The entire world history of advertising is the history of copywriting if you consider this craft in its true purpose. It is the word for centuries that has borne that “selling moment”, which is the main driver of advertising. Design, as a sales tool, only became significant in the mid-20th century, the basic function always fulfilling the word.
The first advertising agency in the world was Walney Palmer’s office, which opened in 1943 under the most multi-circulation American newspaper “The sun”, published in New York. It was then thought that the advertiser knew their goods better, and the ads were of a simple narrative nature, not preserving as an advertising text. The profession of copywriter, as a full-time merchant, appeared already in 1892 at Francis Ower’s full cycle agency in Philadelphia. The first copywriter to formulate the idea of sales in printed form was John E. Kennedy – his theory of promoting goods in the market was profitable and became popular among many customers, the number of trademarks at that time was increasing rapidly, advertising turnover grew, competition increased. The realization that well-written advertising tex can sell gave new advertising theories, justifications of advertising as a sales technique. This is the theory of “Unique Trade Offer” by the famous copywriter Rosser Reeves (Bates Agency), when in practice it is the copywriters who formulate the very unique offer through advertising text.
Until 1940, the image in American advertising was optional, the entire semantic load representing the commodity, trademark or brand carried the text. The situation began to change in the conditions of stiff competition among manufacturers: there were a large number of similar products, among which advertisers already had difficulty distinguishing outstanding qualities and dignity of a certain brand, it was necessary to create an image of a brand, a company manufacturer.
According to the classification of Rice and Trout began a new era in the history of advertising – image. At this stage of development, the advertising business increased demand for image, photography, and within the community itself there was competition between designers (designers) and copywriters.
However, if you compare the percentage of text in American advertising over the past 70 years, its performance has changed little: for example, in advertising layouts of cosmetics samples of the 1940s, it was 45%, in the 60’s it was 40%, and when the era of positioning began in the 80’s, it remained within 30-35%.
Advertising theory characterizes the positioning era of the 80-90s already as a battle not for a place on store shelves, but for a place in the consumer’s head (“a battle for your mind”). But still in the leading advertising agencies the directors were the best copywriters and strategic decisions remained always behind them.