Notes from the book The Art of Writing Advertising
I wouldn’t go for too routinized men in my copy department.
Original and fresh.
We don’t permit any client to give us ground rules. We firmly believe that he can’t know as much about advertising. Because we live and breathe that all day long.
I do a great deal of reading in philosophy, grist for the copy mill.
Know his product inside out before he starts working. Must stem from knowledge of the product.
Must be disciplined.
You have to find out what their talent is and nurture that, because that’s a natural thing. instead of trying to make everybody do exactly the same things and winding up boring everybody.
Difference between rules and disciplines.
Most important element in success in ad writing is the product itself.
Do you think it’s more difficult to write copy for one product over another? No, I don’t think it makes very much difference. I think if you find the right appeal in a product – one that you can focus on – you can develop it on any product.
Knowledge and experience aren’t nearly as important as his expressiveness, his ability to think and to marshal his thoughts into persuasive English.
My technique, if I have one, is to saturate myself with knowledge of the product. I believe in good depth-interviewing where I come realistically face to face with the people I am trying to sell. I try to get a picture in min mind of who uses the product and how… what it is that actually motivates them to buy something or to interest them in something.
Developed an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them. I think that that develops more sharply when the writer has not had an easy adjustment to living.
Just putting a bar of soap as the picture in an ad, let’s say,will not make very many people want to look at that ad. You’ve got to think of some situation that creates a more interesting picture.
to know your prospect and know your product – and know both in considerable depth.
Anything that implies rejection of life is wrong for a writer, and cynicism is rejection of life. I would say participate, participate, participate.
I didn’t write my first ad until I was 39.
I don’t think the stuff I do read has much influence on what I write.
I don’t think I am a good writer, incidentally, but I do think that what I am is a the best damn editor in the world.
I always pretend I’m sitting beside a woman at a dinner party, and she asks me for advice about which product she should buy and where she should buy it.
I give her the facts, facts, facts. I don’t write to the crowd. I try to write from one human being to another human being in the second person, singular.
Let’s say you have $1m tied up in your little company and suddenly your advertising isn’t working and sales are going down. And everything depends on it. Your future depends on it, your families future depends on it, other people’s families depend on it… Now, what do you want from me? Find writing? Or do you want to see the goddamned sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?