Customer Reviews: Tested Advertising Methods (5th Edition) (Prentice Hall Business Classics)
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on October 25, 1999
It is so good because Caples was in the mail order advertising business for forty-something years, and that's one of the few kinds of advertising that gets real feedback. Ads can be tested and the results can be compared. So Caples gives you FACTS rather than opinions about what works in advertising.
The book is very informative and also very interesting because Caples will show you two examples of ads he ran as a split-run and says "one sold three times more than the other; can you guess which one?" Then he'll tell you, and tell you WHY.
Not only that, but the book is extremely readable. I'm the author of Self-Help Stuff That Works, and I'm an expert on putting the most useful information into a readable form, and this book is as good as it gets. As David Ogilvy says in the introduction, "This is, without a doubt, the most USEFUL book about advertising that I have ever read." No more endorsement than that is needed!
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on July 26, 2002
I have read this book twice cover to cover and refer to it almost everyday. If I could have given this book 6 stars I would have done it without reservation.
I have ordered and read at least 4 different books on copywriting and advertising in the last year. Most of the books have good ideas, but none of them describe the methods of writing headlines the way Caples does. He spends 4 chapters on it and let me tell you when he is finished you will know it cold! Personally that would have been enough to sell me on the book, but he doesn't stop there. He talks about scientific advertising to make sure you are writing ads that sell and not waste money. In addition, he talks through how to write the first paragraph and how to structure the copy. Finally, he spends time to talking about how to improve the selling power of copy.
Since I have read this book my ability to write copy has reached a whole new level. If you are in this field or responsible for writing copy I would advise you that this is a book you MUST own.
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on June 20, 2002
There's a reason why David Olgilvy calls this the most useful advertsing book he's ever read! I hold a Ph.D in Sales/Marketing and they simply DO NOT teach this money producing stuff enough at our colleges and universities! Instead, most of them opt for creative mush that's clever and makes for good awards and 5 minute speeches....but doesn't sell anything! If you want simple, brass tacks, powerful advertising advice, this book will be the most delapidated marketing resource in your library!
Is you're serious, RUN, don't walk to the checkout and pickup this incredible book. You'll pay guys like Dan Kennedy hundreds and even thousands of dollars for this advice...but it's all right here! Good stuff!
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on March 16, 2010
The above headline was seriously touted by the 5th edition of this book as an example of a *good* headline. No, I am not kidding. It's on page 59.

John Caples himself would have said it was a crappy headline (no pun intended) because there's no news, it doesn't offer you anything you'd want, and it doesn't arouse your curiosity.

The 5th edition of this book is ruined by all the garbage added by whoever "revised" it.

The other reviewer who said to get the 4th edition is absolutely right. Bottom line: do not buy the 5th edition sold by Amazon. Instead look for a used bookseller offering the 4th edition or earlier. The book that was actually written by Caples is one of the most valuable marketing books, period.
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on May 10, 2006
John Caples is one of advertising's greats, the author of many people's choice for the most successful ad of all time*; Vice President of BBDO for many years; and AdAge's #21 on its list of 100 Top People of the 20th Century. The world's most prestigious creative marketing award is named after him: The John Caples International Award.

He wrote several books, but Tested Advertising Methods is both his most popular and his most useful. I can't imagine a copywiter (and by that I mean anyone who ever writes copy) working without it. First, he explains that advertising is not a science, because you can never predict public opinion with guaranteed results. But you can use a scientific approach to your ads, and by testing, testing, testing them with first one headline and then another, first one offer and then another, you can arrive at an ad that is probably going to be successful. This book tells you how to do that.

Five of its 18 chapters are dedicated to writing headlines, which is as it should be. "If the headline is poor, the copy will not be read," he tells us, and offers 29 different formulas for writing good headlines. Other chapters that stand out, deal with "appealing to the masses," and "the right appeal." The chapter on small ads tells not only how to write them, but what sort of products to write them for.

Caples includes many famous ads, reproduced in full and accompanied by his notes on why they did or didn't work. They're a treasure chest for anyone who does his best learning by example. Many of them will sound old-fashioned ("Here's an Extra $50, Grace. I'm making real money now!"), but their basic principles are solid, and it just takes a little imagination to re-work them for today's audience.

I have a healthy collection of books on advertising, marketing and copywriting, including many of the classics. But if my library caught fire, this is the book I would try to save.

* "They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano..." written for the U.S. School of Music by Caples in 1921.
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on January 8, 2000
Caples was one of the most capable men to write on the effectiveness of advertising. Because he worked in direct-mail advertising most of his life.
The book is full of Gems and suggestions that are as applicable today as they were in his days. Tested Advertising Methods is as basic to advertising as the alphabet is to mankind.
I also suggest; How to make you advertising make money also by Caples and Ogilvy on Advertsing by David Ogilvy.
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on May 28, 2001
And when they saw the RESULTS of my advertisement, the other guys simply said "Where do you get your ideas?" But, truth be told, my ideas are not all that original, but they do work, and I get my source from Tested Advertising Methods.
And that's the premise of this book--ads that are going to work; ads that will bring in customer response; ads that will produce sales. Sometimes you see advertisements with clever copy. But this book shows you how to write headlines, use effective copy, and properly use graphics that will help you SELL a service or product.
In most advertising books, you get clever ideas on ads. Some of those ads may have worked, and some may have flopped. If you want tested advertising methods, then get the book "Tested Advertising Methods". If you want one book that will show you how to sell a product or service, then get this book.
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on January 7, 2004
First read Claude Hopkins's "Scientifc Advertising," then read this. Any modern-day advertisers and copywriters who don't follow the teachings of Caples and Hopkins are doomed to failure.
Caples picked up where Hopkins left off, expanding upon Hopkins's work and breaking new ground with his work. Far too many advertisers today fail to heed the advice of Caples and it shows both in their advertisng and the results they achieve.
"Tested Advertisng Methods," together with "Scientific Advertising," form the Bible of Advertising. If you are a serious student of advertising and/or copywriting, this has to be on your bookshelf.
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on November 21, 2002
Well, maybe not quite, but this volume and Bob Bly's "The Copywriter's Handbook" would make an excellent base from which to launch a career--provided you mastered everything contained therein.
A classic, this book goes into what sells and what doesn't; the role of headlines-- what makes one good or bad; and other techniques of selling.
If you are curious about what does and doesn't work in advertising, you need this timeless, yet timely resource. And if you are a copywriter, this is required reading and belongs on your book shelf!
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As an author and professional speaker on marketing, I've recommended this book for years. It provides more specifics and sound advice for novice and experienced marketers on direct response advertising than anything else I've seen. It provides good fuel to test an ad agency's stuff-- especially those that say things like "oh, you can't track that..." I've re-read this book probably 20 times -- and you should too if you really want to improve the results of your advertising.
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