Clyde Bedell - Marketing Advertising Master
LOS ANGELES -- Retail advertising expert confesses:
"All good selling is serving."
The first name recorded in the National Retail Advertising Hall of Fame
was Clyde Bedell’s. Among six nationally known nominees he was given 65
percent of all 2000 votes cast from sales and promoting executives.
Born in 1898, Bedell found himself in the forefront of the advertising
industry by the 1930's and 40's.
He taught businesses to sell and advertise more effectively and
intelligently, always in accord with his basic belief: "good selling is
In his first advertising agency job he raised about $50,000 among the
nations osteopaths by mail -- over 75 years ago!
He sold the Curtis Publishing Company on accepting the only advertising
they have ever run on any system of therapeutics -- a series of half pages
in the Saturday Evening Post. And Clyde Bedell wrote the ads, too. He was
22 at the time.
In California, when Californians, Inc. was one of the countries big
national accounts, he handled half of it for one advertising agency, when
he was 25. Clyde counted coupons and analyzed ads in detail. He wrote ads
that produced coupons from better-qualified prospects for half to
two-thirds the cost of his competitor's.
At Butlers Brothers, then the world’s largest wholesalers, he sold
general merchandise, by mail, and had actual response on about $2,000,000
worth of direct selling advertising a year, when that was a lot of money.
He reduced mail selling costs so much he was made Director of Sales and
Advertising, over about 1000 employees. Applying his principles of mail
selling to man-selling, he generated enormous specialty volume, and taught
sales staffs that "formula selling" pays off handsomely.
In 1934-5 for N.W.Ayer, he sold Ford the only national sales training
program they had used in many years. He then created the entire program (a
reversal of policy in car presentations), and this was the one year in ten
before the last World War, and many years flowing, that Ford beat
Chevrolet in sales.
Years later, Mercedes Benz was so thrilled with just one idea he
gave them that they gave him a brand new car. That single idea sold tons
While lecturing copyrighting classes at the Northwestern University
School of Commerce, Bedell could not find a book that presented a
systematic, integrated approach to the creation of selling copy; not just
words for words' sake. But powerful persuasive copy that would make
advertising highly profitable.
He found no book based on the organized siftings of systematic
research. Instead he found assorted intuitions and fragments of
So, he wrote his own textbook, How To Write Advertising That Sells,
which McGraw-Hill published first in 1940, followed by a second revised
edition in 1952. It became a hot best seller among teachers and
practitioners, and entrepreneurs because of its informal style and
plentiful examples. I have this book available if you want one. It's not
listed on my site. E-mail me for details to
By 1963 Clyde Bedell's advertising techniques were so successful in so
many different industries that the Newspaper Advertising Executives
Association literally begged him to write down all his secrets in an
easy-to-use, systematic course -- How To Convert White Space Into
Advertising That Sells. I have this book available if you want one
too. It's not listed on my site. E-mail me for details to
In How To Convert White Space Into Advertising That Sells,
Bedell reveals six foundation truths that makes marketing successful:
All good selling is serving.
People only buy to get benefits.
Benefits must be supported by product points and features.
People will read any amount of copy -- as long as it's interesting,
helpful or service-rendering copy.
For consistent profitable advertising: there must be planning, and on
The "boss" -- the top management -- must understand, believe in and
enforce these foundation truths and the principles that make advertising
Bedell fearlessly challenged anyone in the advertising community who
based their practice of advertising mainly on hunch or intuition. He
rightly challenged those who claimed to be "professionals" who wasted
advertising dollars on methods long proven by research to be ineffective.