EASTMAN KODAK - "You Press The Button - We do The Rest"

. Monday, September 11, 2006
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OVER the years the Eastman Kodak Company has published many advertisementsthat would unquestionably rate as "great", but probably none greater than this. "You Press the Button - We Do the Rest" is one of the greatest of advertising ideas.

It was literally edited-out of a long piece of copy by George Eastman himself. In a day when glass plate cameras enjoyed but limited and difficult use, Mr. Eastman's Kodak Camera, emulsion film, and advertising sense opened a market as rich as any in the world.

The advertisement shown here appeared in 1890 and was among the first to shake loose the homepicture-making instinct of the nation. Lovers of short copy will find here strong backing for their arguments, and ah yes, that's a testimonial (and a good one in italic type.

The famous Eastman "Brownie" Kodak, "Kodak As you Go" and other variations of the buttonpressing idea were much later developments. And

who of us old enough to remember the first war to end wars, will ever forget the Kodak advertisement that appeared in full-page rotogravure in 1917: the illustration was of course a photograph, showing an Army officer sitting in front of a field tent gazing raptly at a sheaf of snapshots fresh from a letter. There was but one line of copy, and only one line was needed. It read: "Pictures from Home."

The late L. B. Jones, famous advertising manager of the Eastman Kodak Company, wrote it, and it is one of the shortest and most effective pieces of human-interest copy ever written. Mr. Jones didn't write it that way at first. In fact, he wrote it quite the other way, for it was three hundred words long to begin with ! Three hundred words of very fine copy no doubt under the headline "Pictures from Home." "The longer I looked at it," Mr. Jones told me years later, "the more I realized that the picture told the story, so I began cutting, and finally cut the text out altogether!"