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Advertising secrets of the written world by Joseph Sugarman

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  • 1. JosephSugarman The Ultimate Resource on How to Write Powerful Advertising Copy From Oneof Americas TopCopywritersand Mail Order EntrepreneursD#
  • 2. O 1998,JosephSugarman All Rights Reserved: Without limiting the rights under the copyright reservedabove, no part of this publication may be reproduced,stored in or introduceclinto a retrieval system,or transmitted,in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. Most of the advertisements in this book are copyrighted, and are reproducedfor educationalpurposesonly under "fair use" provisions of U.S. copyright law. The advertisements have been selected,at the discretion of the author, as they representprinciples discussedin the text of this book. Trademarks: The words BluBlocker, SunBlocker, The Pill and JS&A are registeredtrademarks. There are many trademarksin this book for which the author and publisher believe property rights may exist and thesehave been designatedas such by the use of Initial Capitai Leiters. However, in so designatingor failing to designatesuch words, neither the authoi nor the publisher intends to expressany judgment on the validity or legal statusof any proprietary right that may be claimed in the words. The name DelStar Books and its logo, a star with an eagle profile within the star, are trademarksof DelStar Books, a subsidiary of Delstar publishing. Publishers Note: This publication is designedto provide accurateand authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.It is sold with the understandingthat the publisher or author is not engagedin rendering legal, accounting,or other such professionalservices.If expert assistance such flelds is required, the servicesof an appropriateprofessionalperson in should be sought. Printed in the United Statesof America PublishersCataloging-in-Publication Data (Provided by Quality Books, Inc.)Sugarman, Joseph Advertising secretsof the written word : the ultimate resource on how to write powerful advertising copy from one of America,s top copywriters and mail order entrepreneurs JosephSugarman._ / l st ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical referencesand index. ISBN: l-891686-00-3 L C I S B N : l - 8 9 1 6 8 6 - 0 1 -P B 1 l. Direct marketing.2. Advertisingcopy-Handbooks, manuals,etc. 3. Advertising.direct-mail.I. Title. HF586l.S84 1998 659.133 QBr97-41618Attention: Schools, Ad Agencies and Corporations. Delstar books are available at quantitydiscounts with bulk purchasesfor educationalor businessuse. For more information. nleasecontact DelStar Books at the addressbelow.060504030201009998 109 8 7 6 5 43 2 |Cover design:Ron HughesCartoonist: Dick Hafer - J 7 . _-Ilfn I IETTAD-r.-/Lrr)ll llDelStar Books3 3 5 0 P a l m sC e n t e rD r i v eLas Vegas,NV 89103Phone:(702) 798-9000Fax: (702) 591-2002
  • 3. To Wendy, April and Jillwith love and affiction
  • 4. Tlru truly creative mind in any field is no more than . . .a cruelly delicate organism with the overpoweringnecessity to create, create, create-so that without thecreating of music or poetry or books or buildings orsomething of meaning, his very breath is cut offfromhim. He must create, must pour out creation. By somestrange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really aliveunless he is creating. -Pearl Buck
  • 5. Gontents Advertising Secretsof the Written Word Foreword x11l Acknowledgments XV11 Introduction Section One: Understanding the Process Preview l. GeneralKnowledse 11 2. Specific Knowledge 15 3. Practice,Practice,Practice 23 4. The Purposeof All the Graphic Elementsof an Ad 2l 5. The First Sentence 3I 6. Creating the Perfect Buying Environment 35 l. Resonatinswith the Reader 39 8. The Slippery Slide 45 9. AssumedConstraints 55 10. Seeds Curiosity of 59 I 1. Copy as Emotion 65 12. Selling the Concept,Not the Product ll 13. The IncubationProcess 7l 14. How Much Copy ShouldYou Write? BI I 5. The Art of PersonalCommunication 87 16. The Copy Sequence 93 17. The Editing Process r01 Section Two: Understanding What Works Preview l1r 18. Powerful Copy ElementsExplained 113 Typufare 113 First Sentence 1t4 Second Sentence tt4 Paragraph Headings 114 Product Explanation 115 lx
  • 6. New Features lt6 TechnicalExplanation r16 Anticipate Objections 118 Resolve Objections 118 Gender 119 Clarity r20 Clichds r20 Rhythm t2r Service T2I Physical Facts r23 Trial Period 124 Price Comparison r25 Testimonials r26 Price t27 OfferSummary t27 Avoid Saying Tbo Much r28 Ease of Ordering 128 Ask for the Order r2819. The Psychological Triggers 131 Feeling of Involvementor Ownership 131 HonesQ 134 Integrity r36 Credibility 136 Valueand Proof of Value 138 Justify the Purchase r39 Greed r39 EstablishAuthority 140 Sati sfaction Conviction 143 Nature of Product r46 Current Fads r46 Timing 149
  • 7. A D V E R T I S I N G S E C R E T S Desire to Belong 151 Desire to Collect r52 Curiosity t54 Senseof Urgency 155 Instant Gratification r57 Exclusivity, Rarity or Uniqueness 158 Simplicity 160 Human Relationships r63 Guilt 165 Specificity r66 Familiarity r67 Hope n020. Getting the Mind to Work r752I. Selling a Cure, Not Prevention r7922. Telling a Story 18523. Rating Your Writing Level 189Section Three: Proving the Points-Ad ExamplesPreview 19524. TheLazy Mans Way to Riches 19725. A Fluke of Nature 20526. Lingerie for Men 21321. The More You Learn 21928. A More Stimulating Way 22329. Magic Baloney 22530. Pet Plane 22931. Mail Order Mansion 23332. HungarianConspiracy 23733. Vision Breakthrough 24r34. Gold SpaceChains 245 Hero35. Consumers 24936. Nautilus Spelling Sale 253 xt
  • 8. A Note: The Power of Your Pen 257Epilogue Sometrinal Thoushts 259Appendix A AssumedConstraints, Continued 263Appendix B Seedsof Curiositv,Continued 265Appendix C Summaryof Axioms and Major points 267Appendix D Recommended Reading 211Appendix E ClassicJS&A Ads 219Index 299
  • 9. Foneultlnd Sugarman Legacy The By Ray Schultz, Editor, DIRECT Magazine Eu.ry trade has its role models. And for me, there is no better model for ad copywriters or magazine editors than Joe Sugarman. BandleaderArtie Shaw had a standardquestionfor musi- cians who wantedto join his band: "Who do you listen to?" A similar question might be asked of writers applying for work: "Who do you read?" Sugarmanis the guy who sells BluBlocker sunglasses on TV. He also happens be one of the most amusingand prolific to writers in the United States, I discovered as when I startedread- ing his JS&A catalogin 1985. He was totally out of the box. He crackedme up with the sheerexuberance ofhis copy approach. He offered readers$10 for every spelling error they found in his copy. ("Pleasedont correctmy grammar.") He offered "loaner" watchesto customersas part of a ser- vice guarantee. He offered a $6 million home for sale in the airline maga- zines, acceptingAmerican Express,Visa, MasterCard or any negotiablehard currency. He sold a $240,000airplanein a single mail order ad. And he did it all with a very specialtone. Its like Nelson Algren said about John Cheever-that he was the one writer you could identify "without turning the pages of The New Yorker back to seewho wrote it." Not that Sugarmanis the most colorful rogue ever to write greatmail order copy.Therewere others.Louis Victor Eytinge, a convictedmurdererwho learnedhow to write in prison. Or Gene Schwartz,the art collector, who made his living writing stuff like "She Fled the Table When the Doctor Said Cut Her Open." xtu
  • 10. But Joe surpassedthose guys in a few very important ways-the sheervolume of his writing, the trends that he set and my favorite-the personal catalog-one in which the copy and the product reflect the quirks of the owner. And Joe has a lot of imitators who have personalrzed their catalogsusing Joes cata- log as their inspiration. How did Joe learn his trade? He claims he learned it from his failures and not from the mail order greatswho precededhim. Greatslike David Margoles, who sold 4 million garlic crushersin the 1950s. Then there was Max sackheim, co-founder of the Book-of- the-Month Club and another great pitchman who lived by his wits. As Lester Wunderman rn 1996 reflected about Sackheim, "when he talked to clients, he promised a breakthrough-not as we have now, minuscule improvement." Then there was John Caples,who enteredAmerican folklore by writing "They Laughed when I Sat Down At the piano." The late Larcy Chait askedCapleswhy he stressed social benefits the insteadof just selling the virtues of the course. oYou dont understand," caples answered. "Learning the piano is tough. You cant sell that. But you can sell the idea of social success and overcoming whateverdeficienciesyou have in order to becomepopular." Though he may never have met them, sugarman knows on a gut level what theseguys knew. And thats important, becausehes one of the last of a breed. Now for the good news. Hes passedthe tradition down inAdvertising Secretsof the Written Word,the best book ever doneon the subject of mail order writing. Besidesthe advice on selling, it stresses basic truths aboutwriting, in languageanyone can understand.Ive even given themanuscriptto my new reportersto read. Im sadto report that sugarmandoesnt write as much copyas he used te-ns more catalogs and very few spaceads. He,sfollowed the money into infomercials and home shopping. until they reissueold JS&A catalogs(the way theyve re-issuedthe 1909edition of Sears, Roebuck),this book will havetostandas Joes legacyin print. But its a fine legacy.
  • 11. A D V R T I S I N G So here is it. Enjoy. As walter winchell said when he intro-duced Damon Runyon, "The next act is better." Ray Schultz is one of the top writers and editors in the directmarketing industry and editor o/ DIRECT magazine,a CowlesBusiness Media publication.
  • 12. AcknoulleilUmGnts Made It Possible To Those Who Muny peoplehavecontributedto my copywriting skills and to the creationof this book, and to all of them I am very grateful. Mary Stanke,Presidentof JS&A Group, Inc., whose direction, commitment and 26 yearsof serviceallowed me the creativefree- dom to expressmyself through -y writing and who helped me build a substantial business the process. Wendy and our two in To children,April and Jill, for their understandingand supportduring the many seminarswe held-always behind the scenes, their but presence was very important and alwaysfelt. Judy Sugarman, my sister and copyeditor for 25 years-always there to correct my spelling, undanglemy modifiers and give me very candid feed- back. I also wish to acknowledge thousands customers the of who gave me a tremendouseducation and for whom I have an un- wavering respect.I wish to acknowledgemy many competitors, too. I hated it when they copied me but in the processof trying to outwit them, my copywriting skills grew even stronger. There are hundredsof other people I could mention-too numerousto list here-who have played a vital role in my success and growth. A specialthank-you to the people who played a role in the produc- tion of this book: Lyn Chaffee, Doug Easton,Ron Hughes,Vir- ginia Iorio and Nancy Kleban.And finally, I wish to give a special mention to Dick Hafer, whosecartoonswere createdspeciallyfor this book. A special acknowledgmentto all my wonderful seminar participantswho learnedfrom me and went on to createor build successfulbusinesses-all through the power of their pens. I learneda greatdeal from them. Finally, I wish to thank, with hu- mility and gratitude, all who have exchangedtheir hard-earned money for this book. May you too learn and prosper. xvll
  • 13. lntnoiluction of This Origins Thir is a story about a seminar.It was a copywriting and 70s and 80s during a time marketing seminarI presentedin the when I was actively involved in both writing copy and marketing a range of products that included everything from electronicsto collectibles-from Bone Fonesto Picassotiles. I was a prolific writer, often writing completecatalogs,print advertisements and direct mailings. And I owned the company, JS&A Group, Inc., that sold theseproducts,so I experienced the direct consequences my successes failures. of and OutnumberedSuccesses Foilures My failures far outnumberedmy successes. fact, I have In yet to find anybody who has experiencedthe number of failures I experiencedduring the early stagesof my career.But it was through thesefailures that I receiveda very costly educationthat to this day has guided me through a successful careerin advertis- ing and direct marketing. To the public, I was a big success.Babe Ruth is remembered for his home run record and not for the fact that he also held the record for the most strikeouts.And so it was with me. Most peo- ple just saw my successes, they were quite visible. And they as just saw my successfulinnovations becausethey were the ones that worked. So to the generalpublic and to others in direct mar- keting, it appearedthat I had the Midas touch. I didnt see myself running seminars.I was busy enough running my business.And to sharemy secretswith the industry was only asking for competition.But it was a seriesof coinci- dencesthat prompted me to offer seminarcoursesand Im glad I made the decision to do them. And many of my participantsare glad too-people whose seminar experiencemade an enormous difference in their lives. My seminar was different. First, I was an actual practi- tioner-not an educatoror a consultantwho never had to make a major marketing gamble or cover a payroll. I was out there on the
  • 14. firing line, making sureeachday that the copy I was writing and the marketingdecisionsI was making were going to be accepted by the marketplace. Second,it was during a time when my success was reaching a peak. our mail order ads were appearingeverywhere.They ap- pearedin newspapers, magazines and on airplanesand with such regularity and frequency that the format was attracting a great deal of attentionand creatingan entire flock of imitators. Finally, r rcahzed what people were willing to pay just to hear me as a speaker talk to me as a consultant. or Bernie pargh, an entrepreneur and owner of B.A. Pargh,a business equipment salescompany,flew from Nashville to Los Angelesone day just to hearme speakto a directmarketinggroup."Joe,Ive spentover $1,000just to hearyou speakfor 45 minutes,"he told me. I would also get calls from peoplewho had marketingprob- lems and would want to fly to visit me in the Chicago suburbof Northbrook,where our companywas based, just to sit and talk to me for 15 minutes. The Foleful Visif But the seminar would have never taken place had it not beenfor a small vacationI took up to northernWisconsinto visit my sisterand her family. It was during that trip that I discoveredthe beauty of the north woodsand madethe decision,with my family, to find a sec- ond home there. The home I eventually found was a 10,000- square-foot, two-storybuilding on a I6-acresite overlookingone of the most beautiful lakes I had ever seen.The property was filled with virgin timber-tall statelypines and oak treesthat had escaped lumbermenwho clearedmost of the treesfrom north- the ern Wisconsinduring the 1800s. But the home was costly and at the time something I couldnt afford. The price in 1977was $350,000and I couldnt really justify it until my lawyer and closepersonalfriend, George Gerstman,suggested could use the facility as a seminar site. I "Hold marketingseminars the place,turn it into a business at and you could write off the entire property and even make a profit," he suggested. The idea really appealed me. It was a very unique setting. to-
  • 15. lt was isolated, quiet, and the fresh northern Wisconsin air atMinocqua was stimulatingand invigorating. I spent a greatdeal of the summer going up there with myfamily and furnishing the facility for a seminar.I clearedaway anumber of the odd buildings that dated back to the 1800sbutwere in such disrepair that I had no choice but to remove them.My wife, Wendy, helped pick out the furniture and dishes. Shealso hired a cook, housekeepers the supportstaff neededto andrun the seminars while Mary Stanke, my operations chief atJS&A, assisted with registeringthe participantsand preparingallthe materialsfor the seminar.And so within a few months the fa-cility was transformedinto an enchantingseminar site-a learn- "Natures Response."ing centerthat I calledThe Most ExpensiveSeminqr Back in 79ll ,I was charging$2,000for five days-a pricethat made it, at the time, the most expensiveseminarin the directmarketingbusiness. my last seminars For toward 1988,I charged$3,000. I announced seminarin AdvertisingAge and Direct theMarketing magazines the format of one of my typical ads.And inthe responsewas immediate. If Bernie Pargh was willing tospend$ 1,000to fly to Los Angelesto hearme speakfor 45 min-utes and severalpeople were willing to fly from different parts ofthe U.S. to talk to me for just 15 minutes,I had a value that cer-tainly was worth $2,000for five full days. Within a few weeks,I had a full classwith participantsfromall over the world. We had somebodyfrom Germany,severalfromCalifornia and quite a few from the East Coast.We had a farmerfrom Texas and a dentist from Carmel, California. RichardViguerie, the conservativeWashingtonfund-raiser,enrolled andof courseBernie Pargh attended. actually had more participants Ithan I wanted so I createda reservationlist for my next seminar. To get to Minocqua, the seminar participants had to fly to Chicago, board a commuter plane there and fly to the town of Rhinelander, Wisconsin,where they then took a bus for the 40- minute ride to their motel. To get to the seminarsite, the partici- pants took a pontoon boat from the motel and landed at our boathousewhere they walked up a path to the house. And at the house,they would find severalrooms outfitted as classrooms, large dining room, kitchen and a very large wooden a
  • 16. balcony where they could look out at the lake, relax and enjoy the clean north-woods air. It was an idyllic settingin a remotepart of Ameri ca-aplace where my studentswould learn a form of copywriting and mar_ keting that they could not learn anyplaceelse. Book Gonlqins Mqny Lessons This book will share many of the lessonsand experiences that were taught at these seminars.youll learn how to mentally prepare yourself to write copy, how to write effective copy, and how to presentyour product, conceptor servicein a novel and exciting way. Youll learn what realry works and what doesn,t and how to avoid many of the pitfalls that marketersfall into and much more. I convey my unique approachto copy by demonstratingmy thought processon everything from how copy should flow to the elements every ad should have-from the psychology of copy and its motivational triggers to the emotions generat.o uy words. But the seminarwas certainly more than learning about copy and marketing. The seminarturned into a motivational experiencefor many who went on to becomequite successful. others, who were al- ready successful,couldnt wait to get back to work and imple- ment their newly learned knowledge. And they too grew in the process. You too will understandhow to relate what you,ve learned about copywriting to other forms of marketing and youll see how many of the sameprinciples apply. The Goql of Copy Throughout this book, I talk about the eventualgoal of writ- ing effective copy, namely: "To causea personto exchangehis or her hard-earned money for a product or service.,, It,s reallv as simple as that. Direct marketing is truly the tool of the next century. using direct marketing, you can move millions of people to reach into their pockets for millions of dollars-all from the power of your pen or the message you conveyon a TV screen. For most of what I teachin this book I use a print ad as a ref- erencepoint. Print ads are among the most difficult of all forms-
  • 17. of direct marketing.On a singlepage,in two dimensions, locatedin a medium with hundredsof competing messages and withoutsound or motion, youve got to entice a person to start readingyour ad, convey the complete story of your product or serviceand then convincethe personto reachfor the phone and order.Tounderstandthis processand to effectively implement it requiresa lot of experienceand skill. But once you have masteredtheskills, you will have the ability to build a businessfrom just thepower of your pen. When Mike Valentine attendedmy seminar,he was operat-ing his radar detector company out of his gatage.Later, usingmany of the skills I taught him, his comPanY,Cincinnati Mi-crowave (developer of the Escort Radar Detector), grew to a $140 million public company.Jimmy Calano was a young 20- somethingentrepreneur who had been giving small management seminarswhen he attendedmy course.He eventually becamea major force in the seminarbusinesswith CareerTrack-a multi- million-dollar company.Victorias Secret sent two of their top marketing people when the company consistedof just two stores and a catalog.They eventuallywere acquiredby The Limited and becamea powerful retail chain throughout the country. From a UPS driver who had a fascination with direct mar- keting and cameto the seminarwith his last $2,000to Joe Karbo, author of The Lazy Mans Wayto Riches,who alreadywas a very successful mail order entrepreneur-they all came with great anticipation and they all left with valuable knowledge which helped them continue to grow and prosper.| 6 SeminorsGiven I had 3 12 students attending I 6 seminrys-f1om the firstone in the summerof l9l7 to the last one given in Maui, Hawaii,in the spring of 1988.Immediatelyafter my last seminar, wrote Ia good portion of this book. The rest of my writing and market-ing insights come from severalyears of experiencesince then inthe visual medium of TV-infomercials, TV spots and homeshopping. Regardlessof your current educationallevel or knowledgeof marketing, this book will give you fresh insights into theworld of copywriting, marketing, human behavior and otherlessonstaught at my seminar.
  • 18. Even if you are not interestedin writing copy, you,ll havea better appreciation and understandingof the copywritingprocess-so much so that you will be confidentthat you too canwrite good copy or, at a minimum, critique copy. So pull up an easychair,prop up your feet and sink into oneof the most comprehensive contemporary books on the subjectofcopywriting, marketing and creativeexpression-a treasurechestof insightsthat will entertainas it teaches.
  • 19. $ection0ne
  • 20. Pneuieur [.Inderstanding As the pontoon boat pulled up to the boathouseand the group slowly disembarked,there was a senseof excitement.The seminar that each had traveled thousandsof miles to attend was finally in sight. What kind of value would they get?What kind of experiencewould they go through?And indeed,what would they learn? They were the first group of attendees participate in my to seminar.And on the very first day I promised them that they would learn how to write greatcopy. They would understandthe thought processes you go through to prepareto write that great piece of ad copy. They would also learn the basic underlying conceptsof how to structurea great advertisement. The Very Firsf Dqy But more importantly, what they were going to learn the first day was to eventually lay the foundation for learning about every form of communications-f1sm print to TV from direct mail to catalogs. As the group assembledin the three-story vaulted living room, I introduced the staff to the participants. There was the cook, the servers,the housekeepers, groundskeepers the and the entire seminar staff. I then introduced my wife and two young children-April, six years old, and Jill, only three. My family was going to be therejust as if I were at home. Ironically, each of my children played a small but important role in the seminar. The first day was indeed one of the most important. And from the many lessonslearned and the experiencesshared,that first day promptedmany of the participantsto come up to me and tell me what an impact it had not only on their copywriting abil- ity but on their understanding the entire field of advertisingand of marketing. As Harvey Cinamon from Boston told me that first day, "I could leave right now and know that Ive gotten my full value."
  • 21. Richard Viguerie, the Washington fund-raiser,told me that the lessonshe learnedthat very first day were invaluablein his "Just one slight change prompted by what I learned business. here today would pay for the entire seminar." So get ready to experiencewhat cost me millions of dollars to learn and what seminar participants paid a great deal to be taught.Welcometo a unique learningexperience.l0 -
  • 22. IChagenGeneral Knowledge Tn" preparationto become a copywriter involves knowl- edge. There are two types. The first is a very broad or general knowledge and the secondis a very specific or targetedknowl- edge.Let me explain. The best copywritersin the world are thosewho are curious about life, read a great deal, have many hobbies,like to travel, have a variety of interests,often master many skills, get bored and then look for other skills to master.They hunger for experi- ence and knowledge and find other people interesting.They are very good listeners. Look at my background. Im an instrument-ratedmulti- engine commercial pilot, an amateur radio operator,a profes- sional photographer; love computers,music, reading, movies, IThebestcopywriters travel,art and design.Ive donethe completecatalogfor my com-have avariety of pany including everythingfrom settingthe type to doing theinterests and masterman! skills. layout. Ive done all the photographyand even some of the modeling. (My hand became quite famous, but more on that later.) Ive tried many sports-golf, tennis, football, baseball, basketball, scuba diving, skiing, and snowmobiling. Ive traveled to every continenton the globe with the exceptionof the Antarctic and I know Ill eventuallyget there. Ive mastered a second language- German-during the three yearsI spentwith the military in Germany.Ive had hundreds of failuresand many successes, with eachrepresenting learning a experience. The thirst for knowledge,a tremendous curiosity about life, a wealth of experiencesand not being afraid to work are the top credentials being a good copywriter. for If you examinethe lives of someof our greatest writers, you will seethat they experienceda greatdeal and wrote about their experiences. Hemingway,Steinbeck-both lived and then wrote 11
  • 23. about their adventures. The more we experience, more knowl- the edge we have,the easierit is to come up with that big copy idea or marketing concept. But more significantly, it is important to experienceas much in life as possibleand not to fear failure. Its not whetheryou win or lose in life thats important but whether you play the game. Lose enough and eventuallyyou will win. Its only a matter of time. Edwin Land, the inventor of the Polaroid camera, said it best when he described definition of a mistake:A mistakeis his a future benefit, the full value of which is yet to be realized." I can rememberwhen I was very young and failed at some- thing I tried very hard to accomplish. often say to myself, "No Id big loss-its in my back pocket.One of thesedays I11use what Ive just experienced simply by reachinginto my back pocketand presto,I will have the answerjust when I needit." Experiences Creqfe ldeqs Our minds are like giant computers.Every experiencethat goes into your brain-both good and bad-becomes more pro- gram material and data to recall and assemble new ways in the in future. Rememberwhen the first Apple computerscame out with their big 64K memories? You might also remember the slow speedand the poor graphics comparedto the high-poweredper- sonal computers we have today. Todays computers are faster, more efficient, can accomplishmore and can interrelateinforma- tion fasterand more easily.So it stands reason, more weve to the experienced, more we can draw upon when it comestime to the relatethoseexperiences new problemsor opportunities. to There is nothing really new in life. Its simply a matterof tak- ing previous piecesof knowledge and putting them togetherin a unique and different format. Matter is not createdand destroyed. Everything on earth that was here a billion years ago is pretty much herenow. The only differenceis that it hastakennew forms. The more you have in your brain from experiencesand knowledge and the more you are able to interrelate that knowl- edge and come up with new combinationsof old material, the greater an idea person you will be and the more powerful your capabilitiesas a copywriter.T2 -
  • 24. There is a saying that goes, "If all you have is a hammer,you look at every problem as a nail." The more tools you have towork on a problem in the form of experiences knowledge, the ormore new ways you can figure out how to solve it.Loferql Thinkingfor ldeos Edward de Bono, one of the greatcreative thinkers of our "lateral thinking" to describe thetime, came up with the termprocessof coming up with ideasby not focusing or thinking ofjust the problem. Often, by relating the problem to somethingthat has nothing to do with the problem, a new idea emerges. "Think De Bono createda small product that he called hisTank" which encouraged people to think more laterally and con- sequentlymore creatively.It was a small 8-inch spheremounted on a platform with a small window. Through the window you saw a selectionof 14,000 small words located on small plasticpieces.You shook the Think Tank and then looked into it and wrote down the first three words you saw You then tried to relate the three words to your marketingproblem, to come up with a fresh perspectivetoward solvingyour problem. For example,let us say I wanted to sell my air-plane.Typically,I would run an ad and focus on just the airplane,its featuresand equipment.But in using the Think Tank for lat- farm, sales-eral thinking, I drew threetotally unrelatedwords,man and compassionand had to create an ad incorporatingthose three words. This processwould causeme to searchmybrain, my data bank, and all my past experiences some way forto relate the three words while keeping in mind that I had to sellthe airplane.The Dictionqry qs q Tool Lateral thinking is simply a tool. So is your dictionary.Andso is your mind. Probablyone of the most importantkeys in copy-writing and conceptualizingis the ability to relate totally diver-gent conceptsto createa new concept.Once again,the more datayou have to work with from your life experiences and the moreyour mind can relate this data to a problem, the better you aregoing to be at coming up with that really great idea. 13
  • 25. RunningYour Own Compony Another factor that makes a great copywriter is the experi- ence of running your own company and being responsiblefor every word you write. The really great direct marketing copy- writers often dont work for advertisingagencies, rather run but their own companiesand experiencetheir own successes and failures. Ben Suarez,Gary Halbert, the late Gene Schwartz and dozensof othersrecognrzed top copywritershave owned their as own companiesand learned over years of trial and error-years of both big mistakesand great success. You cant beat that type of experience. In my case,I have been presented with thousands prod- of ucts, written ads for hundredsof them and have had to come up with that big idea hundredsof times a year.Even as I look back at my advertising, seea learningcurve that would not havebeen I possiblehad it not been for that immensewealth of broad expe- rience.Ironically, youre going to readaboutmany of thoseexpe- riencesthroughoutthis book. You11 able to avoid many of the be pitfalls and mistakesI made climbing my way up the ladder and youll understand why thesemistakeswere indeedlearningexpe- riences. The preparation for becoming a great copywriter is a lifestyle. Its a hungerfor knowledge,a curiosity and a desireto participatein life that is broad-based passionate. you have and If this personality,you are alreadywell on your way. If you dont, simply being awareof it is often enoughto starta mentalprocess and movementthat will take you to where you would like to be. But being a great copywriter is more than just having a lot of experience life. What you will learn in the next chapteris just in as important.T4 -
  • 26. $$$$$hapter2 Specific Knowledge I ,"ur sitting in the laboratory of the SensorWatch Com- pany in Dallas,Texas,looking througha microscope and learning everythingI could about how a new digital watch was designed, producedand assembled. I was becoming an expert on digital watch technologY, on "Why integratedcircuits, quartzcrystals and oscillator circuits. "Theyre are all the contactsgold-plated?"I askedthe engineer. gold-platedin every integratedcircuit. Its part of the technol- ogy; was the reply. The conversation continued.It had beentwo days and I was still delving into every aspectof this new digital watch I was planning to introduce. I still hadnt reachedthe point where I could write an ad on the advantages the new product.At the of time, most digital watches had liquid crystal displays, and in order to seethe time, you had to pressa button to illuminate the display.On the new Sensorwatch, the display glowed constantly, thanks to an inert but radioactivesubstance that was placed in a small flat capsulebehind the display. New Technology Required Powerful Presenfotion This new technologymeant that you could glance down at your watch and, in an instanttell the time-even at night-with- out pressingany buttons.But I felt that therehad to be a power- ful way of presentingthe product and I still wasnt comfortable with what I had. The Sensor770 was very expensiveto make and sell. So I knew that I neededsomethingthat made the watch I was selling really different and special. "Why didnt somebodythink of this radioactive materialfor watchesbefore?" was my next question. The engineerlooked at me, pausedfor a secondand then "We havent had the technologyto sealthe radioactivema- said, terial in a transparentcapsulewithout it leaking out until some- 15
