BOOK REVIEW - The 100 Greatest Advertisements 1852-1958

The 100 Greatest Advertisements 1852-1958, julian lewis watkins

Who Wrote Them and What They Did

By Julian Lewis Watkins

Styles in advertising will change, but there is no copywriter, artist, or campaign planner who will not profit by studying proved successes, whether of 50 years ago or today. In this single volume are 100 of what are probably among the most successful advertisements ever to appear in print.

Source: Backcover

Our Review

In today’s video book review, I’m reviewing 100 Greatest Advertisements from 1852-1958 by Julian Lewis Watkins.

It’s basically a swipe file put together of some of the most classic advertisements in history which were incredibly successful.

So, in terms of where we’ve got one, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and basically the author breaks all these down. You can see all the examples. A lot of them are the old school obviously. Obviously, they are old school because some of them are 100 years old, but the skills and things are transferable. One of the things I mentioned in one of my other posts about creating a swipe file is this gives you an immediate step up because it basically shows you some of the most famous ads that have been out there and been successful, so you can start using them and creating your own versions of them, using some of the ideas of these successful ads.

Gimmick Free

The thing which is really excellent about these sort of ads and working with the type of calibre of people who wrote the ads in the first place is they have stood the test of time. There are no gimmicks here.

These are real direct-marketing sales skills that you should use for your copywriting, and, again, anything that you can get successful examples of advertisement, copy, whatever it might be, you should be doing that straight away. It should be part of your daily routine. If you see something you like you should be making a copy of it and storing it somewhere safe to create your own swipe file.

So, again, highly recommended. What I really love is you’ve got 100 ads in there. You can see some of these are the absolute classic ads which you can help go through, see why they work.


One of the things I learned when I was starting learning copywriting, and it’s a skill that is taught to copywriters usually when they work under a very famous copywriter is that they ask you to literally write out in hand good ad copy so that you can not just read it, but you actually handwrite the article word by word in your own hand rather than typing it. Anything like that, it’s very, very important. And over time, if you keep that skill up it’s almost like meant to help you be part of this sort of copywriting, to be part of your persona so you can pick up. It’s become physically adjoined to you.

A really good tip that if you are learning any sort of copy and you want to develop your copywriting skills further.

Key Points

  • 100 Of some of the very best ads
  • Timeless classics
  • Works in today's markets

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