That note would have ended up in the trash if
Lasker, the firm's junior partner, had not been in the office. Unknown
to Kennedy, Lasker had been searching for the answer to that question for
Lasker, starving for the answer, quickly summoned Kennedy to his
office. What Kennedy told him that night was simple. Just three words that
ultimately changed advertising forever:
Advertising is Salesmanship-In-Print.
This concept was so basic and so effective that no one has since been
able to improve upon it since. (Of course, it has evolved to "Salesmanship
in print, on the air, or online.")
Was Kennedy right? Well, his previous work for The Regal Shoe Company,
Post Grape Nuts Postum Coffee and Dr. Shoop's Family Medicine Co. proved
that he isolated this fundamental concept.
After that historic meeting with Lasker, Kennedy was hired by Lord &
Thomas and became the highest paid copywriter in all of advertising.
Lasker commissioned Kennedy to write the breakthrough principles into a
series of lessons. They were eventually all compiled into a book called
"The Book of Advertising Tests". And it was used to train Lasker and the
Lord & Thomas copywriters.
In addition to "Salesmanship-In-Print", Kennedy taught another new
basic concept: Reason-Why Advertising. You must give prospects a
reason why people should want your product or service.
Kennedy also showed how to know effective copy and how to test copy.
Soon, Lord & Thomas became the training center of the advertising
world. Their copywriters were so good that other agencies began luring
them away with high salaries.
Thus, the principles of Salesmanship-In-Print spread throughout the
advertising world. And many started their own agencies, like John Orr
Young who co-founded Young & Rubicam.
In 1907, Kennedy left Lord & Thomas to become a principal in Ethridge-Kennedy
Co. in New York and to pursue a number of other jobs. In 1911, Kennedy
returned to Lord & Thomas and freelanced his services for a short period
of time. He became wealthy by freelancing for B.F. Goodrich tires who paid
him $20,000 a year.
In 1912, "The Book of Advertising Tests" was re-published with a new,
more appropriate title: "Reason-Why Advertising". (However two chapters
were removed: a non-instructive chapter listing Lord & Thomas' data of
results, and a chapter that basically says that good copy is just measured
by how much it sells.)
In 1914, Kennedy was paid $25,000 to write a report to a group of
publishers on what could be done to improve advertising. This report was
called "Intensive Advertising".
Kennedy died at the age of 64 on January 8, 1928. And although his
advertising career was short, he made a tremendous impact in advertising
with just three words.