“Most advertising copywriters know their fundamentals. Many of us practice them. Some of us should get back to them.
“Whether one is now studying to go into the field of copywriting, whether he is new in the craft, or whether he has been a practitioner in it for years, his knowledge—and practice—of these fundamentals will determine the extent of his success.
“As Daniel Defoe said, ‘An old and experienced pilot loses a ship by his assurance and over-confidence of his knowledge as effectively as the young pilot does by his ignorance and want of experience.’
“So this book will strip down to fundamentals, try to forget the furbelows. For, as time goes on, every line of creative work gets cluttered up with impressive jargon and off-the-beam technicalities, with professional palaver that strays far away from the main objective.”
– Victor 0. Schwab
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Victor O. Schwab, shorthand secretary for Ruthrauff & Ryan’s Maxwell Sackheim in 1917, so improved Sackheim’s copy that he was promoted to copywriter and went on to be hailed as “the greatest mail-order copywriter of all time.” A copy research pioneer, Schwab would use his coded coupon ads to test headlines, copy appeals, length, layouts, action closings and split runs of ads. He created Sunday comics ads for Dale Carnegie, body-builder Charles Atlas and Sherwin Cody’s English Classics Course. In 1926, Schwab and Robert Beatty bought out Sackheim & Scherman and went on to build the giant Book-of-the-Month Club. (source: Advertising Age)
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