John Caples

Which of our ads will work best, where, when and why?

by John Caples

‘I have seen one mail-order advertisement actually sell not twice as much, not three times as much but nineteen and a half times as much merchandise as another ad for the same product. Both were run in the same publication. Both had photographic illustrations. Both had carefully written copy. The difference was that one used the right appeal and the other used the wrong appeal.’

So said the legendary John Caples. Is that worth knowing? You bet. Read our review of a timeless fundraising classic here.

Reviewed for SOFII by Ken Burnett. 

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About the author

John Caples: For more than 50 years, John Caples served as one of advertising’s most effective copywriters. Caples mastered results-oriented mail-order copy at Ruthrauff & Ryan, where he wrote, arguably, the twentieth century's most successful such ad. The US School of Music ad dramatically exemplified Caples’ belief that people yearn to be carefree and popular. As a teacher, lecturer and writer, he stressed simplicity and ‘getting to the point quickly’. He joined what became Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn in 1927, where he served almost to the end of his days.

The Caples Awards, honouring the best in direct and interactive marketing around the world, was founded in 1978 by Andi Emerson, a direct marketing pioneer, in honour of John Caples.