  • 27. body developeda technique with a laser.The laser is what seals the capsule.Without the laser, there is no way you could com- pletely sealthe capsule." That was all I needed.The concept was clear. And the ad headline that I wrote for the new Sensor Digital Watch was. "Laser Beam Digital Watch." The story told of how the watch was made possible thanks to a laser beam and how its new technology benefited the con- sumer.That single conceptresultedin millions of dollars in prof- itable salesfor the digital watch. When I had reachedthe point about the laser beam sealing the capsule,I knew I had found that unique headlineconceptthat made the watch standout from the rest of the competition. But it took a few days of very intensive learning and study before the concept emerged.Sometimesthis can happen in a few minutes, sometimesit can happen in a few hours and sometimesit may take weeks. This time it took a few days of patience along with specificknowledge. You Musf Become qn Expert You needto becomean expert on a product, serviceor any- thing you write about to really be effective.Becoming an expert means learning enough about a product to obtain enough spe- cific knowledge so you can communicate the real nature of what you are trying to sell. Say to yourself, "I am an expert or have learnedenough to be able to effectively communicatethis product to the consumer."Thats what we mean by "specific knowledge." This doesnt meanthat you haveto learn everythingthereis to know about a subjectevery time. There havebeentimes when I simply looked at a product or serviceand cameup with the big idea from my own past experienceor specific knowledge in a particular category.Remember,Im a pilot, ham radio operator and photographer. alreadyhad not only vast knowledge of the I gadgetsI would sell in my business, but knowledge of my cus- tomer, as well. I myself was my typical customer. was the type I of individual I had to sell productsto becauseI was as gadget- orientedas the personI was trying to appealto.t6
  • 28. You Must Know Your Cuslomer Too And thats anotherpoint. In addition to knowing your prod-uct or service,youve really got to know your customer. Youvegot to be an expert on who your customeris by gatheringspecificinformation on whom you are selling to. You may already be anexpert by virtue of being a typical customer.You know your likesand dislikes, what excites you and what you yourself wouldexpect from a company selling you a product. But if it is yourassignmentto write copy for a product or servicethat you reallydont have a feel for, then you have a greatdeal of studying to doto make sure you understandwho your customer is and whatmotivateshim or her.You Musf Underslqnd q Producfs Nqlure And even if you understandyour customer and understandyour product, you must realize one more thing. There is a spe-cific way that each product should be presentedto your cus-tomer. In short, the product has a nature of its own and its up toyou to discover what the nature of that product is in the mind ofthe consumer. Let me cite a good example.Back when I first started JS&Ain the basementof my home, I met Howard Franklin. Howardwas an insurancesalesman from Chicago who bought his firstcalculator from me from an ad I ran rn The Wall StreetJournal.He loved his calculator and stopped by one day to buy a fewmore of them. After that, Howard would stop by every once in awhile and buy more calculatorsas gifts for his better clients. One day, Howard stoppedby and said that sinceJS&A wasa growing concern,I should buy insurance."You want to protectyour family because anything ever happenedto you, there may ifbe quite an estate and lots of taxes to pay before your familywould reahzeanything." "Thank you, Howard. I appreciate the offer, but I dontreally believe in insurance,"was my standardreply. But Howard was a good salesman. Every once in a whileHoward would clip out an article on calculators from a localpaperor an article from some magazineon somenew gadgetandsendit to me with his card.And everv once in a while. Howard 17
  • 29. stoppedby and picked up a calculator and again dropped the comment,"Joe, you shouldreally have insurance." "Thanks, Howard. I appreciate advice,"was my typical the comment. Then one day I hearda sirenin front of my next-doorneigh- bors house.I looked out the window and within a few minutes, my neighbor was being carried out of his home on a stretcher with a white sheetover him. He had died that morning from a massiveheartattack.He was only in his 40s. I was 36 at the time. The next day I called Howard on the phone. "Howard, re- member our many discussions insuranceand protectingyour on family and stuff? Well, I think that we should sit down and work out some sort of program for an insuranceplan for my family and me." I had finally made the plunge. Was it Howards salesman- ship? Was it his persistence? Maybe. But I reahzedfrom that experiencea really effective way to sell a whole series of products.Howard suc- ceeded because he had planted enough seedsin my mind for me to reahze what insurance was for, who shouldsell it to me and who was a good friend and customer.It took an event When it came time to buy, only I, Josephclose to home Sugarman, would know. And only when there was an immediateto make me experience that hit close to home would I seethe value of insur-take action. ance.I went through the experience and I responded. Someof the implicationsfrom this examplewill be referred to later in this book, but the point concernsthe natureof a prod- uct. Every product has a natureto it that you must understand to be successfulwhen creating a marketing concept behind that product. For example, from the insuranceexperience,I soon rcahzedhow to sell burglar alarms and becameone of the largest burglar alarm sales companiesin the country, protecting more homesthan any other company. The alarm was called the Midex and my thoughtswent back to Howard as I createdthe ad. I knew that to scarepeople into buying a burglar alarm was like Howard coming into my base- ment and saying, "Joe, when you die, are you going to leave your wife and kids in financial disaster?"That would never sell18 1I
  • 30. me insurance.Nor would a similar techniqueof quoting crimestatisticswork to sell burglar alarms. I reahzedthat if I were to buy a burglar alarm, I would firsthave to recognrzea need for one. Perhapsif my neighbor wasrobbed or crime in my community was on the rise or I hadrecentlypurchased somethingexpensive. Once I had a needfor a burglar alarm, I would look for onethat really made sensefor my situation.The first thing I wouldinsist on is that it worked.After all, the first time I really needmyalarm to work may be the only time it would be called upon towork, and Id want to make sureit worked flawlessly. The secondthing that would be importantto me is the easeof installation. It would have to be so easy to install that itwouldnt require any outsidepersonstringing wires all over myhouse.So when I wrote the ad on the Midex burglaralarm,I madesure that I spentseveralparagraphs the reliability of the prod- onuct and the testingeachunit went throughbeforeit was shipped.And I used astronautWally Schirra as my spokesperson the for "Im very pleased with my unit."alarm.He was quotedas saying,Scqre Tqcfics Dont UsuollyWork customerwith crime Never did I try to scarethe prospectivestatistics.It would look as ridiculous as Howard screamingorwarning me in my basement get insurance to because may die. IAll I did was rcahzethe natureof the productI was selling,bringout the points that were importantin the productto the consumerand then wait until the consumersaw the ad enoughtimes or wasthreatened close enoughto home before he or shebought. We receivedmany ordersfrom peoplewho had cut out thead and put it in a file. When indeed they were threatened, theythen called and placed their order. Fortunately, there wereenoughpeoplewho wanted a unit when they saw the ad to earnus a nice profit, but we also received orders months after westoppedrunning our ads.And despitethe fact that many of theelectronicproductsof the time were obsolete just a few monthsafter they were introduced,we managedto run our ad for overthree yearsbefore salessloweddown. I haveone other exampleon the importanceof becominganexpert on the product you sell by gaining specificknowledgein t9
  • 31. order to write outstanding copy on a subject. It happenedin 1975,right at the startof the CB boom in the United States.Back then, the U.S. governmenthad imposed a reduced nationwide speed limit of 55 miles per hour to conservefuel. The lower speedlimits really affectedthose 18-wheellong-haul truck dri- vers. Truck drivers responded buying citizens band radios to by communicatewith each other. The truck drivers would travel in caravans and truckers aheadof the caravanwould signal if there was a "Smokey" (po- lice officer) in the area.Soon CBs becameso popularthat the av- eragemotorist startedbuying them and a whole new fad emerged in the U.S.-a fad so big that songs,moviesand a varietyof prod- ucts were created to caprtahzeon it. The CB units themselves were in such demandthat you couldnt even get one without a wait, and thieves were stealing them out of cars and turning a very hefty profit reselling them. As a ham radio operator,I knew of the fun in radio commu- nications and the advantages having a unit in my car. This was of my general knowledge. So I wanted to experiencethe fad and I decided to get a CB radio. I then becamesomewhatof an expert on it. There was a lot lessto masterwith CB than therewas with ham radio, where I had to learn the Morse code at 13 words per minute and a greatdeal of technical information before passing my operatorstest. During the early stagesof the fad, I was attendingthe Con- sumer Electronics Show in Chicago when I bumped into Mike Weschler,a salesman, who showedme a new product. "Joe, here is a miniature walkie-talkie." The Product Wqs Nof Unusuql I looked at the small sliver of a product he handed me and reahzedthat a small walkie-talkie was no big deal.You could get them at anyRadio Shackstore.But Mike then pointed out that the unit had an integratedcircuit-it was one of the only units using this new type of technology and it indeedwas smaller than any of the other products on the market. The product seemed a little more interesting after Mike explainedits features. was so small that it could easily slip into It a shirt pocket. "What frequenciescan you broadcaston and what is the power?" I asked,calling on my knowledgeof ham radio.20
  • 32. "The unit has two frequencies.One takes a crystal for anyof a number of frequenciesand the other would be permanentlyset to a frequency around 2l megahertz." I looked up at Mike as he was demonstratingthe unit andasked him, "Mike, isnt 27 megahertznear one of the CB fre-quencies?" "Right. Its channel 12 but dont woffy, there is not thatmuch radio traffic on channel 12. Its normally reserved forwalkie-talkies,"Mike answered rather sheepishly if I had dis- ascovereda fault with the unit. "No, Mike, I think that will turn out to be an advantage."And indeedit was. I took the unit. called it a PocketCB and soldover 250,000of them at $39.95.It was a huge success fully andattributableto my generalknowledge combined with the specificknowledge of the unit and the discovery of that unique featurethat might have been overlookedby somebodyelse. Realize how important it is to know your product and knowyour customer.It is this specific knowledge that will make a dra-matic differencein your ability to communicateyour thoughtsincopy. 2l
  • 33. GhaptenPractice, Practice, Practice 3 On" of the first things I would ask my seminarstudents to think about was the definition of good copywriting. Is it the skill of being able to accurately words on paper?Can it be taught? put What sort of backgrounddo you needto be a good copywriter? We would then talk about both generalknowledgeand spe- cific knowledge.But I explainedthat therewas more to the art of copywriting. Copywriting is simply a written form of communicating facts and emotions.It is a mentalprocess. Somecopywriterswill tell you that many of their greatestworks were well thought out in their minds evenbefore they put them on paper. Joe Karbo wrote one of the most successful income oppor- tunity ads ever written for his book, The Lazy Mans Way to Riches,in one draft and without corrections. just pouredout of It his mind onto a sheetof paper.And it was one of the few ads he ever wrote. Some copywriters will tell you that they just sit down and start writing. Some find that sitting in front of a computer does the trick and othersneed somethingmechanicallike a pen and a pad of paper. My greatestads were written during a variety of circum- stances. Many were well thought out before I put the first word to paper and they flowed out with hardly a correction. Other times they would flow but you wouldnt recognizethe first draft from the last becauseof the number of corrections I made. SometimesI would sit in an airplaneandjust write from takeoff to landing and come up with greatcopy.And other times, I used my computerwith greatsuccess. Its All q Mentql Process The bottom line for all theseapproaches that copywriting is is primarily the mental process of first getting your thoughts organrzedin your mind and then eventually transferring them onto paper.There is no best method-just what works for you. 23
  • 34. But the best place to start, without question, is to start. Thats right. Pick up a piece of paper and a pefl, and start. Do enough of it over a long enough period of time and I guarantee you, youll improve each year.Write articlesfor a local newspa- per. I startedwriting for my high school paper.It gave me expe- rience and confidence. Write letters,write postcards-just plain write every opportunity you can. I look over my very first JS&A direct response and cant ads believe I wrote them. They were horrible. But I matured and I learnedwith each ad I wrote. In my first ads, I used clich6s- "Its the product the world has been waiting for." And my sen- tenceswerent flowing as they do now. Sheervolume and expe- rience will do wonders.As they say to anybody wanting to make it to CarnegieHall, "Practice,practice,practice." Donl Worry qbouf lhe Firsf Drqft Another fact to reahze about writing copy is that the first draft of an ad is often terrible and the real skill in copywriting is taking that rough draft and polishing it. You might add words, delete entire sentences, change the order of sentencesor even paragraphs. all part of the copywriting process. often point- Its I ed out to my studentsthat if everybodyin the classwere given the assignmentof writing a draft of an ad for a product, the first draft of my ad would quite likely be terrible compared to everybody elses.It is what I do with the copy after my first draft that really makes the difference. In that first draft the goal is to put something-anything- on paper, the emotional outpouring of everything you are trying to convey about your product or service.Dont woffy about how it reads.Just get it down onto somethingyou can work with like a computer screenor a piece of paper and then go from there. To define exactly what copywriting is, I often presentedthe following axiom: Axiom I Copywriting is a mental process the successful execution of which reflects the sum total of all your experiences,your spe- cific knowledge and your ability to mentally process that infor- mation and transfer it onto a sheet of paper for the purpose of selling a product or service. 24- -
  • 35. And in this book you will learn some of the valuable tech-niques to use to expand your knowledge of the copywritingprocess so you can write copy that motivates people to take anaction-specifically to take their hard-earned money andexchange for your product or service. it Copywriting is the key to any successfuldirect marketingventure.You can have the worlds best product or service,but ifyou cant communicate your ideas,you havenothing. I will giveyou the skills and insights you need to successfullywrite copy.Ive already personally taken the most expensivecourse ever. Ifyou would add up my failures and their cost to me, add theinsights I received mostly from my failures, and then add theexperiences Ive had in copywriting and marketing,you wouldsee that it has indeed been an expensiveeducation.And youreabout to sharein it. ,;l n{ , ]) u )<
  • 36. Ghapten Purpose of All the Graphic Elements of an Ad 4 The You are now ready to start to learn the techniquesI use to write copy. You already understand the importanceof having a broad generalknowledge.This takestime and is a lifelong quest. And you understand importanceof obtaining specificknowl- the edge on a project you are working on. This I hope is quite clear from Chapter 2. But what you are aboutto learn in this chapterand the chap- ters that follow is the specificknowledgeyou will needto under- standmy copywriting approachand to becomea top copywriter. In these chapters,I will presentseveralaxioms. Each one will be in bold type and each one is critical to your understand- ing of my philosophy.The axiom presented this chapteris very in important and very difficult to believe at first. Understandthis concept,believe in it and it will give you a good foundationfor your future writing skills. Dont believein it and youll fall into the trap that many copywriters typically fall into. To introducethe concept,lets look at the CB radio ad on the next page,which ran from 1975through 1911 The ad has all the . elementsyou would expectany spacead to have.And to under- standthis first axiom, I would ask my students define the pur- to pose of eachelementin an advertisement. The following is what we finally decided: 1. Headline: To get your attentionand draw you to the subhead- line. 2. Subheadline: To give you more information and further explain the attention-getting headline. 3. Photo or Drawing: To get your attentionand to illustratethe product more fully. 4. Caption: To describethe photo or drawing.An importantele- ment and one that is often read. 5. Copy: To convey the main selling message your product for or service.
