My Last Will And Testament
I started my career in research with the great Dr. Gallup at Princeton. Then I became an advertising copywriter. As far as I know, I am the only “creative” hot-shot who started out in research. As a result, I look at the creative function through the objective eyes of a researcher. These are the most valuable lessons I have learned:
(1) Creating successful adverting is a craft, part inspiration but mostly know-how and hard work. If you have a modicum of talent, and know which techniques work at the cash register, you will go a long way.
(2) The temptation to entertain instead of selling is contagious.
(3) The difference between one advertisement and another, when measured in terms of sales, can be as much as nineteen to one.
(4) It pays to study the product before writing your advertisements.
(5) The key to success is to promise the consumer a benefit – like better flavor, whiter wash, more miles per gallon, a better complexion.
(6) The function of most advertising is not to persuade people to try your product, but to persuade them to use it more often than the other brands in their repertoire. (Thank you, Andrew Ehrenberg).
(7) What works in one country almost always works in other countries.
(8) Editors of magazines are better communicators than advertising people. Copy their techniques.
(9) Most campaigns are too complicated. They reflect a long list of objectives, and try to reconcile the divergent views of too many executives. By attempting to cover too many things, they achieve nothing. Their advertisements looks like the minutes of a committee.
(10) Don’t let men write advertising for products which are bought by women.
(11) Good campaigns can run for many years without losing their selling power. My eyepatch campaign for Hathaway shirts ran for twenty-one years. My campaign for Dove soap has been running for thirty-one years, and Dove is now the best seller.
Once a salesman, always a salesman.