Advertising Is There Nothing New Under The SunAdvertising Is There Nothing New Under The Sun

My wife and I were cruising around the antique shops in Twin Falls when I came upon a book published in 1912 by the A.W. Shaw Company, Chicago, New York. The title is How to Write Advertisements that Sell.

The book is part of a series of ?how to? books and the author or authors are not revealed.

The First Chapter of the book has a clever little table that all of you experts probably already know about. I hadn't seen it before so I was impressed.

I'm not allowed to put illustrations in my articles. I've put the table on the Internet and you can see it at

According to the text, the question that must be answered for any advertising campaign is 4-fold:

1. What does the buyer want?

2. How does your product fit that want?

3. What tone should dominate your advertisement?

4. What should be its chief appeals for trade?

In the answers to these questions you have the ?center and heart? of the message your campaign should carry. Knowing your product is not enough; you must know it ?in relation to its prospective purchaser.?

An example given is that in the days of the introduction of the farm tractor, explaining how a tractor works to a farmer was talking to thin air. The farmer had no background in mechanics. He knew about horses. The farmer had to learn about tractors from his basis of knowing horses. The farmer knew how many acres he could plow in a day with a horse. The tractor salesman had to tell him how many acres he could plow in a day with a tractor. You feed the horse hay. You feed the tractor gasoline. You put the horse in the barn at night. You can leave the tractor in the field if you want to. Just bring it in from the weather in the fall. The horse needs shoes. The tractor needs tires. Oh, you've got it!

Living in Idaho and having a horse, even I understand the above.

The point is made that studying successful advertising campaigns is not the best way to develop your own successful campaign. It is better to study campaign failures. Trying to imitate a successful campaign with your product can bring failure.

The point is made that the success of the campaign you are studying and plan to copy may not depend on what you think. Your competitor 'may have special skills? that you do not have. His copy may have ?elements of strength? that you don't recognize. He may be succeeding 'despite his advertising mistakes.?

The authors say that when you make the addition of one appeal to your campaign that turns a failure into a success, the 'lesson becomes plain.? You experts will know what that means.

The chart at was not produced by the authors. It is the result of a study made by one marketer over many years. Note the two questions at the top of the chart. Does the potential customer have to increase his spending or just direct it your way? Now look at the appeal factors. Note how they change your copy. Now look at the basic motives you are appealing to.

Problems come in the misdiagnosis of problems. IF you picked "B" when you should have picked "D" you will be appealing to the wrong motives.

I suggest you study the chart in relation to your past campaigns and to what you are doing now. You might be surprised at the results.

If this turns your bummer into a gold mine, send money.

One last note: Your competitor may be unethical. He may be offering ?product group? deals. He might be absorbing tooling cost. He may be bribing the buyer by taking him to Alaska fishing. He might be selling below cost. You just can't trust anybody these days, can you? Let the advertiser be aware as much as the buyer.

by John T Jones PhD
References and Bibliography

John T. Jones, Ph.D. (, a retired VP of R&D for Lenox China, is author of detective & western novels, nonfiction (business, scientific, engineering, humor), poetry, etc. Former editor of Ceramic Industry Magazine. He is Executive Representative of IWS sellers of Tyler Hicks wealth-success books and kits. He also sells TopFlight flagpoles. He calls himself "Taylor Jones, the hack writer."

More info:

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