president of Papert Koenig Lois Inc.
The Advertising Writers Club
November 9, 1961
ELEVEN. "Great, but will it sell?"
Right from the start, a lot of people, including some of our present clients, have looked at the work we do and said "Great! But does it sell ?"
Let me give you some examples, not so much to_demonstrate our virtue but to give you some weapons against the infidels who press you in.
For example, in drugs.
These are drug ads.
Everyone said "You can't sell drugs like that."
Everyone know you couldn't sell drugs like that.
Everyone knew how to sell drugs.
Cross sections of nasal passages.
Well, obviously you can sell drugs with nasal passag.
People are doing it successfully.
We wanted to demonstrate that good taste can also sell drugs---that good taste can be good business.
it clogs it runs
Is it a cold? Or is it an allergy?
It can sneeze like a cold, tear like a cold, sniff like a cold, blow like a cold, feel like a cold---and still be a allergy. One way to tell: if you have 3 or more colds a year, the chances are good your cold is an allergy. Take Allerest.
Another way to tell: you have hayfevers in summer, you're probably allergic in winter to dust, or feathers, or dogs, or cats, or wool, or cosmetics. (Sorry, daring.) You sniffle and sneeze like a common cold. Take Allerest.
This new tablet calms the cough, the sneeze, the tears, the runny nose, the itchy eye of allergic cold. No cold tablet can work as well. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah choo! Take Allerest. (When you have a cold, you usually develop resistance that should protect you for some time. So if you have repeated colds, take Allerest. Your druggist has Allerest and will tell you about it.)
24 tablets for $1.15. 48 tablets for $1.98.
In a bad cold market last year---spending far less money than competition---this kind of advertising increased Coldene's share of market.
Two summers ago 'we tested Allerest, a new allergy tablet, in four Midwest cities. Last summer we were in some thirty percent of the country.
People said "You can't sell a drug like that," but we did.
After six lean years, advertising like this is finally selling some Wolfschmidt Vodka.
Some people dismissed this Peugeot ad as an advertisement for our agency.
It was the most successful Peugeot ad of all in numbers of inquiries.
And since we've taken over Peugeot,
Peugeot sales have doubled.
Are you familiar with Dilly Beans?
This is an odd way to sell a grocery product.
But it sold.
The next time an account man or some supervisor or the president of your agency or the chairman of the board says:
"Well, that is all very well, very imaginative, and creative, but will it sell ?", you say "Of course, J.B., of course it sells."
And we'll back you up.
TWELVE. Starch figures.
I like Starch figures when we score well and I have no use for them when we score badly.
I like them when they praise our ads and I dislike them when they dislike our ads.
Did you see the Creative Man's Corner(Ad Age Nov. 6 1961) this week?
How can anyone take that kind of judgment seriously?
FOURTEEN. How do you tell whether your ad is? good or bad?
Pretesting won't do it. If anyonetells you he can predetermine an advertisement's success, stick close to him.
He can make a million dollars a day.
Researchers can't do it. I've yet to see a good ad created by research.
Here is the only test for good or bad advertising I know of.
If you look at your advertisement and want to puke, the chances are it's a bad ad.
But if you are pleased by it, if you would read it, be involved in it, be moved by it, the chances are it is a good advertisement.
You can't create good advertising by writing for a fictitious consumer in Des Moines whom you are told IS stupider, less hep and has less taste than you. Remember, the wife you write to may be your own.
You are the best measure of your own work.
If it delights you, informs you, sells you, it will delight and inform and sell others.
Of course, I assume you are a good person, talented and have good taste.
You can only make gold from gold.
Let me repeat.
The only valid test of the work you create is you.
If you don't like it, don't let it
out of your typewriter. If you do this, you can at least be proud of your work.
If all copywriters do it, we can raise the standards of the profession.
They can't fire all the copywriters in New York-at least not on the same day.
FIFTEEN. Ted Bates. Before you knock Ted Bates
(and a lot of writers do) make sure you understand
your ground. After all, have you done a better campaign than M&M chocolates?
SIXTEEN. How do we work at Papert, Koenig, Lois?
A snarling copywriter is locked in a room with an ego-maniacal art director and we don't let them out until they are purring.
SEVENTEEN. The bad name of advertising.
Advertising gets its bad name not because the public doesn't understand us, but because it does.
A lot of advertising is vulgar, illiterate, ugly and filled with puffery.
All these things happen when you don't care how you sell.
Inevitably, you seek the lowest common denominator to sell the most consumers.
That can be pretty low. That is why so many advertising people are ashamed of their work.
Some of us believe good taste can be good business.
I know you do too.
All of us want to create what we can have pride in.
To elevate taste, not degrade it.
To respect people, not demean them.
To honor the English language, not debase it.
And since this is what we all want, why don't we all do it?
EIGHTEEN. Some of my best friends are copywriters.