Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
Review - 4.5 Stars
I have just finished reading "Tested Advertising Methods : Fifth Edition" by John Caples and revised by Fred E. Hahn.
No wonder it is considered a direct response marketing classic.
Apart from too much repetition, I think it is a terrific book.
John Caples is another of the classic advertising men like Claude Hopkins and Robert Collier with a prodigious talent for copywriting.
He was a naval engineer turned advertising man - and like all engineers thrived on analysis and he developed the ideas included in this book.
The only thing that interested him was advertising that sold - and he systematically tested little changes to see if they would work better.
If they did, he learnt. If they didn't, he also learnt. It's hard to remind yourself that copywriting failures are great lessons but it's always worthwhile to back and look at why readers didn't respond in the way you expected. Hindsight with knowledge can be a great eye-opener.
John Caples Was Also A Creative Genius
But John Caples wasn't just about analytical research.
He was also a creative genius with words.
At the age of 25 and within months of starting as a copywriter he created one of THE classic headlines to sell a correspondence course in playing the piano.
"They Laughed When I Sat Down
At The Piano
But When I Started To Play!-
It was immensely successful and since then has been adapted many times and is quoted in most books on copywriting.
Within a month, John Caples himself had reworked the headline to sell a French correspondence course:
"They grinned when the waiter spoke to me in French -
but their laughter turned to amazement at my reply"
The same kind of emotional pull - embarrassment turns to respect.
The last time I saw the twist, it was on the upgraded Magnetic Marketing System (affiliate link) from Dan Kennedy.
There Is An Excellent Section On Headlines
These few chapter will pay for the cost of the book on its own many times over.
The rest of the book is also packed with stuff that works - and when you see it, you understand why - or at least I do, most of the time.
Tested Advertising Methods As Revised by Fred Hahn
When I reviewed Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins I said it was very good but the writing style is old fashioned.
Fred Hahn has done an excellent job (or labour of love) in bringing this advertising and copywriting classic up to date with this revision in 1997.
Modern adverts are used as well as the old classics and you can see how things have developed.
Overall Recommendation on "Tested Advertising Methods" by John Caples
Read this book.
I rate it as a 4.5 star book which is a strong buy recommendation.
For much of the book, I thought I had found a five star book - but in the end, the repetition got to me and I have docked it half a point.
My copy is covered in highlights and I will be updating my copywriting notes with huge chunks of this book.
While the ideas in this book are referred to in many modern copywriting books, I don't believe that there is any substitute for reading the original.
Tested Advertising Methods is rightly regarded as a copywriting and direct response marketing classic.
Buying Your Copy from Amazon
What Do You Think of This John Caples Book?
I am very interested to hear what you think about this book if you have read it.
Is it right that it is regarded as an all time classic or do you, for example, prefer Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins.