Hey, Whipple, Just Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads

Kristin Macomber (Senior Account Coordinator TMP Worldwide)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 1 February 2000




Macomber, K. (2000), "Hey, Whipple, Just Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 73-87. https://doi.org/10.1108/jcm.2000.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Do you ever sit in rush hour traffic reading numerous billboards? Do you often wonder who spent their day inventing these ideas to catch your attention? How do these people otherwise known as copywriters and designers think of these brilliant concepts? Hey, Whipple, Just Squeeze This walks us through the life of a copywriter and designer while teaching us about the world of advertising. This book provides excellent pointers and guidelines on writing successful advertisements.

Luke Sullivan, an award‐winning copywriter for one of the most prestigious advertising agencies (Doyle, Dane and Beanbach), is just the right person to teach us about the business of advertising. Luke not only possesses the knowledge and experience necessary to write this book, but also he uses his creativity to make it one you will not want to put down.

Sullivan begins the book in a rather humorous way by describing the evolution of advertising. He takes us back to the early 1970s to Charmin’s Whipple campaign with the irritating salesman trying to sell toilet paper to the ladies in the grocery store. This chapter is a perfect introduction to how advertising has matured from silly, repetitious jingles to creative, well‐thought out campaigns. Sullivan quotes William Bernbach, founder of a New York advertising agency, who said “A commercial needn’t sacrifice wit, grace or intelligence in order to increase sales” (p. 5). This quote, very simply put, sets the tone of the first chapter. In Chapter 2, “ A sharp pencil works best”, Sullivan focuses on the first step in the copywriting process, learning about the client’s products and the marketplace. He compares advertising to riding down an elevator with the customer. “You have only a few seconds to tell him one thing about your product” (p. 21). Having knowledge about its benefits will make this job much easier.

Chapters 3 and 4 focus on writing the advertisement and knowing how to say “the right thing the right way” (p. 33). These chapters contain exceptional suggestions on how to write creative headlines and body copy. He urges the copywriter to purchase a product and test it out before trying to sell its benefits. Although these chapters are helpful to a copywriter, a designer or account service representative might find them very cumbersome. Chapters 5 and 6 explain how to make a successful commercial for television and radio, respectively. These chapters address the topics of writing, casting and producing a commercial. The reader will find this information useful in planning these types of projects. Chapters 7 and 8 focus on presenting ideas to the client. Clients are the advertising agency’s worst critics, but they are also the most important people to please. Although presenting new ideas to the client is one of the most vital steps in the process, the information in these chapters could have been discussed in one chapter alone. The final chapters are very enlightening and filled with helpful pointers on career issues such as networking, interviewing, producing a portfolio and getting started in advertising.

Hey, Whipple, Just Squeeze This is fun and easy to read with hundreds of examples of successful advertisements for print, television, radio and billboards. Sullivan’s witty tone carries throughout the book making even the lengthy sections interesting to the reader. For instance, in Chapter 4 he describes how to avoid trends in advertising by saying, “Headlines of varying sizes is the equivalent of the white disco suit John Travolta wore in Saturday Night Fever” (p. 84). This is an example of one of the many times he uses his humor and conversational style to make advertising concepts more entertaining to the reader. In addition, Sullivan demonstrates important ideas through his use of illustrations. For example, in Chapter 3, he demonstrates that showing a benefit visually is more memorable than merely explaining it, with an advertisement for Fisher Price that shows a picture of one child standing alone and a headline reading “Which of these 3 kids is wearing Fisher Price anti‐slip roller‐skates?” (p. 49).

This book also has an added value because it was written by an expert in the advertising field. Sullivan writes about how he began in the advertising industry, and what theories and practices have made him successful. He shares helpful suggestions on writing and presenting advertisement campaigns, as well as pointing out mistakes he has made in the past and ways to avoid them.

To those professionals currently working in advertising, this book offers good insight and valuable tips. Sullivan’s stories are easy to relate to, and his creative energy provides a new perspective even for people with experience in the field. His book would be especially appealing to a copywriter or designer just starting out in the field because it teaches the principles of the industry. Hey, Whipple, Just Squeeze This encompasses the entire spectrum of advertising from the first step of writing an advertisement to the final step of presenting the advertisement. He even gives advice on handling client rejection. More importantly, it should be recommended to students interested in a career in advertising. This book, unlike many college textbooks, is a true description of the rewards and frustrations of the industry, and who better to learn from than Luke Sullivan himself?

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