James Webb Young - Marketing Master
James Webb Young, Jim Young, Ad Man, Professor, The Honorable James
Webb Young-- his titles roll on and on, because his career never stopped.
Young was born in 1886 near Cincinnati, the son of an insurance
He left school in the 6th grade for a book publishing business and rose
within the next 10 years through the ranks to advertising manager -- at
the age of 22.
In 1912, he was invited by Stanley Resor, manager of J. Walter Thompson
ad agency to become a copywriter at their Cincinnati offices.
In 1917, Young went to New York went to New York as a vice-president. A
year later he ran the Western division of all J. Walter Thompson offices.
In 1919, he wrote a then-controversial ad for deodorant Odorno with the
headline, "Within the Curve of a Woman's Arm." The headline for the Odorno
ad cleaverly avoided mentioning the armpit. The ad itself also drew women
in with copy stating that, "persons troubled with perspiration odor seldom
can detect it themselves."
The Odorno campaign ran in the Ladies Home Journal. During that time
the Journal and the American Medical Association warned the product could
be dangerous. Women, who saw the ads as being offensive and disgusting,
cancelled their subscriptions to the Ladies Home Journal. Yet amazingly,
even in the light of 200 cancellations, Odorno sales went up an
increadible 112% in that year.
Later, in 1927, he was sent to Europe to open 5 offices for the agency
in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, and Egypt. Then, in 1928, he decided
he had enough and "retired" to his New Mexico Ranch.
From 1931 to 1939 he served as a professor at the University of
Chicago's new Business School. His lectures became the basis for his book
How To Become An Advertising Man.
In How To Become An Advertising Man, Young lists 7
core concepts that every ad practitioner and copywriter should know:
- Knowledge of Propositions
- Knowledge of Markets
- Knowledge of Messages
- Knowledge of Message Carriers
- Knowledge of Trade Channels
- Knowledge of How Advertising Works
- Knowledge of The Specific Situation
Not content with having some of the best ideas around, Young explained
his process in another book,
A Technique for Producing Ideas.
In 1941, Young took became one of the founders of the War Advertising
Council -- out of which grew the present Advertising Council. He served
both organizations as chairman.
Today, the Advertising Council continues to create public service
messages. The Ad Council is responsible for the creation of Smokey the
Bear and countless other campaigns aimed at raising awareness about issues
such as education, preventative health, community well-being, drug use,
environmental preservation, and strengthening families.
Perhaps one of Young's greatest contributions to the advertising world
is the collection of diary entries that he published each week over a
course of 19 months (June 1942 - December 1943) in Advertising Age.
Later compiled into the book The Diary of An Ad Man,
they give us a greater understanding of the mental, personal and
philosophical traits that made Young successful in the field of
Since I study all the great marketing and advertising gurus
from the past for a
living, you can guess I know what works and what doesn't . But there is only
one that has made me serious money. Click here to who.