Author and adman Rosser Reeves (1910-1984) wrote Reality in Advertising in 1961. Courtesy images.
Author and adman Rosser Reeves (1910-1984) published Reality in Advertising in 1961. Courtesy images.

“Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand” and “A Diamond is Forever” are but two examples of the simple, timeless brands conceived in the legendary admen era of advertising and marketing in the 60s. It’s referred to as the golden years by many modern industry leaders.

The 1961 book Reality in Advertising served as a kind of Bible of that era on Madison Avenue and its author, the late Rosser Reeves (1910-1984) has been cited for partial inspiration for the smoldering and brilliant character Don Draper in the Mad Men television series.

Reality in Advertising was rereleased in summer 2015 by Widener Classics after spending about 25 years out of print.

Author Bill Schley
Author Bill Schley

“This book contains valuable lessons and secrets that any entrepreneur and business owner should know if they intend to have their marketing and branding for their company be a success,” stated Bill Schley, president of Connecticut-based branding and marketing firm Brand Team Six. “That is the reason Graham (Weston) and I worked so hard to have it rereleased, and we are pleased to share it with San Antonio.”

On Wednesday, April 27, Geekdom and the San Antonio chapter of the American Marketing Association will host Schley and Weston, co-founder of Rackspace Hosting and Geekdom, for a conversation open to the public that will “excite and inspire business owners to advance their branding methods” by introducing “the Mad Men approach to marketing.”

Schley and Weston will reveal key lessons taken from the book and from their own successes as entrepreneurs. Lorenzo Gomez III, director of Geekdom and the Weston’s philanthropic 80/20 Foundation, will moderate the discussion. Weston and Gomez also work with the Brand Team Six as a member of its board of advisors and senior creative director respectively.

80/20 Foundation Executive Director and Geekdom Director Lorenzo Gomez III (left) and Rackspace Co-founder and Chairman Graham Weston. Photo by Kara Gomez/Open Book Studios.
80/20 Foundation Executive Director and Geekdom Director Lorenzo Gomez (left) and Rackspace Co-founder and Chairman Graham Weston. Photo by Kara Gomez/Open Book Studios. Credit: Courtesy / Open Book Studios

“It’s the greatest book on its subject of all time because it explains the nature of communicating the big idea–and it exposes the image peddlers and ’emotion-ists’ who have taken over modern marketing for what they really are– consultants who promote a philosophy of attention-getting creative for its own sake–without any real regard for the product itself or the story that it can tell,” Schley stated in a blog post last year after the book was successfully republished. “Making the product difference fascinating is what moves markets, changes buying habits, generates share out of thin air, and motivates millions of people to buy. It’s what marketers used to be paid for.”

Attendees that register online here before Tuesday at 5 p.m. will avoid a walk-in registration fee of $10 at the door. The event starts Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Geekdom Event Centre, 131 Soledad St.

Tickets for Geekdom and Marketing Association student/professional members are $15, while non-member tickets are $35.

Reeves was chairman of Ted Bates Advertising in the early 60s and Schley himself, an author of four books, got his start in the industry at the firm as a copy writer.

Rosser’s daughter, Lovejoy Reeves Duryea, also helped get her father’s book republished, Schley stated.

“She shared amazing stories about her father during the years that he wrote the book and was the master of Madison Avenue. Our special thanks go to her. Now a new generation of students can get access to this amazing little book for the price of a regular paperback or a kindle download. None of the proceeds go to us. We did it for the sake of history and to show a new generation the meaning of truth in marketing.”

The fictional Don Draper character was partially based on many admen of the 60s and 70s, according to several interviews with and articles about Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner including Draper Daniels, the creative head of Leo Burnett advertising agency in Chicago. Weiner has even compared the character’s persona to that of Marilyn Monroe.

Top image: Author and adman Rosser Reeves (1910-1984) published Reality in Advertising in 1961. Courtesy images.

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Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and mental health. She was the San Antonio Report's...