Chasers retooled for a new age

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After a hiatus of several months for rethinking and retooling, Chasers is back again anchoring the final edit page, as it had since the debut of BtoB in March 2000. Longtime readers, though, know the ad review column has been around much longer than that—more than 75 years, in fact. In August 1936, Industrial Marketing, the forerunner of BtoB, debuted a column called “O.K. as Inserted,” conceived as a “nod in the direction of the unsung industrial copywriter.” This monthly review—compiled for 45 years under the direction of Howard “Scotty” Sawyer, a copywriter for James Thomas Chirurg and Marsteller Inc.—eventually came to be known as Copy Chasers, a name it retained with the transformation of Industrial Marketing into Business Marketing in April 1983. “Copy” was dropped from the title with the change to BtoB. Through the various stages of evolution the column has adhered to the Copy Chaser Commandants, as handed down by the wise Mr. Sawyer:
  • The successful ad has a high degree of visual magnetism.
  • The successful ad selects the right audience.
  • The successful ad invites the reader into the scene.
  • The successful ad should promise a reward.
  • The successful ad backs up the promise.
  • The successful ad presents the selling proposition logically.
  • The successful ad talks “person-to-person.”
  • Successful ads are easy to read.
  • Successful advertising emphasizes the service, not the source.
  • Successful advertising reflects the company's character.
We will continue to be guided by these principles as we review the latest in b-to-b advertising in print, broadcast and online. They've held up well over the years and, as can be seen in this month's installment on Super Bowl spots, they can be applied equally to the latest GE branding efforts and GoDaddy's body-painting commercial. One thing that's new in the latest incarnation of Chasers is a rating system that's been added to the ad reviews. It's a simple system based on 4 stars for a top-notch performance, down to 0 for a dismal one. The emphasis, as always, is on the creative, not the results. Although Scotty Sawyer became well known in industrial advertising circles, he toiled in anonymity when it came to Copy Chasers. That's a tradition that's been followed to this day. The newest Chasers captain shared these thoughts on taking the column's helm: “The new approach is to shine a brighter focus on fewer ads. We want to use the large size of our pages to show more of the artwork involved in the ads we're discussing. “We also want to make sure we cover the three main areas of b-to-b advertising in every installment of Chasers: print, broadcast and digital. We especially want to give more attention to digital, which we believe—as a whole—is not setting the creative bar very high.” As we're setting the bar high for the ads we critique, we hope you'll do the same for the revamped Chasers. John Obrecht is editor of BtoB and BtoB's Media Business. He can be reached at
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