  • 37. A DSubheadlineParagraphHeadingPhotos& DrawingscopyPriceLogoResponseDevice 6. Paragraph Headings: To break up the copy into chunks, therebymaking the copy look lessimposing. 7. Logo: To displaythe nameof the companysellingthe product. 8. Price: To let the readerknow what the product or servicecosts. The price could be in large type or could be buried in the copy. 9. ResponseDevice: To give the reader a way to respondto the ad, by using the coupon, toll-free number or ordering informa- tion. usuallv near the end of the ad.28
  • 38. 10. Overall Layout: To provide the overall appearance the for ad, by using effective graphic design for the other elements. After they clearly understood each of the elements that comprise a direct responsead, I then told the classthat there is a singular purpose for all the elements in an ad-a purpose so important that it constitutesone of the essentialconceptsin my approachto copy. When you were first attractedto the ad you might have looked at the photo at the top of the page or the other photos.You might have then read the headline,read the subheadlineand then glanced down to the name of the company selling the product. You may have read the captions to both the pictures and the sketchesand you may have noticed the toll-free number indicat- ing that you could order the product on the phone. When you looked at the ad overall, you may have noticed the layout, the paragraphheadingsscattered about the layout and the attractive graphic and typographic presentation. There are plenty of elementsthat can draw your attention before you start reading the copy. But one of the most important axioms you will learn for becoming a gteat copywriter is my secondaxiom. Here it is: 2Axiom Atl the elements in an advertisement are primarily designed to do one thing and one thing only: get you to read the first sen- tence of the copy. At this point, there was usually a confusedlook on the faces of my students.They thought that each of theseelementshad its own reasonfor existence. But I "No, they are there was saying, ffi-uenoutnr strictly for the sole purpose of getting you to read the first sentence." I know what youre think- ing. "What about the headline?Each element Isnt it supposed have a ben- toshould lead you to efit, be 16 words long and what about . . ." Stop.Just acceptmytheftrst sentence. word at this point that eachelementhas a single purposeand that is to get you to read the first sentence. Dont questionme. Dont jump to any conclusions. Just rememberthis axiom. 29
  • 39. This meansif somebodyasksyou, "With the Sugarmanap- proachto copywriting, what is the purposeof the subheadline in the ad?" dont answer,A subheadline designedto give you is more information and to further explain the attention-getting headline." Neither of the abovereasons as important as the fact that is the subheadline designedto get the readerto read the copy. is If somebodyaskedyou for the main purposeof the logo in an advertisement, "to establishthe corporate 1loucould answer, integrity of the company selling the product," or you could answer,"to provide a degreeof continuity."But the real answer is to get you to read the copy. Really. If you dont believe it, have patienceand I will prove it to you.But if youll openyour mind andjust acceptwhat I tell you, you will eventuallyrealizethat what I am sayingis correct.Most importantly though, when you realize this and start writing with this in the back of your mind, youIl be amazed the changein at your results.But like I said,just take my word for it now and let me prove it to you later in this book.30
  • 40. 5Chapten Sentence T lf the purposeof all the elementsin an ad is thereforeto get you to read the copy, then what we are really talking about is reading the first sentence,arent we? What does this tell you aboutthe first sentence? Pretty important,isnt it? And if the first sentenceis pretty important, what do you hope that the person who looks at your ad does?Readit, of course.If the readerdoes- nt readyour very first sentence, chances that he or shewont are read your secondsentence. Now if the first sentence so important,what can you do to is make it so compelling to read, so simple, and so interestingthat your readers-every one of them-will readit in its entirety?The answer:Make it short. If you look at many typical JS&A ads,you11 notice that all of my first sentences so short they almost arent sentences. are Sometypical onesmight be as follows: Losingweightis not easy. Its you against computer. a l.tli Its easy. l;:,i It hadto happen. i:ir Hatsoff to IBM. :iil Each sentence so short and easy to read that your reader is illlri startsto read your copy almost as if being suckedinto it. Think rll aboutthe analogyof a locomotive.When the locomotivestartsto chug from a standing start, it really works hard. The amount of commitmentand energythat the train must exert is monumental. But once the train startsto move, the next few feet becomeeasi- er and fhe next few eveneasier.So it is with copy. Mogozines Use ThisTechnique Many magazinesuse a vanatton of this technique in their articles. They start an article not with a very short sentencebut maybewith very largetype. Oncethey haveyou suckedinto read- ing the copy and you turn the page to read the rest of the article,
  • 41. you notice that the typeface has gotten smaller. But thats OK. The purposeof the large type was to get you into the article and it worked. Now its up to the author to keep you reading and turn- ing the pages. In an advertisement, youve got a lot going against you unless the readersare genuinely interestedin your product. And if they are, then youve got to really grab and keep them. So your first sentenceshould be very compelling by virtue of its short length and easeof reading.No long multi-syllablewords. Keep it short, sweet and almost incomplete so that the readerhas to read the next sentence. If all the elementsare designedto get you to read the first sentence an ad, then what is the pu{poseof the first sentence? in If you guessed, "convey a benefit or explain a feature,"impossi- ble. How could a short first sentencedo anything more than get you to read it? The correct answeris, of course,"The purposeof the first sentenceis to get you to read the second sentence." Nothing more, nothing less.You probably figured this one out already anyway. The Purpose of ihe Next Senfence Now if youre startingto get a feel for my approachto copy- writing and I askedyou what the pu{poseof the secondsentence is and you answered,"to get you to read the third sentence," you would be absolutelycorrect.And for those of you who missed that last answerand I askedyou what the purposeof the third sen- tence was and you answered,"to get you to read the fourth sen- tence,"congratulations. think youve got it. I Was there any mention of benefits?Or product description? or unique features? coursenot. The only purposeof thosefirst Of few sentences an advertisementis to get you to read the fol- in lowing sentences. True, you may at one point have to start talking about product featuresor benefits,but if you lose sight of the fact that your sole purpose at the beginning of an ad is to hold that readers attention at almost any cost, then you may lose your readerfor lack of interest.Thereforewe have the third axiom:Axiom 0 The sole purpose of the first sentencein an advertisementis to get you to read the second sentence.32
  • 42. Just compare the situation in our ad example with a sales-person selling somebodyface-to-face.If the first few minutes ofthe salespresentationput the prospectivecustomerto sleepor ifthe customerstopshearing the presentationand walks away,thatsalesperson lost everything.So in copywriting as in selling, hasif your reader is not riveted to every word you write in the firstfew sentences, then your chancesof having that readerget to thereal salespitch are very remote. My most successful ads have followed this format, withvery few exceptions.What about making the sales pitch at thebeginningof an ad?This is certainlypossible,of course,but thenit is often not very effective. Ive tried putting the salesmessageat the beginning of an ad. Ive tried using every trick in the bookto prove my theory wrong and have failed at each attempt. Justrememberthat the sole purposeof all the elementsof an ad is toget you to read the first sentence. Make that first sentence easy soto read that your reader is almost compelled to read it. If yougrasp this, youve got an awfully good start and a greatunder-standingof copywriting and the persuasive process. 33
  • 43. $ Creating the Perfect Buying Environment Ghapten Besides holding the readers attention, there is another important function we are trying to accomplishin the first para- graphs of an advertisementand that is to create a buying envi- ronment.Let me cite an example. Picture this. Youre a salesperson and you need to sell a prospect.Youve beengiven a choice of environments which to in meet the prospect,and you must pick one. The product you are selling is very expensiveand youll need at least one hour to explain and properly sell the product. The choicesyou have are as follows: 1. At noon at a very fancy restaurant near the prospectsoffice. 2. After lunch in the board room at the offices of the prospect. 3. After work at the prospectshealth club while working out with him. A.In the eveningwith the prospectat his home while the prospect baby-sitsfor his three children. 5. Any of the four abovemight be an acceptable choice. The correct answeris 5. Why? Becausethe correct answer "Which is the best location?" is simply "in the to the question best selling environmentfor what you have to sell." If the product is a piece of exerciseequipment,the health club might be perfect. If the product has somethingto do with parentsand children, at home with the prospectand his children in the eveningmight be the perfectenvironment. Now if the correctanswerfor the salesperson is "in the envi- ronment best suited for the selling activity," it is true in print advertisingtoo. Yes, but let me cite anotherexamplebefore we discussprint advertisingenvironments. The Honolulu Experience I was in Honolulu after a trip to the Far East.I usually stop 35tu
  • 44. at Honolulu to recover after traveling so long and so far and over so many time zones. As I was walking down one of the main streetsin Waikiki, I stoppedto look into an art gallery and saw a painting of scenes from outer space. Since JS&A was known for selling space-age products,I thought that the painting would fit very nicely in my office. I walked into the gallery noticing how very elegant it looked and saw the paintings neatly displayed on the wall. The gallery looked like it sold expensivepaintings.In short, I expectedthe pricesto be high. It didnt take too long before a well-dressedsaleswoman noticed ffie, walked over and asked if I needed assistance. "Beautiful painting, isnt it?" she asked. "Very nice," I nodded. "It really looks great." At that point the lady said, "Pleasefollow me," as shelifted the painting off the wall and walked towardsthe back of the large gallery. I followed. We entereda large room, carpetedfrom floor to ceiling. In the middle of the room were three very comfortable easy chairs all facing the front of the room where the salesladymounted the painting on the wall. She then went back to the entranceof the room, turnedup the classicalmusic being piped in through loud- speakers dimmed the lights leavingtwo spotlightsfocusedon and the painting. Poinling Looked lncredible I must admit that the painting looked incredible.The vibrant colors, the quality of the art, and the nice feeling I experienced from hearingthe classicalmusic put me in such a buying mood that I was ready to reach into my pocket and pull out my credit card and buy the $2,000painting. That lady and that gallery had put me in such a focusedbuy- ing mood by creating the perfect environmentfor selling me that painting that I almost bought it right there and then. By the way, I eventually sponsored the artist, Mark Rickerson,and sold his paintingsand prints throughJS&A. I personallyendedup with 50 of his paintings. Once you realtze the importanceof settingup a buying envi- ronment,youll know that it must be done in the early stages an of advertisement. When vou establishthe readins momentum at the36
  • 45. start of an ad, you also want to startestablishingthe buying environmentas well. The salesladyfirst had to get me into the store and then slowly get me in that room to put me in the ideal buying mood. If this all soundshard to do in print, it really isnt. Youll see exampleslater of how to establishthe buying environmentas you establishthe momentum. Since you are creating your own environmentYourcopy has in a print ad,you havetotal control over its appearance. Commonto put the sensewill dictatethe rest.prospectinto areluxed buying For example,if I was sellingproductsat a discount,I wouldenvironment. use big type for my prices and lots of busy graphic elements. In short, I would make the ad look like a typical discount ad. And conversely, I was selling somethingexpensive, would present if I myself in an environment that showed class and refinslnsnf- that exudedconfidenceand trust. Unlike the salesperson who may or may not be able to cre- ate the ideal selling environment, you can createyour own. And unlike the salesperson who sometimes cant control the environ- ment, you can. So for selling products through Battram Galleries, the col- lectibles company I formed, ffiy graphic and copy approachwas upscaleand conservative-just what youd expectfrom an expen- sive gallery.However,when I presented Consumers my Hero con- cept,a club that sold refurbishedbargains, had a totally different it ::li environmsnf-sne that was clearly bargain-oriented. :jii The JS&A ads all had a uniform, well-organizedformat that jlrl seemedto be the perfect environmentfor all my space-age elec- tronic products.I rarely deviatedfrom it, but when I did, it was to createa better environmentfor a specific product I was selling. You wouldnt expect to buy an expensivepainting from an Army surplus store and you wouldnt expect to find much of a bargainat Tiffanys. You Gonfrol the Environment As a writer of direct marketing, you have control over the environment. The environmentyou chooseis createdin both the graphic elementsand the copy, but especially the copy-by the way you phraseyour words, the choiceof words and the level of integrity you convey. 37
  • 46. Unlike a store where you spend thousandsof dollars to create an environment,you can do it all simply in the copy of your ad. The environment is critical in getting a prospectivecus- tomer into the buying mood.And to createthat environment, you attractthe customersattention(the headline,photos,logo, etc.) and then youve got to get the personto readthe first sentence by making it so simple and so compellingthat the readercannothelp but read it. And the next sentence and then the next. And while the readeris reading,you are creating an envi- ronmentjust as surelyasthat art gallery was drawing me into that back room. So now we are ready for the fourth axiom.Axiom 4 Your ad layout and the first few paragraphs of your ad must create the buying environment most conducive to the sale of your product or service. Creating the ideal buying environmentcomesfrom experi- ence and the specific knowledge you get from studying your product and potentialcustomer. comesfrom understanding It the nature of your product or service. Greater understandingwill come as you read this book. But for now, reahzehow important creating the buying environment is to eventually selling your product. To understand how we get the readernot only to read,but to feel comfortableand be in a buying mood in that environment, lets take time out for a little lessonon personalsalesability in general,in the next chapter.38
  • 47. CcccchapterT Resonating with the Reader Wh"n I was only 20 years old, my father sent me to New York City to run the branch office of his printing equipment company, ConsolidatedInternational.He was having financial difficulties and I was happy to help him out since I wasnt get- ting as much out of college as I had hoped. I dropped out of college and while in New York, too young to sell his expensive equipment, I took an interest in salesmanship. knew that he I expected to eventuallyhelp him sell his equipment,so I set me out to preparemyself. I went to bookstoresand bought everythingI could on sell- ing. I read every book available at the public library-all to becomean expert in salesmanship. And during that year in New York I would stroll down Broadwayand visit small auctionshops locatedright on Times Square. Wonderful Sqles Technique These small auction shops would prey on unsuspecting observersby appealing to their greed. The shops proprietor would auctionoff what appeared be terrific bargains, to hook one of the prospectivebidders in the audienceand create a buying frenzy that plenty of the onlookerswould get suckedinto. The biddersendedup buying junk that wasnt much of a bargain.The salestechniques were wonderful to watch and I spenthoursjust observingthem and human nature. Then I would go back to my small apartmentand read more books on selling.It wasnt easyfor a young, inexperienced 20- year-oldto sell expensive and complicatedprinting equipment.I thoughtthat if I could becomean experton selling in generaland printing equipment in particular and then, through experience, pick up specificknowledgeabout selling the equipment,I could be an effectivesalesman my dad. for Selling was somethingI was suited for. In the preference testsI took in high school,I had the highestscorein a category
