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The Advertising Century

Rosser Reeves

Published on .

Rosser Reeves
(1910-1984)
Ted Bates & Co., New York

Picking up where the no-nonsense "advertising must sell" preachings of John E. Kennedy and Claude Hopkins left off, Reeves' mid-century Unique Selling Proposition concept focused on driving home a central, research-based selling point. A copywriter at a Virginia bank, Reeves moved to New York, worked at various agencies and in 1940 joined Bates. Reeves meshed USP and repetition to drive Viceroy, Anacin, Carter's Little Liver Pills, Listerine and Colgate toothpaste sales. In 1952, his spot TV approach was adapted to help elect Dwight Eisenhower president of the U.S., thereby changing American political campaigns. His 1961 best-seller, "Reality in Advertising," made Reeves, David Ogilvy's brother-in-law, an advertising standard-bearer.

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