A Short Course in Copywriting

There’s a book called How to Write a Good Advertisement, by Victor O. Schwab.  It’s a book I should have read twenty, maybe twenty-five years ago. But thankfully, after years of inculcating and applying the accrued wisdom of other advertising and marketing Hall of Famers such as Bob Bly, Dan Kennedy, David Ogilvy, Gary North, Herschel Lewis, Don Hauptman, Michael Masterson, Jay Abraham, et al., along with more recent heavyweights and masters of the trade, Nick Usbourne, Steve Slaunwhite and others, I’m now reading and studying this little classic to find out what I’ve been missing.

The answer is, NOT MUCH!

What that means is, the insights, principles and precepts found in this book are so POWERFUL and UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED as being spot on, and have so diffused and permeated the professional world of advertising and copywriting for so long, to the point of being the RECEIVED WISDOM and considered INCONTROVERTIBLE among the learned ones, that I found myself feeling almost as if I had been tracing a family tree all this time and had just stumbled across its ROOTS.

I’m amazed at how far and wide the impact of the book has been in the realm of copywriting and advertising over the past five decades.  Clearly this was Mr. Schwab’s magnum opus.

This classic how-to manual (with quiz questions after every chapter) distills the art and science of advertising and copywriting down to its pure essence.  Clinical, analytical, logical and practical, yet thoughtful and warm in tone and approach, it tackles the hard-nosed questions of what works, what doesn’t, and why.

It’s one of those indispensable works that reminds you how simple yet profound are the undeniable truths that rule the marketplace and the hearts and minds of those we wish to reach in our markets.

The lessons learned in How to Write a Good Advertisement transcend the immediate venue of marketing and selling products and services to our clients.  They open up new vistas to reveal a whole lot of insight into how people think, react and respond to almost any and every message that is conveyed to them in myriad ways during the course of their everyday busy lives.

I’ll be summarizing the main points of that book here on this site.  Naturally, if you’re the least bit inclined to go out and buy it–what am I saying? I mean sit down and ORDER it (online)!–I highly recommend it to you.

It’s a seminal work, published the year I was born, 1962 — which means it READS like a book published in 1962! And that is as it should be.

But that’s the attractiveness of it.  It hails from an earlier time in the Great Ages of Marketing, when print advertising ruled the world, and copywriters, ad directors and editors were the gatekeepers and dispensers of all knowledge and marketing success.

Today, things are different. Copywriters and marketing and advertising people are still, to some extent, gatekeepers.  But now there a lot more gates to keep–and a lot more knowledge to dispense, and a lot more NEW ways to dispense it–and the success you seek is as likely to be self-directed and achieved using electrons instead of atoms as not! (Think about that one.)

I hope you find the summaries useful and practical.

For your success,

Paul J. Ramirez


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