As used in advertising, the text copy or graphic format of a specific ad, or a file used to maintain such ads.
Advertising “swipes” can be provided by you for use in solo ad buys for example. Or ad copy can be accumulated from other sources, including competitors, and maintained in a swipe file of ideas and/or inspiration for potential use in future campaigns.
Swipe files are an indispensable resource for all marketers, and can be extremely helpful in learning how to write effective ad copy and crafting other graphic media types like banners and even videos.
Another very important form of swipe file is created automatically by subscribing to the mailing lists of other marketers, whether in competition with you, or who might be successful and/or highly regarded for their abilities, that you can analyze first hand in their list marketing.
There is no rule about what can be contained in a swipe file which will inherently reflect the personal taste of a marketer both in positive and negative responses to other ads. In other words, a swipe file might be just as helpful in determining what not to do in your advertising.