Bates focuses on return to USP roots

The Bates network is planning to regain ownership of the Unique Selling Proposition, the philosophy it introduced to the advertising world more than 35 years ago.

The Bates network is planning to regain ownership of the Unique

Selling Proposition, the philosophy it introduced to the advertising

world more than 35 years ago.



USP was one of the most powerful influences on advertising thinking when

it appeared in 1961, but Bates’s hold on it slipped as the term became

part of the industry’s vocabulary.



Now Bates wants to reassert its heritage and update it as a way of

uniting its offices across the world.



USP was the brainchild of Rosser Reeves, a copywriter who was head of

the Ted Bates agency in New York in the mid-50s and is credited with

making the first genuine TV commercial.



A champion of aggressive hard-sell advertising as a means to effective

selling, Reeves resolved that Bates would find a USP for each product it

advertised, allowing it to make a claim that no competitor could

match.



The philosophy, which Reeves expounded in his book, Reality in

Advertising, resulted in some of the world’s most famous advertising

slogans, including ’Melts in your mouth - not in your hand’ for Mars’s

Maltesers.



Graham Hinton, the chairman of Bates Dorland, said: ’Some basic things

in advertising don’t change and USP still has relevance.’



Les Stern, the Bates Worldwide planning director, is holding training

sessions on USP for senior managers in the network’s major regions.



The sessions form part of a larger initiative under which a newly

created resource centre in New York will carry out a range of programmes

aimed at raising creative standards across the network.



John Fawcett, chairman of the Bates Worldwide creative board, said the

aim of the initiative was to ensure that Bates agencies were perceived

as creative leaders in their respective markets.



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