Timeless Marketing Truth What Is Advertising Anyway

Timeless Marketing Truth What Is Advertising Anyway

Your first clue to​ the​ truth about advertising was written more than 100 years ago.

Let me tell you​ the​ story of​ a​ young,​ confident copywriter by the​ name of​ John E. Kennedy. Early one May evening in​ 1904,​ Kennedy,​ a​ former Canadian Mountie,​ sat in​ a​ New York barroom.

He sent a​ note upstairs to​ the​ office of​ A.L. Thomas,​ the​ head of​ the​ Lord and Thomas advertising agency. "I'm in​ the​ saloon downstairs,​” the​ note began,​ “and I can tell you
what advertising is. I know you​ don't know. It will mean much to​ me to​ have you​ know what it is​ and it​ will mean much to​ you.  if​ you wish to​ know what advertising is,​ send the​ word ‘yes’ down by the​ bell boy. (Signed) John E. Kennedy.”

Thomas dismissed the​ note as​ arrogance. But his junior partner,​ Albert Lasker,​ did not. the​ note struck a​ chord with Lasker and he summoned Kennedy to​ his office that same night. That meeting of​ Lasker and Kennedy changed the​ face of​ advertising—forever.
Kennedy told Lasker,​ "Advertising is​ Salesmanship in​ Print." No one has been able to​ better that definition of​ advertising,​ not to​ this very day,​ more than 100 years later.
Kennedy was subsequently hired by Lord and Thomas and became the​ highest paid copywriter of​ his day—$52,​000 a​ year,​ a​ phenomenal sum in​ the​ first decade of​ the​ last century.
Nearly all the​ top marketers of​ today derive their killer ideas from the​ marketing legends of​ the​ past. Why? Because all the​ top marketers understand what makes people buy. They understand that human nature just hasn't changed over time. Human beings will continue to​ be sold by the​ same emotions that have been used since the​ days of​ Caesar.

The same things that made people buy 10,​000 years ago will continue to​ work 10,​000 years from now.  These principles just do not change. No lesser modern marketer than Ted Nicholas says,​ "Ads which ran 30-50 years ago,​ even a​ hundred years ago,​ are often better than those you​ see today. You'll get great ideas to​ use in​ your marketing,​ too—human emotions never change." (From "The Golden Mailbox")

Many of​ those bygone legends,​ along with writing great advertising,​ also wrote great advertising books. For instance,​ Lasker got Kennedy to​ write all of​ his principles into a​ series of​ lessons called "The Book of​ Advertising Tests." Lord and Thomas utilized these and the​ agency became the​ training center for all New York copywriters. in​ 1912 the​ text was published as​ Reason Why Advertising. How many billion-dollar advertisers a​ century later still just say “Buy our brand” and give no real reason why?

Kennedy left Lord and Thomas a​ few years later,​ leaving Albert Lasker with big shoes to​ fill. Lasker showed that he had not just been lucky in​ hiring Kennedy; in​ fact he showed himself to​ be a​ genius,​ by hiring the​ equally legendary and possibly even more brilliant Claude C. Hopkins. Hopkins’ 1927 masterpiece Scientific Advertising revolutionized the​ industry all over again.

There is​ a​ lot to​ learn from the​ Old Masters. How hard is​ your advertising working—is it​ truly salesmanship in​ print?

Timeless Marketing Truth What Is Advertising Anyway

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