As we begin to examine how advertising works and how we may best make
it work for us, it’s important that we first view in proper perspective
this marketing activity that has been going for so many centuries. Let’s
look at advertising in the past, at the part it has played historically
in our lives. Advertising has changed, as we have changed. If you had
been a young Roman soldier in the occupation army in Gaul, spending an
afternoon at the chariot races at the stadium at Names, you would have
been exposed to advertising.
If you, in your former life, were a tall straight-nosed Grecian beauty
strolling the streets of Corinth, with your market basket on your ears
would have assailed by the cries of street vendors broad calling their
wares for sale. On walls and buildings you would have read
advertisements of a wide variety of products and, most likely, there
would have been some “lost – and – found” notices too.
Because the notices on Roman walls often began with the Latin words si
quis (If anyone) as in ‘If anyone has information’, or, “If anyone
wishes to obtain”, for many centuries afterward any poster advertisement
in England or in America was known as a siqui?
The Advertising Broker
It was in this time of the growing attractiveness of periodicals to the
national advertiser that the modern advertising agency had its
beginning. Brokers purchased space from publications at whole sale
rates, and resold space to the advertiser at whatever markup the cold
In a larger sense, however, the agency’s chief service in this early
period was to promote the general use of advertising, and to aid in
discovering cheaper and more effective ways of marketing goods.
The shift from “advertising broker” to “advertising agent” was very
important; the emphasis had been changed from working for the interests
of the publication to serving the interests of the advertiser. Thus
today all of the advertising agency’s services are directed toward
helping the advertiser achieve his marketing goals.
Advertising Grows up
In the fist decades of the 20th century, advertising underwent two
marked and significant changes. The first was the recognition by
advertising of its responsibilities to society and business. This
recognition of responsibility was evidenced by the formation of numerous
organizations whose goals were the improvement in the effectiveness of
advertising and control over its taste and honesty.
The second significant development in the early 1900s was the emergence
of the nation and regional advertising agency in much the same forms as
we recognize it today. Advertising agencies are tightly geared just to
provide the advertiser with all those services that will enable him to
invest his advertising dollars most effectively.
The New Face of Advertising
The third development in modern advertising, and perhaps the most
interesting and significant of all, occurred in the first decades of the
last century. Their ingenuity, imagination, and restless curiosity
changed the face of advertising. It changed from something that was
basically a ‘notice’ or a simply an attention-caller, to a logical,
carefully thought-out selling tool fully integrated with the marketing
The Marketplace and What Happens in it
There’re as many definition of marketing as there are authors of
textbooks on the subject. Let’s look at a couple of them:
Richard R. Still and Edward W. Cundiff call it “the business process by
which products are matched with markets and through which transfers of
owner ship are affected”.
William J. Stanton calls marketing “a total system of interacting
business activities designed to plan , price, promote , and distribute
want-satisfying products and services to present and potential
customers” (more precise definition).
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as being made up
of ‘the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods
and services from producer to consumer or user’.
This is a simple explanation of what happens. The key phrases are:
‘from producer to consumer ’, and ‘the flow of goods’.
This is the fate of every product as it makes its way from the
manufacturer’s loading platform to its final destination – into your
hands. A great many things happen to it.
Advertising is one of the things that happen. These forces all work
The quality, appearance, and performance of the product.
How much it costs.
Where you can buy it.
The promotional efforts, including advertising, that help to sell it.
Sometimes advertising can be very important. For another product,
distribution may be the vital force.
The Consumer and Why He Acts the Way He Does
The ‘image makers’ are all around us, and they are not confined to
advertising. Publicists and press agents, retained by individuals, are
paid to develop or change images. The Hollywood drum – beaters have in
the past created ‘sex kittens’ out of some very ordinary country girls.
People, through their own efforts or the efforts of others, can reflect
a certain image. Business can also fix a certain place for them in the
public regard. To many large companies the ‘corporate image’ is very
important and carefully protected. Sometimes a company must fight to
overcome an industry image. This is about corporate images for big
companies. Does this apply to a smaller businessman? It certainly does.
When a local retailer institutes a policy of ‘return the merchandise and
your money refunded with no questions asked’, the seller is saying to
the consumer, “I’m the kind of strait, honest guy you can trust me”. For
example, a jeweler in a small town who appears on TV every now and then,
talks about his merchandise. He is talking about them with pride and
affection and knowledge. There’s absolutely nothing professional about
his accent or his delivery. Honest jeweler with whom you’d like to do a
Trade Marks, Labels, and Logotypes
To help remember who is doing the talking, companies and products have
ways of branding themselves just as a rancher brands a calf so that he
can distinguish it from other ranchers’ calves.
The ‘brands’ fall into different categories:
Brand names: Usually this is a mad – up name which should be unique and
memorable. Copywriters often spend hours thinking up new names for
products. Some well – known trade names are Exxon, Teflon, and
Symbols: These are literally ‘brands’ which could be reproduced in iron
and burned into surface.
Names: To help keep its name memorable.
Logotypes: You will usually find these at the base of the
advertisement, and often they are a combination of the company name,
a symbol, and slogan if they have one.
