Words of advice from a top copywriter

Nev­er fear big long words.
Big long words mean lit­tle things.
All big things have lit­tle names,
Such as life and death, peace and war,
Or dawn, day, night, hope, love, home.
Learn to use lit­tle words in a big way.
It is hard to do,
But they say what you mean.
When you don’t know what you mean,
Use big words–
That often fools lit­tle peo­ple.
— Arthur Kudner

Arthur Kudner’s adver­tis­ing career began in 1916 as a copy­writer at Erwin Wasey, a renowned adver­tis­ing agency then in Chica­go. He was appoint­ed chief copy­writer in 1919 and he served as pres­i­dent of the agency from 1929 to 1935. Born in 1890, he died in 1944.

Kud­ner wrote copy for many top adver­tis­ers includ­ing Absor­bine Jr., the foot lin­i­ment. Kud­ner invent­ed and named the main afflic­tion against which the brand was posi­tioned, “athlete’s foot.”

Erwin Wasey accounts includ­ed Min­neso­ta Val­ley Can­ning Co., mar­keter of Niblets and Green Giant canned veg­eta­bles; Hoover Co. the vac­u­um clean­er com­pa­ny; Gen­er­al Foods; Philco Radio; Camel Cig­a­rettes; and the Car­na­tion Com­pa­ny.

In 1930, the agency hired a young Indi­anapo­lis adman, Leo Bur­nett, who opened his own agency in 1935. Kud­ner also left Erwin­Wasey that year to form his own agency.

Kudner’s advertising agency
handled the Fisher Body division of General Motors

This Body by Fish­er adver­tise­ment shows exact­ly what Kud­ner intend­ed by his words of advice above. The copy is direct, infor­ma­tive, easy to read, and the longest word is “sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly.”

A motor car today is sim­ply not com­plete with­out the crown­ing smart­ness and pro­tec­tive safe­ty of the famous new sol­id steel “Tur­ret Top” Body by Fish­er. Sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly insu­lat­ed against sound, sun and zero, this newest Fish­er con­tri­bu­tion adds to com­fort, just as it enhances the beau­ty of the whole car.  Of course, you will find the new “Tur­ret Top” on Oldsmo­bile, “the car that has everything”—as on Chevro­let (Mas­ter DeLuxe series), Pon­ti­ac and LaSalle. It is the hall mark of the mod­ern auto­mo­bile, and, like Body by Fish­er, is offered only on Gen­er­al Motors cars.


Were the words in this Pontiac advertisement written by Arthur Kudner? Maybe.
printers devil

Frank Lenning Chance was the account exec­u­tive on the Body by Fish­er account. He joined Arthur Kud­ner as an account exec­u­tive at the new­ly formed agency.

Born in Indi­anapo­lis, he first worked as a “printer’s dev­il” in his father’s print­ing shop in that city. Lat­er he became adver­tis­ing man­ag­er for Hol­combe & Hoke, a man­u­fac­tur­ing firm and then joined Hen­ri Hurst & Mac­Don­ald, a Chica­go adver­tis­ing agency.

From 1928 until 1935 he was with Erwin, Wasey & Co, join­ing Arthur Kud­ner, Inc. on its for­ma­tion in 1935. His prin­ci­pal accounts, in addi­tion to  Fish­er Body divi­sion of Gen­er­al Motors, were the Collins & Aik­man Cor­po­ra­tion and The Amer­i­can Weekly