Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Check out these “old school” ad writing tips from the Father of Modern Advertising! [Tuesdays: “Write with the Pen of the Masters”]

March 22, 2021

Do you want to know what advertising was like in the “Wild West” days?

(Wild West = A place or situation in which disorderly behavior prevails, especially due to a lack of regulatory oversight or an inadequate legal system)

In 1946, an ad by Camel promoted “healthy cigarettes,” proclaiming that “more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette!”

Back then, customers claimed they felt no ill effects after using the brand’s tobacco products. They even said they were going to “live until a hundred years old!”

Do you think these kinds of ads still have high chances of succeeding in today’s world?

“False claims” like the ones from Camel’s 1946 ad are less likely to be responded to positively today. In a hyper-connected digital world, consumers do their own research to root out fake news.

For this reason, modern advertising is now governed by laws that have elevated this business aspect to a “science.”

One of marketing’s great pioneers is Claude Hopkins, who is also known as the Father of Modern Advertising.

In his book titled, “Scientific Advertising,” Hopkins states:

“Advertising, once a gamble, has thus become, under able direction, one of the safest business ventures. Certainly no other enterprise with comparable possibilities need involve so little risk.”

With that, here are four tips from Hopkins’ book to help you in writing copies or content for your advertisements.

  1. Make great headlines.

    “The purpose of a headline is to pick out people you can interest. Nobody reads a whole newspaper.” – Claude Hopkins

    Considering the vastness of the world of the Internet, it’s possible for you and your brand to get lost in the sea of online content.

    Remember: You’re not the only one who’s posting online. Other companies are also fighting for consumer attention.

    If you want your brand to stay on top of consumers’ minds, you have to make sure the content you publish is competent, insightful, useful, and worthy of attention.

    Even your copies’ headlines need to be attention-grabbing! That’s the reason why they’re even called headlines in the first place.

    You want your target readers to be interested to know more about your brand or whatever topic you discuss.

    One of the steps to creating a good headline is knowing who your target market is. As a copywriter, you must know that you should not skip this crucial part.

    Aside from that, you must also take note of the 4Us in creating captivating headlines: Useful, Urgent, Unique, and Ultra-Specific.

    Don’t settle for generic banners―that won’t make an impact on your readers.

    Instead, strive to come up with interesting headlines that will compel your target market to read up to the bottom of your content.

    For example, Hopkins coined the phrase “Food shot from guns” in 1913 for Quaker Oats after witnessing the explosive process of making puffed grains.

    That phrase really caught people’s attention and boosted the brand’s sales.

  2. Know how to really “sell it.”

    “We cannot say that an article will be popular, but we know how to sell it in the most effective way.” – Claude Hopkins

    Hopkins was a man who could turn the problem of “customers’ non-consumption” into regular consumption and loyalty!

    Here’s one secret to Hopkins’ advertising success:

    He lived as one of the users of the product he advertised.

    Hopkins put himself into consumers’ shoes so he could understand their needs and pain points… and he didn’t stop there!

    He made sure the products he advertised delivered quality outputs and addressed his target market’s needs and pain points.

    As a copywriter, what important lesson can you learn from Hopkins’ marketing experience?

    Customers are always looking for remarkability in a brand’s products or services.

    Find out what characteristics make your business unique, incorporate those qualities in your copies, then use them as a springboard to boost your sales and customer conversion rates!

  3. Tell a story.

    As a body of knowledge, sciences are ruled by facts, figures, technicalities, etc.

    However, statistics do not usually stick well in the human mind. If you fill your copies with lots of numbers and other things they are not familiar with, readers will immediately lose interest in your article.

    What’s worse is…

    Your target market might resolve to not read ANY of your published content anymore because of the notion that your copies are all hard to understand.

    So… what can you do to preempt such a scenario?

    Maximize storytelling techniques!

    According to a study by Harvard Business Review, stories are far more effective in persuading people than mere facts and figures.

    Nick Morgan, author of the book titled, “Power Cues,” says stories stick in readers’ minds by “attaching emotions to things that happen.”

    Incorporating bits and pieces of your company’s narrative or principles is a great way to display the values and essence of your brand.

    That is why writers who create and share good stories have an advantage over others―they are able to make their target market relate to their copies.

With a lot of other businesses and marketing strategies out there, making your articles stand out is truly a challenge.

However, with consistent practice and effort, you’ll enhance your copywriting style in a manner that will give you an edge over your competitors.

Follow these tips from the Father of Modern Advertising and ensure your copies encourage your readers to keep coming back for more!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Write with the Pen of the Masters”

Who doesn’t find content writing to be a skill that requires a lot of practice and effort?

In fact, many people may even find copywriting very intimidating.

However, you can be a good writer as long as you have the right tools. You won’t always get things right the first time, but with enough time and practice, you’ll get the hang of it!

When you write a copy for any brand or for your company, your aim is to make an impact and…

…to get people to remember.

Getting people to remember means getting consumers to buy your product or to avail of your service.

And when you get your content to deliver the results you want, THAT is a great copy!

Every Tuesday, we publish content based on tips and insights from the masters of content writing, copywriting, and storytelling.

Become more familiar with ways to write great copy that helps you gain ROI from your efforts, drive profitability, and achieve your business goals.

Learn time-tested tactics that better capture the attention of your target audience, and maximize the benefits of great copywriting.

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Write with the Pen of the Masters!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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