Labels: By means of color and design, labels brand a family of
products, such as Campbell Soup, Maxwell House Coffee.
Trade characters: The symbol can be a human or a cartoon character.
Layout design: Sometimes a brand will immediately identify itself by the
design of its advertising layout.
Slogans: These are catchy, memorable lines that put a ‘handle’ on the
company. For example Coca Cola’s “It’s the real thing” or “You can be
sure if it’s Wasting House”.
It’s important to be very careful while thinking up a brand name for a
product. Many brand names have been thought up, registered, and never
used. All slogans, symbols, names, and so on, must be ‘searched’.
The Different Kinds of Advertising
Advertising people recognize a number of different kinds of forms of
advertising. They are differentiated from one another according to the
different jobs they are designed to do. Now let’s take a look at these
different kinds of advertising, and we will fix in our minds the role
they play in the marketing process.
Institutional or Corporate Advertising
This often projects an image of the company. It’s just as important for
a company to have a good character and a good reputation as it is for
individual business person, and for exactly for the same reasons. Your
name has a great deal to do with the consumer – buying decision. The
fact is, all companies have characters and personalities of their own,
and those characteristics affect their relationship with buyers and
Trade or Professional Advertising
Ordinarily you don’t see trade or professional advertising unless you
pick up a publication directed to a particular trade or a profession.
There’re a great many of these publications, and manufacturers fill them
with advertising addressed to retailers. The messages to the retailer
are very different from those addressed to the consumers. In trade
advertising, the manufacturer tells the retailer what he can do for him
in terms of the marketing mix – new, attractive products, money –
making volume, and profit spreads, ingenious distribution plans, and
exciting promotional programs.
You see and hear retail advertising every day. Without it, most
newspapers and radio stations would not be able to exist. And our
television station might find itself somewhat pressed. In most cities of
any size, department store advertising represents an important source of
income for newspapers.
Promotional Retail Advertising
At Christmas, at back – to – school time, and at many other times
during the year, we can see a special kind of retail advertising. This
is advertising that does not directly advertise the products, but
advertises the promotion of a product or group of products. If a famous
author is going to sign autographs at the book store, or if a chef is
going to give omelet cooking lessons in the kitchen – wares section of
the department store, every effort must be made to let as many people as
possible know about the event. Often store promotions are sponsored by
manufacturers. A cosmetic manufacturer may make a ‘beauty consultant’
available. A manufacturer of women’s sports car may provide a traveling
fashion show. If so, the supplier often pays for all or part of the
Industrial advertising is simply advertising directed to a customer who
happens to be an industry. Most people are not particularly conscious of
industrial advertising because they have little occasion to see the
publications in which it appears. But there’s hardly an industry we
might think of – from steel to coal, or from perfume to fishing – that
doesn’t have its own ‘trade book’ devoted to the interests of the
industry. Some of the businesses that advertise in a publication
directed to the fishing industry are: boat builders, rope makers, engine
manufacturers, makers of depth – sounding equipment, marine hardware
manufacturers, paint manufacturers, and publishers of nautical charts
Trade Association Advertising
If you work for a manufacturer, the chances are very good that your
company pays annual dues, is devoted to your broad industry wide
This kind of advertising, which encourages the consumption or use of
cotton, leather, bananas, or mild, is known to marketing people as
‘primary advertising’. It’s differentiated from ‘selective advertising’
that promotes a particular brand of cotton, leather, and so on.
National Consumer Advertising
National consumer advertising is the kind that makes up the bulk of the
advertising you read in your magazines and see on TV. For the most part
it is product advertising by the manufacturer, appealing directly to the
person who will make the purchase at the store.
The People Who Make Advertising
It can make us be surprised to know how many people in our hometown are
concerned with the making and running of advertising.
Not knowing who can do what, and for how much, can turn out to be
expansive. The day may not be far off when you will be given the
responsibility for producing a booklet for your company or getting a 30
– second television commercial made. It is important to know the
services that are available to you in your area, and to be acquainted
with their individual capabilities.
The principle of the advertising agency should and probably will have a
good grasp of marketing theory. This person will undoubtedly have a good
knowledge of the marketing situation in the community and in the region
he is working in. He should be able to sit down with the sales manager
and to work out a sensible marketing plan for the product he will
advertise. He should know the demographics of the region, and the tastes
and background of its people.
The advertising agency should be able to provide the company with
headlines and body text that are attractive, interesting, and hard
Attractive, clean, well – designed layouts should be presented to the
company for each ad the agency makes.
In addition, the advertising agency should have the capability of
purchasing photographs, drawings, and other art work for the company.
The company is going to need expert advice on the amount of advertising
the company will run, and where to run it. The advertising agency should
know media (all the vehicles by which advertising is brought to the
consumers); have the means for placing orders for time and space, and
promptly and accurately provide the company with invoices and records.
Radio – TV
The agency will be able to have prepared and produced for the company
radio and television commercials of competitive creative ability and
quality and in a wide price range.
How Advertising Is Written
Copywriter is the person who conceives and writes advertising. The
responsibility for writing ads and commercials rests with the
copywriter. But in smaller agencies this task is often performed by
someone who might also be an account executive.
