing the copy test

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me a line here, or email