Clyde Bedell (1898-1986 )
The first name recorded in the National Retail Advertising Hall of Fame was Clyde Bedell's. Among six nationally known nominees he was given 65 per cent of all 2000 votes cast from sales and promoting executives.
Born in 1898, Bedell found himself in the forefront of the advertising industry by the 1930s and 40s.
He taught businesses to sell and advertise more effectively and intelligently, always in accord with his basic belief: "good selling is serving."
In his first advertising job he raised about $50,000 among the nations osteopaths by mail - that was over 80 years ago.
He sold the Curtis Publishing Company on accepting the only advertising they have ever run on any system of therapeutics - a series of half pages in the Saturday Evening Post. And Clyde Bedell wrote the ads, too. He was 22 at the time.
In California, when Californians Inc, was one of the countires big national accounts, he handled half of it for one advertising agency, when he was 25. Clyde counted coupons and analyzed ads in detail. He wrote ads that produced coupons from better qualified prospects for half to two-thirds the cost of his competitor's.
At Butlers Brothers, then the world's largest wholesalers, he sold general merchandise, by mail, and had actual response on about $2,000,000 worth of direct selling advertising a year, when that was a lot of money.
He reduced mail selling costs so much he was made Director of Sales and Advertising, over about 1000 employees. Applying his principles of mail selling, he generated enormous specialty volume, and taught sales staffs that "formula selling" pays off handsomely.
In 1934-5 for N.W. Ayer, he sold Ford the only national sales training program they had used in many years. He then created the entire program (a reversal of policy in car presentations), and this was the one year in ten before the last World War, and many years following, that Ford beat Chevrolet in sales.
Years later, Mercedes Benz was so thrilled with just one idea he gave them that they gave him a brand new car. That single idea sold tons for them.
While lecturing copywriting classes at the Northwestern University School of commerce, Bedell could not find a book that presented a systematic, integrated approach to the creation of selling copy, not just words for words' sake, but powerful persuasive copy that would make advertising highly profitable.
He found no book based on the organized siftings of systematic research. Instead he found assorted intuitions and fragments of experience.
So, he wrote his own textbook: How To Write Advertising That Sells, which McGraw-Hill published first in 1940, followed by a second revised edition in 1952. It became a hot best seller among teachers and practitioners, and entrepreneurs because of its informal style and plentiful examples.
By 1963 Clyde Bedell's advertising techniques were so successful in so many different industires that the Newpaper Advertising Executives Association literally begged him to write down all his secrets in an easy-to-use, systematic course. That course was called: How To Convert White Space Into Advertising That Sells.
In How To Convert White Space Into Advertising That Sells, Bedell reveals six foundation truths that make marketing successful:
Bedell fearlessly challenged anyone in the advertising community who based their practice of advertising mainly on hunch or intution. He rightly challenged those who claimed to be "professionals" who wasted advertising dollars on methods long proven by research to be ineffective.
In 1965 he co-founded BASIC - Bedell Advertising Selling Improvement Corporation with his elder son, Barrie.
In 1971 Bedell retired to pursue personal interests. He died in 1986.
His son still carries the business forward.