In fact, in times when agency profits are slimming, even the larger
agencies begin to seek out people who can be both account executives and
What Does The Copywriter Do?
The term copywriter is not an exact job description. It could mean ‘the
person who writes the words that go into the ad or commercial’. But that
is not quite it. It’s not as simple as that. The writer doesn’t just
write words. He or she creates selling ideas that are expressed in words
and sounds and pictures.
Fortunately the copywriter doesn’t have to work alone – at least not in
big agencies. Before and after the act of getting something down on
paper, there are account executives, research directors, marketing
directors, and art directors with solace, help, and advice. But, of
course, the greatest deal of the work belongs to the copywriter.
What Is a Copywriter?
Writing advertising copy is hard work. It is hard work because
it is constantly demanding;
it calls for the command of a variety of writing styles;
it calls for a peculiar combination of natural talents and inclination
that rarely occurs in one person.
How an Ad Is Written
Before a copywriter gets to the point of actually putting on paper the
words for the ad or commercial, he has gone through several steps.
He has taken a good look at the market segment, and knows the kind of
people he will be talking to.
He has diligently searched for the Main Attraction, and has it firmly
fixed in mind.
He has also sought out the Subsidiary Main Attraction – the other
advantages that are built into the product.
He has determined the most important benefits that his product can offer
In terms of psychological “needs and desires”, he has calculated which
of these benefits will have the greatest appeal to the consumer.
He has begun to run over in his mind the ways in which this appeal may
It is their work to sit and think, hoping to catch that flash of
inspiration that will make the reader stay and read.
How Good Ads Act
It is important to know the way advertising achieves the five basic
steps of getting attention, creating interest, stimulating desire,
imparting conviction, and asking for the order. It’s not enough that an
ad should take the required steps. The real test comes while realizing
how well the steps were done.
Of course, we have seen and read very many ads, even if we weren’t
interested in them. Every time something makes us to read these
advertisements. So it can be interesting what it might have been.
The headline talked directly to you. Chances are, it used the pronouns
“you” or “your”. But, it didn’t leave any doubt that it was talking
right at and to you – and not someone down the street.
The headline said it was going to do something for you. Or, it was going
to show you how you could do something for yourself. The world is full
of people who want to know how to do things – how to be happier, how to
have a clearer complexion, how to be more secure etc.
The headline made you wonder. “What’s it all about?” Maybe it offered
you something brand – new, different, better, or something you’d never
been able to get hands on before. That’s why we will see headline words
such as “At last”, “Now”, “New”, “Announcing”, “Here’s”.
The headline gives you a promise of the good things to come. For
example, it can be a soap, which is kinder to your skin or a cream,
which makes you to get thinner and thinner. The copywriter probably has
some very good and interesting things to say about the product.
Sometimes people complain about ads and commercials that bore them
stiff. They hate those ads. So the copywriters try to find ways to make
people be interested in the product they are advertising. It’s one of
the most difficult things for copywriters.
A good piece of copy makes you want what it has to sell. This, as every
good salesperson knows, is the heart of the selling proposition.
It is not enough to offer a furniture polish that will make tables glow
more attractively; the ad must make the buyer see herself being
complimented by her friends. It is not enough to save money or invest it
wisely; ad must make the customer see themselves at the rail of cruise
ship, reaping the benefits of such a saving or investment program.
Time after time, all through the history of advertising, the most
successful ads as measured by their coupon returns have made the
prospect see him.
What It Takes to Be a Copywriter
Writing successful advertising copy is a tough and demanding job. It
takes knowledge of basic selling fundamentals; a polished writing
talent; the opportunity to have learned and absorbed and benefited from
the coaching of the best of the business; and it takes experience.
There are people around, including advertising people, who feel that
writing successful advertising copy is not so very difficult. But
studying the procedure of making ads we will understand that the
copywriter picks up a pencil with the seriousness of taking a scalpel.
Writing a successful ad is much more difficult than removing an
appendix; and it takes at least as much skills, knowledge, and
experience. Fortunately, bungling the copywriting job won’t cost
someone’s life – just a few thousand dollars in lost sales, somebody’s
job or business.
Advertising Design, Art Director and Copywriter
Nothing happens with the piece of copy until someone breaths life into
it. Nothing happens with the radio commercial until sound technicians
and musicians and actors do their work. And the greatest piece of
newspaper or magazine copy is lifeless until someone visualizes its
appearance and arranges its parts in the most effective way possible.
That “someone” is called an art director.
The fact is that no two segments of an advertising agency have so much
in common as art and copy – although this may come as news to some art
directors and writers. The mode of expression is different (one use a
typewriter, the other a drawing pencil), but the goal is identical. Both
are in the business of getting a message across with a fresh approach.
When art director and copywriter are satisfied that they have a good
visualization for their ad, the art director proceeds to make a layout.
The layout is drawn to the actual dimensions of the finished ad.
Art directors recognize a number of different elements that may play a
part in the making of a layout. They are:
Logotype or signature
Of course, all these do not occur in every layout; but it is the art
director’s job to arrange the elements so that the design of the ad is
eye – catching and attractive.