“There is no better test of an advertisement than whether or not it actually sells the product! In fact, it is the only true way of determining if your advertisement works.”
— John Caples, Advertising Hall of Fame
Truer words have rarely been spoken in marketing circles.
John Caples was a legendary ad man (Mad Man) who is probably best known for writing one of the most famous advertising headlines ever when he was a young copywriter in 1926:
“They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano but When I Started to Play!”
The copy that followed was long. Several hundred words long, designed to solicit students for a correspondence course at the U.S. School of Music. And the ad was an instant and classic success, inspiring many imitations over the years.
Caples went on to become an expert in direct-response advertising. According to his obituary in the New York Times:
“Mr. Caples was credited with pioneering many aspects of advertising, including copy testing and extensive research. He debunked humorous advertising copy, saying that ‘only half the people in this country have a sense of humor, and clever ads seldom sell anything.’ He also advised copywriters to ‘use words you would expect to find in a fifth-grade reader’’ because ‘the average American is approximately 13 years old mentally.’
Mr. Caples was elected to the American Advertising Federation’s Hall of Fame in 1977 and passed away in 1990. But his pioneering thoughts and practices about advertising live on.
At Pace, we adhere to some of Caples’ big ideas about advertising – including the quote at the top of this page. What’s the point of advertising if not to sell product? To move people to action? In fact, it’s a philosophy we’ve adopted in one of our own agency taglines:
At Pace, we move people.
At another time, in another attempt to convey this idea and to reflect our agency specialization in working with real estate clients, we said:
Pace brings faces to spaces and places.
In other words, the ads, branding and marketing campaigns we create at Pace are strategically developed to get results. To move people. To bring faces to clients’ spaces and places. To generate real traffic. Real results.
We’ve been doing this for over 65 years now: providing successful, results-oriented marketing solutions for our clients. The tools have changed over the years, but we remain adept at moving people through targeted marketing strategies, compelling creative, and meticulously executed campaigns across a mix of marketing channels. Simply put, we move consumers to take action. Getting them from their place to your place. Actively engaging with your business. And buying. Some call this “direct response.” We prefer to call it action-oriented marketing. And it’s at the heart of every campaign we develop.
We’d like to think that Mr. Caples would be proud.