  • 48. called opersuasion"and another high score in "literary." My careerin advertisingcould havebeen predictedevenback in high school, for when you think about it, print advertising is nothing more than "literary persuasion." Some of the really significant lessonsI learnedin New York were the stepsin selling a prospect, which also apply to selling in print advertising.Let me review the procedure. The first thing you do in selling is to set up the selling envi- ronment. Whether it be a private room in a gallery or a car deal- ers showroom, you configure the physical environment to be your selling environment. Next, you have to get the attention of the prospect. That certainly makes senseand is related to the headline of a print ad. Once you have the prospectsattention,the next step is to introduce yourself and say somethingthat will keep the atten- tion of the prospect.This is similar to the subheadlineand the photos and captions.Then comes the salespitch or the copy in a print ad. During this activity, the seller has two thoughtsin mind. The first is that the buyer must like and developconfidencein the sell- er. The buyer must believe that the seller knows his product. Secondly,the seller must somehowrelate the product to the buyer and the buyers needs.Thats clear.But the buyer and the seller must literally vibrate together.There must be a harmony struck in both the buyer and seller,or the persuasive salesmessage wont come throush. There are many methodsfor creating this harmony and two YEP!,,,Y8?! of the most important apply very directly ..,NOWTHAT to spaceadvertising.First, youve got toOULIKC (( Y*!ouRFRoeucr, t get the prospectivereader to start saying ))tHOWAOOUT yes. Second,youve got to make state-OROERIN6 ments that are both honest and believ- fi? able. Lets cite an example.A car sales- man says, "Nice day, Mr. Jones." Mr. Jones then answers,"Yes." (It is a nice day, the statementis truthful and the cus-Get the customer tomer answersin the affirmative.)to nod in the oI see,Mr. Jones,that you keep youraffirmative and car very clean." "Yes, Iagree with you. do." (At this point, the salesman has Mr. Jones saying yes and40
  • 49. nodding his head.) "I see, Mr. Jones, that ,o 4A9t.. NaYgS since you now own a Buick and we sell I Vpcn Buicks, you probably could use a new one?" , U LJA| "Yes." (The R . resl salesmanasks a rather obvious question and Mr. Jones,nodding, replies in ME5, the affirmative.) "May I show you one of our latest models with improvements over the modelGetyour reader you currently own?" "Yes." (The salesmanto sav "Yes." once again says the obvious to get a yes answer and the har- mony continues.) In short, you try to get the customerto nod his head in the affirmative and agreewith you, or at the least,you make truthful statements which the prospectknows are correctand would con- cur with. Make sure that the prospect does not disagreewith something youre saying. If for example the salesmansaid, "Could you use a new Buick?" and the customersaid "No," the sale would have taken a bad turn right there and the harmony would have been lost. In a print ad, the reader would have stoppedreadingand turnedthe page. Hqrmony Is the Key The momentyou get the readerto say "No" or even"I really dont believewhat he is saying" or "I dont think that relatesto me," youve lost the reader.But as long as the readerkeepssay- ing yes or believeswhat you are saying is correct and continues to stay interested, you are going to be harmonizing with the read- er and you and the readerwill be walking down that path towards that beautiful room in the art gallery. To show you a specific approachto this method, lets take an example from an ad I wrote for one of my seminar partici- pants. Entitled "Food Crunch," it offered dehydratedsurvival food. on occasion, when one of my students wrote a good ad that did not succeed,I would help him or her by either suggesting minor copy changes sometimes or rewriting the entire ad myself if I felt I had a betteroverall concept.The first ad, by John Sauer, was written right after our major fuel crunchin L9i3, when there were lines of carsat gaspumpsthat had little or no fuel to pump. The ad is shown on the next page with my ad above it. John chosethe conceptof insuranceas the best approachin his ad. I 4l
  • 50. felt that insuranceput people to sleep.Seeif you agreewith the copy statements my ad as I tie in FOOD GRUNGH Weuoall experienccd luel sh0rtage th€ in the then current feelings of helplessnessduring and mo3l ol us ilofo unPrElared. Will you be prepared lorlie lood rrumh? tHt $o 3Rtals30u6[ ^n ur{rs oi il. ir. rod the fuel shortagewith Johnsproduct. nui r, tu lrtr ttui drr ftilcrr nr; dfrs I4nt Dnr0rtbrhrih9bror rh,yciDrhrko ,d+!,rmryLbilrh.@libffilril rooi i,rri rt! lhh hd.!, We all takeour food supplyfor granted. n: !d4ur lor lrcnn n,hrilrr! mr4de !rvrra+drErorLrilr .npr{rpriniqoftniltduillun,! n!,i il r xn fti4 rhr,! ridryrr !!ri rril.sr4ioui.d!trdryi.hiru rriq,Ehrrg(mri ri.^ Fu .,n .$!q rs rn cd4rtd $iFHn[,.lLf r*r/M^i.Tnanoj, roiooirrrbL{. Trh{o}r rms.ritr.lstuarK..u0pf E And for goodreason. Americans ir iJt, i tu br dR d il! rd havealwayshadplenty. ,,qr4 trrd m nrG .r nn i.r ndbrhF{rdardna!ft!v/ss1 +idMi*ioni|h.or.lMrrtod dlin;.;i;;,w,Rmdrui,nrku* But we may be heading oneof the mostseri- rMovi.bvr.rdf,;*!$id4 for rr;rrrr€m* s,mrr^,c, ;i;;;n;;-;;;;il;.;"i;,i;; _,," /.- qr.rir tuil roldr rd4 u..f,ir r{ 9ril:; 6xi:p6r4!ndxrf, i{ n il rt tofitc{Jtr.nd rndrrbrhirtuiq$,h4 &r 4 rDril(o n6 F4r! !r D I Pn[rd ! heJ yila il h.q*d linr M ih.56,d 1] r.lorl{rft hil4 r(hdh{qr ndJilqJ *4 { r$.D rnrdihrr qr*! tihtdf,nniirnres4:rL.r,{[n 1.*qd rdanhod! br ail &&ilrjr. a. n*(do.sh.Mru{i .idLilr r.nrnr.*htu.;dtrjNr *h(i adtrnr h&dD.rio!4 dM.otrthhrrr:oraidrrri:t.Drrrtod ;bmarnd hr ousperiods our history. me explain. in Let rn timr a. r i.* bld t: ldof.aJrd lr: ody lotki eil b:(xno$rLohnllH*rulurrrd.dibf lodrldryEriihurul @0h(rdo,a4rt*/ril rd.: ;ni frrjJ I u! h $r JdidtE rrd tr.r .:riD ftrt r rslr ilDt i zJh ,7 ho rs{! ko* nJmdr Fr r4d, rJ Ml !: lr@orbid dnF, I J !"{ rNd 9b*.qH rnJ !. The ad then goes on to explain the writers rd Jiilu&d ! j?ldiJh Hlrdi. rl 3il{il,ddi!,* !4, rm jkFrtroJrr!il6s bnl(i,{d! {&.dl€rinr llcorinJlku4trrdlb tdh r{rr rflnil.i4Eildil0hhFilelr iif,fl#{filiirjd,J,jlftlT,;r,*: rytiirir-liilii11ii:lj!.fi,;,lr;",:",l;j;r;;,",*;Hrjjli.j lfli.::ll[J;iil1*l-""""" r$inEcmx,E il rr nkn h.Br40 firsthand experienceof arriving at a supermarket B.Xi,;1?1,,liil,i,",,itm*nrarr tr.,srdra,rcmnil., r n1tr!i!q. !r!urnr,ddnu! !tu*drrton r;:.il.lfilil,"i9;ii"""""" ff1i!t;l1Lli1*liffi"i?;f"fl riliil.;#l;1":ftl"li*FJl:;",i .,r., or ailoil r{+sil dihno4r@i4.mE*iirn4.&h o hlN .k, ?rrd id hr !dr: frt hrr drLr siftar r&or0 r.FtrrqrFr rn right after the news of the Kennedy assassination tuu{rdtrrilranhat.iti rBhhoi.h.t*: s,nm^&jtr ron{r *4q{c ae tu du 5/!u h idr0 il. ..ed,,.""b",,"*gti;ilJl; llJftl{ffi."lli#nXi,i1"11.;i, only to discover that the shelves were bare and :ij.,fi,;;,,1i;.:;tfiti.li,J,,tit.lt,g ". ;iJtfff *" *"" """ ,11l,S:rir.",X.,tlitj,*; ;t -" ";";g . rusr,i0o that people in time of distress or calamity think urN tddtrrddointtdl | lqi lfb lrh ro !! r or: il1;i.n,iT * vrE .1. rlan Sl SDD4J $ile i:"".;rB;i5,i:.gi1Jxt"lrJs,rll :;i;i1lir"",ffil:;i:;;ili,"Ji,. $1.r ie nr6 ro0 r1r 0rr ,liidibry bD first of their own survival. nd tu Notice that the readersattentionwas riveted. The headline, "Food Crunch," and subheadline, Do you have "Weve all experiencedthe fuel shortageand most FOOD insurance? of us were unprepared.Will you be prepared for Execut!ves lhtoughout Amalica arc taking 6tock of the futurc and stacking up Here s how a F@d lnsurance Prcgrcm works to Notect yau and yav fanily. the food crunch?" causedus to read the first sen- S(Y tence.The first sentencewas short and the typical nmorotlrnfirum r$SBYrotEo i urrL tt. ta* *rorNd r*lfrtoFuvn$r8 JJli mr r4rt 14v1dii.,r snri b tutr 4e,l)d.ror lal Surd rdi hrd,!o-4! rprd Lr !9 r n.: Fsr.i L r9rir 1 r& r?E .il N, American who could afford this offer would nod r flrd r4ff 4i rdrtb0 rn*rdirouD€Wr:l!irdti!3t$lh.r{l& hd r1 44+L ti tidde ilklJr.rJrr r.adily h q!c!rruDlrirltNtu.ri!rrlri vrdrd d dtsrt:.0 +ilrcitililrf.: raftr !f $!r ftifl St tu tnFrM ,.V*:ld h4. mGrenri*i !*.,iil " *, " " lffl.#l*ff:,1,,,,,,,, liii:,il"xiiiliYiiiiil.Yi his or her head in the affirmative. The sentences i:ll,jY" tus rid n b{ir urcdrild dt r I rtu n 1 !0 t$ hrtPhlt ikrr-d u6{ilhi0 hhrnr sDh rr4 r r, b 2l rrr0l were both interestingand true and causedthe read- er to start nodding his or her head. So now we have three things we are trying to do at the beginning of an ad. First we want the reader to read the copy. Remember, thats the objective of all copy. Without the prospectreading the ad, you have nothing. Then we create the type of environment through copy that causesthe prospectto feel com- Which qd would fortable in exchanging his or her hard-earnedmoney for your you read ftrst right after the product or service.And finally, we want the prospect to harmo- fuel crunch? nrze with us-ts agreewith us-by feeling that indeed we are saying somethingthat is truthful, interestingand informative and that the prospectcan agreewith. In short, we want agreement. We want that head to nod in the affirmative. We want harmonv. 42E
  • 51. Look what Cycle magazinedid to create the perfect harmony with me when they tried to get me to buy media in their magazine.They created a knockoff of my ad format and sent it to me with a copy style that resembled mine. Of course it could have backfired if I was upset that they were copying ffie, but they also knew that I would quickly rccognrze the format and the effort they were making to land me as a customer and that I would respect their creativity. Indeed I harmo- nrzed with their effort and bought some spacein their magazine. Another illustration of this concept is in the ad I wrote trying to appealto bargain hunters for a company called ConsumersHero. After a few sentences copy read as follows: theThis is the ad thatCycle magazine Consumers beingrobbed. are Inflationis stealing purchasing ourcreutedus a sules power.Our dollarsareshrinking value.The poor average in con-tool to harmonize sumeris plundered,robbedandstepped on.with JS&A andconvinceas to buv. If you were a consumerlooking for bargainswhen inflation was skyrocketing, during the yearswhen I wrote this, you would very likely be in harmony after that brief paragraph. I used words that the consumer could relate to. I spoke in the con- sumerslanguage. I once had a top-producing salesmansay to me, "Joe, I really admire you. I can sell anybodyon a one-to-one basis.Put t me up againstthe toughestcustomersand I11melt them down t. and sell them. But you have the ability to do that on a scalethat ,,. dwarfs mine. When you sell, ]ou manageto duplicate yourself and sell millions of people all at the sametime." And thats what is so incredible about selling in print. You can duplicateyourself on billions of pages. Youve got to be able to reproduce a selling job in print that will harmonize with the consumer,and then youve got the essence a powerful tool that of will bring you rewards for the rest of your life in all forms of communicationwhether they be in print or on TV or in any of the new electronic media of the future. 43
  • 52. A D V E R T I S I N G S E C R E T S So our fifth axiom is simply:Axiom E Get the reader to say yes and harmonize with your accurate and truthful statements while reading your copy. Now you have the basisfor anothervery important principle in writing effective copy.44
  • 53. IChapten SlipperySlide By no* you have learned several very important points about copywriting. First, you learnedthat you have,in your life, experiencedgeneral knowledge through your actions, circum- stances and personality. You have alsobeengiven the tools to ob- tain specific knowledge,such as the ability to inquire, read and research.Then you learned that practice is a great teacher-thatEveryelement the more you write, the better you get. And finally you learnedmustbe so com- that copywriting is the mental processof transferringwhat is inpelling that youfind yourself your head onto a sheetof paper.falling down a Then we got into the pure Sugarman stuff. We learned slipperyslide unableto stop what most people think elementslike the headline and captions until you resch do for a typical ad. And then we learnedwhat I believetheir pri- the end. mary purpose is: to get the reader to read the first sentence. And if you remember, said that the sole pur- we pose of the first sentence to get prospectsto read is the secondsentence and that the sole purposeof the secondsentence to get them to read the third and is then the fourth-all while you are building a selling environmentfor the saleof your product. We also comparedthe selling processin print to what a live and in-person salesperson does. You learnedthat ideally,as your readerstartsread- ing your copy, you get the readerto startnod- ding in agreement with everythingyou say. So now the reader is reading your first few sentences, feeling comfortable in the is environmentyou have createdand is nodding in agreement.Now comes the critical part "slippery slide." called the Picturea steepslide at a playground.Now picture somebody putting baby oil or greasealong the entire length of the slide
  • 54. including the side rails. Picture yourself now climbing up the ladder, sitting at the top of the slide and then letting gravity force you down the slide. As you start to slide down and build momentum, you try holding on to the sidesto stop, but you cant stop.You continue to slide down the slide despite all your efforts to prevent your descent. This is the way your copy must flow. Every element in an advertisement must causethat slippery slide effect. The headline must be so powerful and compelling that you must read the subheadline, and the subheadlinemust be so powerful that you are compelled to read the first sentence, and the first sentence must be so easyto read and so compelling that you must read the next sentenceand so on, straight through the entire copy to the end. The Force of "Reqding Grovily" I once receiveda letter from a readerof ScientfficAmerican magazinein responseto one of our ads on thermostats. The lady who sent me the typewritten letter told me that she had no need for a thermostat,was not interestedin the subject, rarely reads advertisements when she does,shejust scansthrough them. and But, she went on, "I am a busy scientist.When I startedreading your ad, I wasted five minutes of my valuable time reading the entire thing and I was so upset at the complete waste of my time, that I wanted to write you and complain." As a copywriter, I couldnt have gotten a more complimentarycomplaint letter. If you can get the majority of the people who scan a maga- zine to read your ad, maybe you wont sell every one of them but you will sell a good percentage. Creatingthe slippery slide will causepeople to "traffic" your ad-to go through the entire text of your ad and then decide if they want to buy. Traffic is a good word in retail selling.Any shoppingcen- ter that can draw increasedtraffic will have increasedsalesfor its stores.But the traffic generated thesestorescan only be com- by paredto the peoplewho actually read your copy.Thats why some of the greatest magazineswith the largest circulations do not guarantee success your advertisement. the of Traffic is strictly the numberof peoplewho get into your copy.When I say "get into," I mean falling down the slippery slide all the way through to the end of your copy. 46-
  • 55. Creating the slippery slide effect is not that difficult once the readeris well into your copy. In fact, its been proven that if a reader reads over 25vo of your ad, there is a great probability that he or she will read the entire ad. so once you,ve grabbed your readerat the start of your ad with your perfect environment and once theyre readingygyr compelling first - sentence, you,ve got them starteddown the slipp.ry ,tid". Slippery Slide Exomples Lets look at a few examplesof the use of the slippery slide in some of the advertisingIve written through the years.I re_ ferred to the thermostat ad above, so let,s start with that. The copy startsout with the following headline, subheadline and first two paragraphs: Headline:MagicBaloney Subheadline: youll love- way we hated the the Magic Statther_ mostatuntil an amazing thing happened. Picture caption: It had no digital readout, an ugry caseand a stupidname. almost It madeu, ,i.k. copy: Youreprobablyexpecting typicalsales our pitch, but get readyfor a shock.For instead ffyin;to tell you oI productthe Magic stat thermostat *-.." going wha a great ii, t to tearit apart. Unmercifully. when we first sawthe Magic Stat,we took one look at the name andwent,"yuck." we tooli onelook at theplastic oHow case andsaid, cheaplooking."And whenwe lookedfor the orgiiurread- out, it hadnone.So beforethe salesman evenshowed how it worked,we weretotally turnedoff. us Now if y.ourereading the above ad, you,re starting down the slippery slide unable to stop.you might find yourself ieading the copy even though you have no intention of buying a thermo_ stat by mail. Youre curious.whats the gimmick? The environmentwas set by the very clean layout. The tone of the ad was one of a flip, sarcastic and skepticalcompanyex_ploring the possibility of selringa product that we were not veryimpressed with. of coursethe rest of the ad told of how we discovered a fewnice points and then a few more and then some really great fea_tures and finally decided that this was one great product. At theend of the ad, we finished with: 47
