Don Ellis

Don Ellis Copywriting

No matter how good your product or service or offer or idea, you still need to convince people. That's my job.

Writing Experience

I've been a copywriter for over 30 years and I still like writing.

I spent 19 years with three Hong Kong agencies -- DDB Needham, Leo Burnett, and McCann Erickson -- and 14 with my own company.

In that time, I've written everything there is to write -- brand campaigns, TV commercials, print ads, product leaflets, services brochures, user guides, direct marketing materials, speeches, press releases and websites -- for a variety of clients.

From 2004 to 2014, I was Head of English Copy for the Cathay Pacific Central Team at McCann Erickson, and I've written for Marco Polo Club, Cathay Pacific's loyalty program, since 2004, and continue to do so.

Personal Experience

  • I can write serious, humorous, imaginative, touching, and technical copy.
  • I'm good, fast, friendly, and easy to work with.
  • My native language is American English, but I lived in Hong Kong for 30 years and wrote British English almost exclusively, so I do both.
  • My grammar and editing skills are solid. I spent 10 years as a member and occasional moderator of the English Only forum at, one of the world's leading language websites. I'm no longer active there, but 68,000 posts remain under my username, Copyright, to help people searching for answers and opinions.
  • Business Experience

    Before I began my copywriting career in 1988, I spent 16 years with four companies that produced medical-testing equipment, high-precision cabinetry for the video games and sports industries, aluminum windows, and telephones. The experience and insights I gained in manufacturing continue to inform my writing today.

    Samples of my work ...

    1997 Leo Burnett 1997 Calendar
    After 156 years of British rule, Hong Kong was finally returned to China. The Year of the Handover was a good time to look back on what makes Hong Kong so special.
    Fruit Book The Fruits of Bali Beside Table Book
    Everything you want to know about exotic fruits before you try them.
    The Sheraton Towers Print Ad
    Sheraton Towers are the executive floors of a Sheraton Hotel, but in Singapore, the entire hotel is executive floors, so a more exclusive message could be used.
    The Sheraton Towers Alternative Campaign
    This concept was created before it evolved into The Individual just above. Creativity is often a process, rather than a lightning strike. Welcome to the Great Outdoors.
    Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
    We used three brochures and a print ad to launch the resort in 1998. Twenty years later, it was named "#1 Hotel in the World" by Travel + Leisure.
    Four Seasons Spa Great Breaks Newspaper Insert
    When you stayed at The Regent or Four Seasons, you could earn free nights to stay at one of 18 hotels and resorts worldwide.
    Four Seasons Spa The Spa at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay Brochure
    When you have one of the most luxurious spas in the world, it's worth telling people. It's also nice to answer their questions to put them at ease.
    The Leela Beach Goa Print Ad
    Sometimes you don't get to work with an art director -- you're simply handed a photograph and asked to add a headline and copy.
    Pacific Century Corporate Access Pacific Century Corporate Access Brochure
    I wrote the copy and chose the visuals and after finishing the brochure I realized that to be effective it actually had to get to a decision-maker ... so I added a cover letter.
    How long is a lifetime? Barber Asia Corporate Brochure
    Some down-to-earth talk about personal wealth from a client who gave me a free hand to write their story the way I saw it.
    No Back-Seat Driver BMW Print Ad
    The BMW i540 was make for those who never take a back seat to anyone.
    McDonald's Press Release
    It wasn't even my account, but I was given a verbal brief to write an immediate press release -- "something about potatoes."
    FinanceAsia Promotion
    Once I had the concept, it was used everywhere -- print ads, banner ads, postcards and television commercials.
    Tsunami Diary 2004
    For narrative writing, there's my tsunami diary. Without advertising or promotion, the diary still remains at or near the top in search results for tsunami diary, highlighting the importance of good content.
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    Those are a few of the more creative examples of my work. But 95% of copywriting is quite basic -- and I like those aspects of writing just as well. I work on retainer, by project, or hourly.

    If you're looking for copywriting that serves both you and your customer, consider emailing me. There's very little I don't do with words.