What does John Kennedy have to do with marketing as we know it today? A lot.

“John Kennedy” – Now that’s a famous name, right?

Well… this story may not end how you think it does.

yeskennedyIt was about 6:15 pm on a typical May evening in 1905 when Kennedy sent a note to A.L. Thomas, the head of the Lord & Thomas advertising agency.

The note read: “I am in the saloon downstairs. I can tell you what advertising is. I know you don’t know. It will mean much to me to have you know what it is and it will mean much to you. If you wish to know what advertising is, send the word “yes” down by the bell boy.”

That note would have ended up in the trash if…

Albert Lasker, the firm’s junior partner, had not been in the office. Unknown to Kennedy, Lasker had been searching for the answer to that question for 7 years.

Lasker, starving for the answer, quickly summoned Kennedy to his office.

What Kennedy told him that night was simpleā€¦

Just three words that ultimately changed advertising forever: Advertising is “Salesmanship-In-Print”.

John E Kennedy changed advertising forever with just those three words: “Salesmanship-In-Print”

This concept was so basic and so effective that no one has since been able to improve upon it since. (Of course, it has evolved to “Salesmanship in print, on the air, or online.”)

This John Kennedy is probably not who you think he is.

This John Kennedy was a former Canadian mounted policeman.

And that’s one of the most valuable lessons of this story. He’s obviously not the wealthy politician you thought he was. But what’s more, he also was not some world reknown marketing genius either. He was a policeman who took an interest in advertising.

He had begun to experience early success with his fascination for advertising. Working for The Regal Shoe Company, Post Grape Nuts, Postum Coffee, and Dr. Shoop’s Family Medicine Co. proved that he isolated his fundamental concept of “Salesmanship-In-Print”.

After that historic meeting with Lasker, Kennedy was hired by Lord & Thomas and became the highest paid copywriter in all of advertising.

Lasker commissioned Kennedy to write the breakthrough principles into a series of lessons. They were compiled into a book called “The Book of Advertising Tests”. These lessons were used to train Lasker and the Lord & Thomas copywriters.

Soon, Lord & Thomas copywriters became so good that other agencies began luring them away with high salaries.

Thus, the principles of “Salesmanship-In-Print” spread throughout the advertising world.

Kennedy became wealthy by freelance copywriting for B.F. Goodrich tires, which paid him $20,000 a year – a huge fee for those times.

Kennedy died at the age of 64 on January 8, 1928. And although his advertising career was short, he made a tremendous impact in advertising with just three words, “Salesmanship-In-Print”.

Whether You Realize It Or Not, EVERYTHING We Do In Online Marketing Is Greatly Influenced By John Kennedy And His Ingenious Approach To Selling.



Chris Moran, Inc 500 CEO and Founder, EvergreenAutomation.com
Author of Amazon #1 Best Seller “Customer Getting”

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