  • 56. Beautyis only skin deepand a namedoesntreally meanthat much.But we surewish thoseguys at Magic Statwould have named their unit something moreimpressive. Maybesomething like TwinkleTemp. That single ad ran for over three years and not only gener- ated large volume for us but propelled the Magic Stat people to become one of the major thermostatcontenders nationwide. Finally, after three years of promoting their product, I receiveda call from the owner of the company thanking me for the wonder- ful salesand awareness createdfor him. "Had it not beenfor we JS&A, the company would have never even gotten off the ground." And by the way; he added,"we just sold our companyfor $20 million to Honeywell. From now on, youll be dealing with their national salesmanager." It was this small incident that planted the seedsfor the creationof BluBlocker Corporation-the sunglass companythat I launchedalong with the help of my operationsmanager, Mary Stanke.After helping companiessuch as Magic Stat for the past severalyears, I thought it was time to launch my own product through my own company insteadof everybodyelses products throughtheir companies. Our first BluBlocker ad appears later in this book in Chapter33. Another exampleof the slippery slide theory is in my ad for a companyI startedthat sold bargains, called Consumers Hero. Picture yourself scanningthrough a magazineand coming acrossthe following copy: Headline:HOT Subheadline: newconsumer A concept you buy stolen lets mer- chandise yourewillingto takea risk. if Highlighted copy block: Impossible-to-trace Guarantee-We guarantee that our stolenproductswill look like brand new merchandise without any traceof previous brandidentification or ownership. Well, if youre like most readers, 1louhad to startreadingthe copy. How could you help but not? Copy: We developed excitingnew consumer an marketing con- cept. called lts "stealing." Thatsright,stealing! 48-
  • 57. Now if that sounds bad,look at the facts.Consumers being are robbed. Inflationis stealing purchasing our power.our dollars areshrinking value. in Thepooraverage consumer plundered, is robbed andstepped on. Sothepoorconsumer to strikeback.First,heformsconsumer tries groups. lobbies washington. fightspriceincreases. He in He He looksfor value. So we developed newconcept our around value. our ideawasto stealfrom therich companies giveto thepoorconsumer, and save our environment maybe, werelucky,makea buck. and if I then went into the concept,which was our plan to take de- fective merchandise,repair it and then make it available to the consumers through a club that cost $5 to join. Newsletterswere sent to members offering the products. one of the paragraphs near the end of the ad summedit up beautifully: So thatsour concept. recycle"lousy rotten" garbage we into super new products with five-year warranties. stealfrom the We rich manufacturers give to thepoorconsumer. work hard and We andmakea glorious profit. The above two ad examplesare but a few of the many Ive written through the yearsthat illustratethe slippery slide theory. once you startreadingthe headline,which forcesyou eventually down to the first sentence, )ou are in my slide.And then I take ,,li you all the way to the bottom of that slide so beforeyou know it, "] youve read the entire ad. Youve been in my store,you entered and didnt get out until you fully examinedthe merchandise I lllr offered you. I took you into my private room and gave you a demonstration my productin an environment of that was so com- pelling, you couldnt help but buy.And I did it with integrity and honestywhile gettingyou to nod your headas I sold you. Thats what the slippery slide is all about. Getting your reader readall of the copy.So a major axiom of mine is simply: toAxiom I Your readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if stiding down a slippery slide. As we explainedabove,one of the most importantelements in creating the slippery slide is the start of your ad copy. I often will start my copy with a story or even pick up a piece of news
  • 58. from a magazine that I feel would be of interest to my readers. The story is often offbeat, always interesting and a great short story. A good example of this technique is the story about a trusted accountant who was caught emb ezzling money from his com- pany. Heres the copy I wrote based on that article and the very unusual connection I made to the product I was selling: Headline: Last Wish Subheadline: He was a prisoner conflned to a cell block. "Give him one last wish," pleadedhis wife. Copy: GeorgeJohnsonis in a statepenitentiary for a white-collar crime. His seven-year sentence gives him plenty of time to exer- cise. Johnson,36 yearsold, always took care of himself. He exercised regularly,ate good food and took vitamins.But he got greedy.As a company accountanthe kept issuing bogus checks to "Cashin Electric Company" for electrical contracting work. One day his boss noticed the large payments being made to the Cashin Electric Company and discovered that the outfit didnt exist. Johnsonwas actually typing out checksto "Cash," cashing them himself and then after the checksclearedthe bank and were returned to his company, he carefully typed on the checks "in Electric Company" after the word Cash." Since he was a trusted accountant, who would suspect? WIFE MORE SYMPATHETIC His wife was more sympatheticthan was the judge. She wanted to help her husbandand suggested pick an exerciseproduct for he his cell-something that was easy to store and could give him a complete workout. And the prison agreed.Johnsonchosea Precor precisionrower. Heres why. I then described the Precor rower and how beneficial it was for your entire body, how it stored easily out of the way and why George selected the product for his primary exercise device. Later in the ad I admitted the liberty I had taken with the story out of frustration. The copy ended with the following: Before I tell you which rower Johnsonselected, have a confes- I sion to make. I love the Precor line of rowers so much that I prob- ably committed a crime too. The story about Cashin Electric Companyis true. Sometrustedaccountant was sentto prison.But his namewasnt Johnsonand his wife nevercalled JS&A to order a thing, let alone a rower.50
  • 59. But onenight,while I wastrying my hardest figureout a new to way to share enthusiasm the Precorrowers, started my for I get- ting a little silly and concocted dumb story aboutJohnson this andhis interest the rower.Copywritingis not easyand some- in timesyou go a little bonkers. I then finished the ad with a selection of rowers and myusual close. In this casethe offbeat article about Cashin ElectricCompany had nothing to do with the product I was offering butit createda very strong beginning for my slippery slide. The news item could have nothing to do with your productor it could tie in perfectly. For example, I was reading Forbesmagazine and in their "Forbes Informer" section, there was anarticle entitled "Growth Market." The copy read as follows: manufacturers overlooked po- It lookslike U.S.underwear have a tentialgrowthmarket. Accordingto a surveyof 1,000adultBrits conducted London-based by Survey Research Associates, in one tenBritishmenwears same the underpants or threedaysrun- two ning. One in a hundredwearsthe samepair all week.Half the women polled said they kept wearingunderwearafter it went graywith age. I would cut out articles just like the one above and keep acollection of them. And then when appropriate,I would use oneof them to begin an ad that somewhatrelated to the news item. For example, I was in England appearingon QVC, the TVhome shopping network. QVC has a branch office in Englandand I often appearedon TV selling my products there. While inthe lounge waiting to go on the air, I met a man who showedmea new producthe was presenting called "Scrub Balls." They weresimply nine golfball-sizedspheres that you put in your washingmachine with your laundry. They sloshedaround scrubbing theclothes to bring out more dirt and make the clothes cleaner andwhiter. They also saved on detergent and made your clothescleaner while using less water. If I were marketing that productin print, I might pull out that Forbes afttcle and start my ad withsomethinglike the following: Headline:British Men HaveUnderwearProblem Subheadline: New surveyshowsthat manyBritish men do not changetheir underwear up to threedays.Someevenas long for as a week.
  • 60. Copy: Holy Odor Eaters!Has Britain got a problem.It seems that the men in Britain dont changetheir underwearoften and the sur- vey mentioned above shows that many men change their under- wear just once a week. But theresan important questionId like to ask you. How often do you changeyours?If youre like most Americans, you change them every day. And as an American, you probably use more detergentthan most Britains. But there is one more sur- prise that you may not realize either. Americans have a serious wasteproblem. Let me explain. I would then go on to explain how we waste our resources by not efficiently washing our clothes and that there was this product I discovered in England called Scrub Balls and how efficiently it cleaned your clothes with less water and laundry detersent. I could also use the same article to sell an electronic product simply by saying: Now you probably wonder what dirty British underwearhas to do with this new pocket-sized computer.Im glad you asked.It has nothing to do with it except for one important fact which I will reveal shortly. But first let me explain an unimportant fact. I would then go into the computer features, playing off British men, and I would use odor or smell to relate to some of the computer features. I would then come up with a computer feature at the end of the ad that would tie into the story. Sove Those Articles I reahzethat it may seema little far-fetched to sell a rower tied into an embezzlementstory or a computer using that Forbes article on Quest maga- zine started British underwearhabits. But the point I am making is simply their feature this: The use of an interestingarticle or bit of information,when story on tied into your product or service,often makesfor a good start to the cover to hook the the slipperyslide.And when blendednicely with your product,it readers and get can work to causea readerto readeverybit of your copy. So save them interested. those offbeat articles you come acrossthat tweak vour interest <).-
  • 61. and might interest your readers-regardless of how ridiculous oroffbeat they may be. Some magazines createthe slippery slide by simply startingout their stories with larger type to get you into the copy. Largertype is easierto read and so you tend to start reading the copywhich may seem less imposing. Quest/80 magazine (no longeraround) startedthe copy of an article on the front cover and thencontinued it inside the magazine to get you into their slipperyslide. Many articles written for magazinesuse similar graphicelementsto get you into their stories.Of course,the key is tomake the copy so compelling that once you start reading it, youcant put it down. And there are even more techniques create tothe slippery slide which I will cover later in this book. Youre now in store for some fun. For in the next few chap-ters, Im going to stretchyour imagination and then continuetobuild the foundationweve been building in SectionOne of thisbook. So stay with me as we cover the timely topic of AssumedConstraints. 53
  • 62. ChaptenAssumedConstraints $ Huu" you ever looked at a circuselephantanchoredto the ground? If you have, you might notice that the elephant has a metal collar aroundits leg to which is attacheda small chain.And the small chain is attachedto a small wooden peg driven into the ground. Pretty good protection? Pretty lousy, if you ask me. That 12,000-poundelephant could very easily pick up its foot and with one fell swoop, yank the peg out of the ground and walk away. But the elephant doesnt.Why? Ill explain. When that elephant was still a baby, that same collar and chain and peg were used to hold the elephant in place. The restraint was sufficient to hold the baby elephantin place even if it wanted to break away.And break away is indeedwhat the baby elephanttried to do. So every day while the baby was chainedup, it would pull at the chain and pull and pull until finally a cut appearedon its leg exposingthe sore sensitivelayers of deep skin tissue.It hurt to pull like that and soon the baby elephant, reahzing the effort was both futile and painful, stoppedtrying to escape. ElephonlsNever Forget As the baby elephant grew older, it never forgot that bad experiencewith the chain and the peg. And so whenever it was anchoreddown in a spot,it would think, "He], its impossibleto break away and besides, hurts." it The large elephanthad what I call an "assumedconstraint." And all of us have the sameproblem to one degreeor another.We all have the power to be greatcopywriters.But at one point in our lives, we may have written somethingand gotten a bad grade in English. Or we may haveattemptedto communicatesomethingin writing to somebodyelse and had a bad experienceas a result.As weve grown older, thosehurt feelings,the feelings of inadequacy and the wrong guidancewe may have receivedfrom teachersor
  • 63. friends are still in our subconscious and whether we want to admit it or not, they really do affect us. If you understand hurt and you understand the some of the constraintswe put upon ourselves,then you are better able to cope with breakingout of thoseassumed constraintsand becom- ing anything you want to be and accomplishinganything you want to accomplish.Let me cite someexamples. One of the best is the following nine-point puzzle. I gave this puzzle to my studentsas an example of an assumedcon- straint.The rules to solve this puzzle are very simple.You must draw four straight lines and connect all the points without taking your pen off the page.In short,all the lines haveto be connected. Pleasedo the puzzle beforereadingon. Most people who try to solve the puzzle make one fatal error and it is sim- o o o ply that they dont reahzethe constraint they subconsciouslyput upon them- selves.The solution is in Appendix A on page 263. Turn to it now for the answer. As you can see, you were con- o o O strained by the box surrounding the points and did not go out of the box in order to find the solution.Often, to solve that very important problem, youve got to go out of the problem area itself to o o o find the answer. A good example of assumedcon- See if you can straintswas my choice of mailing lists for my first direct mailing connect the dots when I sold the first pocket calculatorby mail. I had to select10 in this puzzle with mailing lists for my 50,000-piece mailing and I picked eight goodfour straight lines without taking lists that made a lot of sense me. toyour pen I selectedengineers, accountants and surveyorsfor example.ffi the paper. I selected wealthypeopleat their home addresses.chosethe mail I order buyersfrom a ceftain catalogthat sold similar products.But when it came to the last two lists, my list broker suggested the presidents corporations of with $20 million in salesor more. I thoughtthe ideareally didnt make sense. thoughtthat the I presidents thesecompanieswould be so busy that more than of likely they wouldnt even open their own mail and that some56
  • 64. secretarywould throw my mailing in the garbage.But I wentalong with the list broker and to my surprise,thoselists he sug-gested turned out to be the best ones, while the others reallvpulled poorly. I can point to hundredsof assumed constraintexamples thatI personallyexperienced: 1. "You cant sell your airplanefor over $190,000."I sold it for $240,000in ten days.2. "You cant sell a $600 pinball gamethroughthe mail." We soldover 3,000 of them.3. "consumers will rip you off if you let them buy using theircredit card over a toll-free line without having them sign any-thing." we launchedtoll-free order taking in the u.S. and werevery successfulwith very few problems before everybody elsecaughton.4. "This calculator isnt selling at all at rctarl. Its the biggestbomb in calculatorhistory.How are you going to sell it via mailorder?"We sold over 30,000of them at $59.95.5. "who would buy sunglasses throughthe mail? people needtotry them on first and besides,people buy different styles."wesold over 10 million pairs of the samestyle. or how about the following businessexamples of otherhistorical assumedconstraints :1. "There is no reasonanyonewould want a computer in theirhome." This was said by Ken olsen, president,chairman andfounder of Digital EquipmentCorp., in 1977 .2. "computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."This was quotedby Popular Mechanics magazine forecastingtherelentlessmarch of science 1949. in3. "The concept is interestingand well-formed, but in order toearn betterthan zC,the idea must be feasible." This was saidby a Yale University management professorin response Fred toSmiths paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service.Smith then went on to found FedEx. If youd like to read more examples assumed of constraints,look in Appendix A, which lists other historicalquotes.
