The Advertising Century

John Caples

Published on .

John Caples
Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, New York

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 20th century's most successful such ad: "They laughed when I sat down at the piano -- but when I started to play!" The U.S. 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.