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John E Powers

(1837—1919)


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(1837–1919)

An independent ad writer, New York. Known as the father of modern creative advertising, Powers proclaimed, ‘Fine writing is offensive.’ A former publisher of The Nation, Powers ranked No. 1 among independent copywriters at the turn of the century, both in fees and ability. ‘Powers style’ meant simple, short, lively, cogent, reason-why copy that was significant, truthful, opinionated, and stubborn. Powers worked only for those he considered trustworthy. His Wanamaker ad, ‘We have a lot of rotten gossamers and things we want to get rid of’, sold out the lot in hours. He was called ‘advertising's most influential copywriter’ and his work still serves as a model for advertising campaigns.


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