  • 65. You Never Reolly Know I can give you dozensof examplesfrom history and from our company or from friends,but my point is simple.You never really know what will work or what wont. If you believein your idea, do it. Step out of thoseassumed constraints. This conceptalso appliesto coming up with marketingsolu- tions too. When thinking about a problem or looking for a solu- tion, dont rule anything out. Sometimes that big idea will come to you if you step out of the traps that we very often fall into. Rememberde Bonos conceptof lateralthinking, which is some- what the opposite of assumedconstraints.Step away from the problem, think of some possiblesituationsthat have nothing to do with the problem and guesswhat? Youll be amazedat how often you find a solution. As you proceedin this book, rememberthe baby elephant and the nine-point puzzle and break out of those assumedcon- straints. 7 Axiom When trying to solve problems, dont Assumeconstraints that arent really there. 58-
  • 66. |0Cfiapter Seedsof Curiositv W" have already learned thattraffic is a key word to anv retailer.A shoppingcenterthat increases traffic will generally see an increasein salesfor its stores. And sincethe traffic generated by thesestorescan only be comparedto getting a prospectinto your copy, you increase traffic by increasingreadership. One way to increase readership by applying a theory I call is "seeds of curiosity."It goeslike this. At the end of a paragraph, I will often put a very short sentence that offerssomereasonfor the readerto read the next paragraph. use sentences I such as: But theresmore. So readon. But I didnt stopthere. Let me explain. Now herecomes goodpart. the These seedsof curiosity causeyou to subconsciously con- tinue reading even though you might be at a point in the copy where the copy slows down. This concept is used a lot on TV before the show host goesto a commercial.She may say,"When we come back, well seesomethingthat youve neverseenon TV before. Stay tuned." Well, it should be done in print too. And hereswhy. (Noticehow I just usedit.) In print, the ideal situationis to createsuch interestingand compelling copy that you dont need the seedsof curiosity, but often that is very difficult. And using these seedsof curiosity enhances most copy. But like every good thing, dont overdo it. Later in this book I will be showingexamplesof seeds curios- of rty at work in many of my ads.Use them; they are very effective. But theresanotherexample. Seedsof curiosity can be used at the beginning of an ad where you mention somebenefit or payoff that you are going to reveal somewhere your copy. In short, the readerhas to read in the entire ad to find it. A good exampleof this techniquewas in our Consumers Hero ad mentionedin ChapterB. In that ad, you had to read the entire copy before you got to the punch line. s9
  • 67. A greatexampleof both seedsof curiosity and traffic is what happened me at my office. Its somethingthat Ive quite frankly to never experiencedagain but it is very relevantto this subject. A Very UnusuqlCqll I received a call one day from a very sensuoussounding young woman who called herselfGinger.She startedthe conver- "Mr. Sugarman, love you." I sationwith: I was a little taken abackand at first thought that this was a "I practicaljoke. "Thank you," I responded. love you too." "No, Im serious,"continuedthe woman. "Ive beenreading your advertisements the past five yearsand I love your mind, for I love your thought processand I love your creativepersonality. I really believe that I can tell a greatdeal about you from what you write and I really believein you and truly love you." I was surprisedand then flattered.Even before I receivedher call, I had gotten commentsfrom people who claimed that my personalityreally camethrough in my copy.And I believedit. If you are dishonest,it is sensedby the reader.If you are hiding somethingabout a product you are describing,it comes through.If youre very creative,it too is picked up. And it is the combination of all of theseimpressionsthat createsthe buying environmentthat we referred to in Chapter 6. If you study the copy of others,you can sense what they are like from their copy. Youll be amazedat how the copy reflects the personalityof the personwriting it. Any copywriter working for a CEO of a company will try and reflect the personalityof the CEO and not him- or herself.SinceIm the guy who writes all the copy,you can pretty well tell a lot aboutmy personality. But back to Ginger. An lnvifqtion I CouldnntRefuse Was Gingerjust flattering me or did she have an emotional attachmentto me personally without having met me-strictly from readingmy copy? She continued. "Mr. Sugarman, you are the only one who could help me. I need your help. Please,may I have an appointmentto see you, privately?I promiseyou that youll be very glad to seeme." When she arrived at my office I could see what she meant when she said that Id be slad to see her. She was a beautiful60
  • 68. blondewith long legs and a miniskirt so shortI was embarrassed to have her sit down. "Mr. Sugarman, may I call you Joe?" "Sure," I replied,looking away as she adjustedher skirt. "Joe, I want to be very frank with you. I haveadmiredyour copywriting for years.Im not eveninto electronicsand gadgets but I enjoy so much what you do in print that quite frankly I have a real emotional attachment you. I know this soundssilly but to when I got in trouble,I couldnt think of anybodyelsewho could help me but you. I really needyou." She pausedfor a moment as if to hold back tears.she then continued. "I run a beautyshopin a shoppingcenter.I know that when the shopping center is fuil, I get a percentageof that traffic and they buy my cosmetics. also know that when the shoppingcen- Iter is empty, I get a smaller number of people who .o-. to mystore.Its almost directly proportionalto the traffic in the shop_ping center. "So Joe, when I decidedto offer my cosmeticsin a directmailing, I thoughtthat if I sentout 50,000mailing pieces,I wouldget a certain percentage response of and I would make a profit.All I neededwas half a percentreturn rate to make a nice profit. "I then investedall the money I had to get this 50,000_piecemailing out. I borrowed from my friends.when I launched themailing, the resultswere so bad I couldnt believeit. I ended upwith one-tenthof what I needed breakeven.I needyou to look toover my mailing piece andjust tell me what went wrong with it.And Joe, if you could help me get it to work, Id be extremelvgrateful." JWhot Wqs Her Angle? was I being propositionedin return for my help? I won-dered.was this all a ploy or a guilt trip to get me to write her nextmailing piece? I was a happily married man with two childrenand quite busy running my own business. And quite frankly, Ididnt like the idea of somebodytrying to useguilt or sex or any-thing else to entice me to write copy or do a mailing piece. stillsomewhat reserved, said, "Show me the mailing pi"."., I Ginger reachedfor her purse,which was on the floor, and asshereached, sheexposed evenmore of her legs.I was convinced
  • 69. she was in my office to seduceme. No questionabout it now. I was convincedthat she was determined enticeme into writing to copy for her.But I wonderedhow far shewould go. I was soonto find out. She pulled out her mailing piece and handed it to me. I examined it for a few minutes, read the copy and studied the entire package.I also asked her which mailing list she used. "From the entire local areaservedby the beautyshop,"she said. I looked at the mailing and saw many problems. She was using a mail-in offer yet her mailing list was not orientedtoward mail order buyers-just the retail community-so it was no won- der her mailing didnt work. Even the copy in the letter was very poorly written. It was a horrible presentation. wasnt that it It looked bad, but it violatedmany of the principlesI discussin this book and somethat apply to direct mail. I told her the presenta- tion was not very good and that I wasnt surprisedthat the piece did so badly. You already know the principles on traffic. You already know from previousexamplesthat unlessthe recipientsread all of her copy, the mailing most likely wont work. Of course,she also usedthe wrong mailing list and that didnt help either. I Exploined the Problems After I explained to Ginger the problems with her mailing piece and mailing list, I brought out anothervery important fact about direct response advertising."You cant spendthat kind of money without testing.Thats one of your problemstoo. You just mailed to too big a list. You could have pickedjust 5,000 names and not 50,000namesfor your mailing. And then you would have known if the mailinq was successful without riskine too much money." I finishedtalking and therewas a shortpause. shelooked As straightinto my eyes,she said,"Can you help me? I mean really help me? Like write the copy for the mailing piece,help me pick the proper list and guide me as my mentor?" SinceI was a little turnedoff by Gingersuseof sex and guilt "Ginger,I really dont have to get me to do her piece,I responded, the time. Plus,I haveestablished seminarin the north woods of a WisconsinwhereI take20 peopleand teachthem as a group.I just dont havethe time to help you on an individual basis."62
  • 70. A Shock I Never Expecled What Ginger whisperedto me next took me totally by sur- prise. In fact, there have been very few times in my life when I havebeen at a completeloss for words. But wait. This is a book on copywriting and not about the secretgoings-on behind the doors of successfuldirect marketing executiveswho are per- ceived by beautiful cosmetic executivesas the answer to their Aw shucks,"youre probably saying."Why doesnt he dreams. finish the damn story and tell us what happened." OK, I will. But not here. I want you to continue uninter- rupted with my thought process on copywriting, so I have devoted Appendix B on page 265 to the rest of the story-an episodethat actually took place in my office and that could be part of a very steamynovel. Once you understand conceptof traffic in retailing and the how it relatesto direct marketing,then you should realize how important the slippery slide concept is in getting the reader to read the entire text of your ad. And one of the most powerful techniques keep your slippery slide greased the use of seeds to is of curiosity.Your readersmust get into your copy. They must read your headline and be so compelled to read further that they read your subheadline. Then they must be so moved that they readyour first sentence. And the rest of the copy must be so com- pelling that by the time your prospects read507aof your ad, they are helplesslycaughtin a slippery slide and cant escape. Once you understandthe slippery slide and the seedsof curiosity, you will have two of the most powerful copywriting tools you can use. . (lltiom I Keep the copy interesting and the reader interested through the power of curiosity. 63
  • 71. ||Cfiapten Emotion Up to now we have covered some general principles of copywriting. You learned that all the elementsof an advertise- ment are designedto get prospects read the first sentence to and we showed you how to get them to start reading your copy by creatinga very simple first sentence. And then we told you how important it is to get the secondsentenceread and the third and so forth. We mentioned nothing about benefits or features of a product becausethe sole purpose of the copy was to first get people to read the copy. The benefits come later. And then we covered the environment you create at the beginningof your copy.We explainedthe importanceof resonat- ing with your readerby getting the readerto say yes, believeyou or agreewith your assumptions. We expressed importanceof the reader slipping through the your copy as if on a slippery slide-reading the copy so they can traffic your ad-and we gave the example of Ginger and her failed mailing. And we just showedyou how seedsof curiosity work to keep the slippery slide fully greased. Mosf of My Concepl Youve Leqrned Armed with the aboveprinciples,you have a major portion of the overall philosophy of my copywriting concept.There are only a few more points to learn to have the complete foundation upon which you can build your skills and write greatcopy. I can still remember the first seminar when I taught these same philosophies.At the end of the course, a Texas farmer named Frank Schultz locked himself in a room at the nearby Holiday Inn motel and, inspiredby the seminar, wrote his first ad for the grapefruit he wanted to sell nationally in a print campaign in major magazines. His very first spacead was so powerful that it sold more fruit than he could pick and ship. He receivedlettersfrom other promi- nent copywriters congratulatinghim on his simple yet beautiful ad. Well study that ad later, but if knowledge of the principles I
  • 72. teach can make a Texas farmer a greatcopywriter, it can do the samefor you. Emotion in Adverfising And there are This chapteris about emotion in advertising. just threepoints to rememberabout the subject. Emotion Principle 1: Every word has an emotion associated with it and tells a story. Emotion Principle 2: Every good ad is an emotionaloutpour- ing of words, feelingsand impressions. Emotion Principle 3: You sell on emotion, but you justify a purchasewith logic. Lets take the last point first. Why do you think peoplebuy the Mercedes-Benz automobilein America? Is it because the of rack and pinion steering or the antilock braking system or the safety features?Other cars have the samefeatures,so why spend a fortune to buy one when, for a fraction of the cost of a Mercedes, you can get an American or Japanese or even a Volvo that has car many of the exact samefeatures? The answer:We buy on emotion and justify with logic. I know that when I first bought a Mercedesand my friends saw it, I told them that the reasonI bought it was because a seriesof of technicalfeaturesthat I found very impressive. The real reasonI bought the car was not for the technicalfeaturesat all. I wanted to own a prestigiouscar and belong to the crowd that drove a Mercedes. But when I had to explainthe reasonfor my purchase, I ended up using logic-something that I really believed was correctwhen I usedit. Mercedes Advertising Look at a Mercedes ad. Since the Mercedes advertising agency knows the real motivation behind the purchaseof their cars,they focuson the reasons peopleuseto justify their purchase. All their ads talk about the terrific drive you get or the technical featuresthat make the car a breed apart.In reality, featureby fea- ture, there is nothing so revolutionarythat it cant be duplicatedin a less expensivecar. The car is sold by virtue of its emotional appealand thenjustified in its advertising an appealto logic. by66
  • 73. D V Look at the emotion of a message conveyedin the form of asong.The music is like the vibration or that specialharmony thatyou work at creating in an advertising message.If the musicappealsto the audienceand their soul, they are really set up toreceivethe salesmessage-or in the caseof a song, the words,which incidentally also have an attachedemotion.A song is sim-ilar to an advertisement. Take a song and say the words without the music and it may 50s onThe Tonightsoundrather funny. SteveAllen back in theShow would recite the words of a number one hit song and get "Ooh pappadoo pappadoo pappawoo. Ilots of laughsreciting,love you. Ooh pappadoo da ditty." Without the music, the wordssoundedabsolutelyridiculous.Logic Often Doesnf Work In writing copy for an advertisement,often you get yourreaderin an emotional frame of mind as a result of the environ- ment you have created, and logic becomes less important. For "If example,Ive alwaysusedthe phrasenearthe end of my ads, you arent absolutely returnyour productwithin 30 days satisfied,for a prompt and courteousrefund." Who ever heard of a refund being courteous? doesnt matter.The emotion or the feel of that It phrasereally saysthat we area very respectfuland understanding company that will return your money very promptly. With very few words, I conveyedthe feeling of being a concernedcompany that acts promptly. And even though the phrasemakesno logical sense,it has been picked up by severaldirect marketersand used in their catalogsand print ads. Often, a phraseor sentence evena premisedoesnot have or to be correctlogically. As long as it conveysthe message emo- tionally, it not only does the job, but does it more effectively than the logical message. A good example of this was an ad I wrote for a device that had a breakthrough digital calculator display. The new display showedboth alphabeticaland numeric characters. And because it had such alargememory,you could useit to hold the phonenum- bers of your friends along with their names. At the time I had two competitors who got hold of the product first and came out with advertisements-both of which failed. There were severalreasonsthey failed, but one of the 67
