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Tested Advertising Methods (5th Edition) (Prentice Hall Business Classics) Paperback – June 25, 1998
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I will say that the principles within this book are timeless, but you will find yourself having to become analytical to find a way to apply them to modern day applications as digital marketing is dominate these days.
This book is a good addition to the marketing/sales or business section of your library.
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.
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.
Written by one of the gurus from the glory days when newspaper and other forms of hard-copy were the best way to reach the masses, it explains the hows as well as the whys of writing effective advertising content. Today, in many cases the delivery vehicle has changed from paper to a computer or cell phone screen. The target however, the human mind, remains the same.