Rosser Reeves

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Rosser Reeves (10 September 1910–24 January 1984) was a hugely successful American advertising executive and pioneer of television advertising. He believed the purpose of advertising is to sell. He insisted that an advertisement or commercial should show off the value of a product, not the cleverness of a copywriter. His most typical ad is probably that for Anacin, a headache medicine. The ad was considered grating and annoying by almost all viewers but it was remarkably successful, tripling the product's sales. In 7 years the 59-second commercial made more money than the movie Gone With The Wind had in a quarter-century.

Reeves generated millions for his clients, the Ted Bates agency where he rose to chairman (existing today as Bates 141. The AMC program, Mad Men, uses Reeves as one model for the professional accomplishments of the series' protagonist, Don Draper (Jon Hamm).

His ads were focused around what he called the unique selling proposition, the one reason the product needed to be bought or was better than its competitors. These often took the form of slogans — Reeves oversaw the introduction of dozens, some that still exist to this day, such as M&M's "melt in your mouth, not in your hand." He argued that advertising campaigns should be unchanging with a single slogan for each product. His commercials for Bic pens, Minute Maid orange juice, M&M candies, Colgate toothpaste and other products used similar methods, often making dramatic...
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