  • 74. main reasons was the way they pitchedthe produgf-sn a logical level. They tried to explain what the term alphanumericmeant in a display and how much memory the unit had. The ad was filled with facts and logic and because was such a new break- it through product, you would think it would sell just based on logic. It didnt. On a lark, I decidedto sell a similar product myself in my catalog.Canon Corporationhad approached and told me that me if I took their product,they would give me an exclusivefor sev- eral months as long as I advertised nationally. it I first testedthe ad in my catalogand cameup with the head- line "PocketYellow Pages"with the subheadline being "Let your fingersdo the walking with Americas first pocketyellow pages." Now listen to the emotionalversionof the copy. Yourestuck. Youreat a phoneboothtryingto find a phone num- ber,andpeople waiting. are Youfeelthepressure. To the startled eyesof those around you,you pull out your calcu- lator,press few buttons, presto-the phonenumberappears a and on the displayof your calculator. dream? A Absolutely not. The EmofionolApproqch The ad was a terrific success. eventuallyplacedthe ad in We dozens of magazinesand while the other competitorsdropped out, we succeededhandsomely. But look at the emotional approachI used.There is nothing about the products technical advantages, nothing aboutthe powerful memory of the unit. I just knew the natureof the product and the personbuying this prod- uct. Each product has an inherentnature,and understanding that inherent nature will help you sell it. (I explainedthis partially when I talked about the Midex burglar alarm and the insurance salesman Chapter2, "Specific Knowledge,"and will explainit in in more detail later.) I rcahzedthat the product would appealto the gadget-motivated personwho would want to show it off to his or her friends.The ad copy reflectsthis specificknowledge. Later on in the ad I justified the purchasewith the facts and the technologybut not too deeply.The real motivation for people to buy this product was the emotional appealof the salesmessage. I was invited once to speakat New York University to a class on direct marketing.As I addressed the students copywriting, all on68 k
  • 75. I told them that if I was handeda product, showedit to the classand told the classto write an ad on the product,I would ventureto say that everyonein the classwould write a better ad than Iwould. I said, "Your grammar would be correct, your spellingwould be perfect and mine would be just horrible."Whqt Comes qfter the Firsf Drqft ls Whqf Counts But it is what I do after that first draft that makes my copysuccessful comparedto the rest of the class.I then went on toexplain the editing processand its importance.But the reason,Iexplained,for my ad appearingso poorly written in my first draftis because is simply an emotional outpouringof my thoughts iton the productand how I feel it shouldbe sold. It is a free release Iof my emotions. t 1 And as you write copy, keep this in mind. It makesabsolutelyno differencewhat your first draft looks like. If you ,can get all your feelings and emotionsabout the subjectout onpaperand work from there,you will have mastereda very impor-tant technique. il The final point on the emotion of copy relates to wordsthemselves.If you reahze that each word has an emotionattachedto it-almost like a short story unto itself-then you ilwill alsohavea very good understanding what emotionmeans of din the copywriting process. 1 Look at a drctionarynot as a collection of words but as a ,,collection of short stories.Websteronce was quoted as saying ll Ithat if you took every one of his possessions away and left him il lwith just his words,hed get all his possessions back.The power 1of words is enormous. t. IWords Hqve Strong Emolions Affqched What emotions do you feel when I mention the followingwords: Cleveland, rip-off, consumer, farmer, lawyer, Soviet?Clevelandmay haveevokeda little laughteras a placeyou mightnot considermoving to unlessyou live in Cleveland,and if youdo live there, pleaseaccept my apologies.Clevelandis a verynice city. But every country has a famous city that everybodymakes fun of. The RussiancomedianYakov Smirnoff once saidthat in Russiathey also haveone city that the Russiancomediansmake fun of. He savsit too is Cleveland. 69
  • 76. And then what do words like consumerand rip-off make you feel? The word farmer may not only remind you of what he does for a living but also bring to mind words likehonesty, integrity, earthy, hard-working. Think of all the feelingsthe word farmer conjures up, not only from your experiencebut from what you feel emotionally.The word Soviet soundsmore sinisterto me than Russian.What thoushtscome to mind with the word lawyer? When you analyze these words and see how you can use them to create a messagethat has emotional impact, then you have mastered importantlessonin writing copy. an Heres some copy I wrote that points out the emotional differences copy.Which soundsbetter? in Example1: The old womanin the motel. Example2: Thelittle old lady in thecottage. I was writing an ad on somerubbing oil I had discovered in Hawaii and describinghow I had discovered Example 1 was in it. my first draft but example 2 soundedmuch better. Im not suggesting that you materially changethe facts of a situationto suit an emotionalfeeling.In the abovecase,the motel office was in a small cottage,and the word cottage gave the copy a better emotionalfeel. What do you think? Do you "feel" the difference? Sometimeschanging a single word will increaseresponse in an ad. John Caples, the legendarydirect marketer,changed the word repantto the word fix and saw a 207o increasein response. Dont feel that you have to have a total command of the emotionalimpact of words to be a greatcopywriter.It takestest- ing and common sensemore than anything else. And knowing the emotional feel of words is like your generalknowledge-it comeswith time. It is enoughfor now that you reahzethe impor- tance of the emotional values in every word. As time goes on, you will feel this influenceplay a bigger and bigger role in your successful copywriting.70
  • 77. Ehaptet12 the Concept, Not the Product Selling Lets discussone of the most important and basic copy- writing principlesI teach.In fact, if you can understand and learn this single point, you will have mastereda major lessonin writ- ing good advertisingcopy.Axiom 0 Never sell a product or service.Always sell a concept. what do I mean by concept?There are many words that mean the samething. One day, for example,the hot buzzword in advertisingmight be positioning. A product is positioned or placedin such a way as to appealto the consumer. Other terms commonly used are Big Idea,, or ,USp (unique selling proposition),maybe even gimmick. whatever its called, it meansbasically the samething. you sell the srzzle and not the steak-the conceptand not the product. The only exceptionto this rule is when the product is so unique or new that the product itself becomesthe concept.Take the digital watch for example.When the watchesfirst cameout, I could hardly keep them in stock. When I first announced them, my main thrust was to explain the various features,which were all new, and thenjust take orders. But as the digital watchesbecameplentiful and everybody understoodwhat they did and how they worked, each ad had to differentiatethe featuresof the watch through a unique concept. For example, the worlds thinnest digital watch or one with a built-in alarm or one with the most expensiveband, or the one with the finest quality, or even one that requireda laser beam in its manufacturing process-all were differentconcepts.Concepts startedselling watches;the product was no longer the concept. Another exampleis the Pocket CB. It had its conceptright there in the headline.There were walkie-talkiesand there were mobile CB units, but we had the first pocket CB. And it was the nameitself that expressed concept. the In fact, I rememberreceiving a personalcall from Marlon
  • 78. Brando. He wanted more information on the Pocket CB and was only about five miles away in the Chicago suburbof Libertyville "Pick one up for free, if youd like," where his sisterhad a farm. I said. "I think our staff would really appreciatemeeting you." But Brando wantedhis privacy and never showedup. Or take the exampleof the PocketYellow PagesI referredto in the previouschapter. Doesnt that nameexpress everythingyou really needto know about the product in a simple concept?In that ad I didnt sell the product,but rather the conceptof standingin a phone booth and pulling out an electronic directory to the surpriseand delight of thosearoundyou. Another example was a smoke detector I was selling. Insteadof selling it as a smoke detector,the headlinescreamed, "sss"-a product that just sat on your ceiling and sniffed the air. It sold quite well. Combining Producfs info Concepls Sometimesthe concept naturally comes from the product and other times the concept can be created.I remember once running severalproductsin my catalog without much copy and discoveringtwo that sold quite well. Rather than run them as separate productsin full-page ads,I decidedto run them together in one full-page ad as a concept. The two products were a miniature travel alarm and a chess computer.But rather than develop a conceptfor each,I wrote the headline"Winners" and told how both productswere the top-sell- ing productsin our recentcatalog.The headlineput both products under a single conceptand made them both winners while draw- ing attentionto our catalog. Sales continued briskly with the chess computer in 1918 when I received a call from the company in Hong Kong from oJoe," whom we were importing the product. saidmy friend Peter Auge, the man in Hong Kong supplying me with the computer, "I think I can get Anatoli Karpov, the Soviet chesschampion, to endorseour chess computer.Im friends with him through a contact in Russia and it might make the chesscomputer sell better." Indeedit would, I thought,but lets come up with a concept using Karpov-not as a personwho will endorsethe productbut as somebody whom we can challenge to play our unit. And72
  • 79. indeed, thats what we did. Our first major ad with Karpovs "sovietname appeared with the headline Challenge." Subheadline: Can an American chesscomputerbeat the Soviet chesschampion?A confrontationbetweenAmerican space-age technologyand a Soviet psychologicalweapon. Copy: The Soviet Union regards chess as a psychological weapon,not just a game.It is a symbol of Communismscultural strugglewith the West. So when RussianAnatoli Karpov competedagainstthe Russian defector Victor Korchnoi, he had the entire Soviet Unions re- sourcesat his disposal,including a hypnotistand neuro-psychol- ogist. Karpov won. And with it the worlds undisputedchesschampi- onship. Karpov, however,has never confrontedAmerican space- age technologyand in particularJS&A s new chesscomputer. Of course the copy continued to talk about the challenge wewere making against Karpov. That was the concept. We werentselling chess computers. We were selling the challenge againstthe Russian champion and as a consequence selling chess com-puters. It was taking a very staid product and giving the entirepromotion a more emotional appeal. Then the ad went on to explain how the unit worked, itsfeatures and ended with the challenge to Karpov. The ad had some pretty effective copy. And Ive reproducedit in Appendix E at the end of the book. Read it. Its a lot of fun.Sovief Inlrigue I was sitting in my office as the ad was breaking throughoutthe United Stateswhen I receivedan urgent telegramfrom over- "Iseas.Opening it up, I saw right away it was from Karpov. amgoing to sue you for using me in your advertisingwithout per-mission." Signed:Anatoli KarPov. I was told that I had permissionto use his name by myfriend Peter,who said, in fact, that he would be sendingme theendorsement contract and that I should go aheadand run the ad.So I did, thinking all was OK. What to do. Simple. I could just see my next headline:"soviet Union SuesJS&A" or maybe "Little JS&A AttackedbySoviets."What a greatconcept.But before I could sit down andwrite it, my friend Petercalled and advisedme that he had gotten 73
  • 80. a copy of the telegram too and that everything had been worked out with Karpovs agent and there was nothing to worry about. Karpov would endorsethe chesscomputerand I could continue my ad campaign. I then sat down and wrote the third ad in the series,entitled "Karpov Accepts," which talked about the challenge made to Karpov and how he then decided that for whatever reason, he didnt want to play the chesscomputeras part of the challenge. Insteadhe could just endorseit and hope that many Americans would learn to improve their chessgame on it. Concept Selling Does Well All threeadsdid very well and over 20,000chesscomputers were sold. And all three had different conceptsassociated with them. Meanwhile, my competitionwas out there in force trying to sell their chess computersbut not succeedingbecausethey were selling chesscomputers and not SovietChallenges and Kar- pov Accepts-all conceptadvertising. If your advertisingjust sells the product, be careful. you needa concept.If youve come up with a unique concept,fantas- tic. Youll do much better. Price Cqn Also Affect Concept sometimessimply changingthe price of a product can dra- matically alter its concept.For example,when we were offering our Pocket CB at $39.95 it came acrossas a seriouselectronic product similar to a full-sized CB radio. When we droppedthe price to $29.95 it becamemore of a sophisticated walkie-talkie. And finally when we dropped the price to $ 19.95, the product was perceivedas a toy-all this despitethe fact that the copy in the ad was pretty much the same. Finding the conceptis often not easy.It takesall the skills of a conceptualthinker to come up with the right idea and the right position. One of my favorite advertisements really captured that the essence this chapterwas an ad I once read from the Leo of Burnett ad agency.It was a full-page ad that appeared Adver- rn tising Age magazineand is reproducedon the next page. 74-
  • 81. Tcudorp The first job of an ad agencyis to look at yourproduct in every imaginable way: frontwards,back-wards, sideways,upside down, inside out. Becausesomewhere, right there in the product itself, lies thedramathat will sell it to peoplewho want it. There may be 10,000ways to bring that inherent "me-dramato the stage. And given a world in whichtoo" productsmultiply like mayflies, the drama mayseemthat much harderto find. It is. But every good product has it. And every good agencyfinds it. (Please "t" in tcudorp is silent.) note: The Its so true. Every product has that unique selling proposi-tion that makesit standout from the rest.And it is indeedup toyou, the copywriter,to reahzethis fact and discovereachprod-ucts uniqueness. you do, the simple positioning of a product Ifand the developing of a concept can be so powerful that it canmake the differencebetweena huge success and a loser. In the next chapter,youll discover how to come up withthat greatidea as we study the incubationprocess. 75
  • 82. |3ChaptenThe Incubation Process It, firr" to read about the real secretsof copywriting but lets get serious.One of thesedaysyoure going to haveto imple- ment what youve learnedand start writing copy.What are some of the mental stepsrequired to write copy in generaland how do you go about writing effective copy? Lets establisha few things that you havelearnedalreadyin this book and then take everything a step further. As you recall, I referred to general knowledge-the knowledge you have picked up simply by living-and spe- cific knowledge-the knowledge you learned while studying the specific product you want to write copy about. Assumeyou are now an expert on a partic- ular product and you are ready to start writing. The first thing I would do is go over all the mate- rial you have on your subject and give a great deal of thought to what you have just read and studied. Do plenty of thinking about what you want to write. You may jot someheadlines down and some of the copy points you would like to I/M sORRY, CANNOT MR.6U6ARMAN T - HEE bring out. You might list thosepoints which best DI5TUROEP INCU6ATII{6 NOUJ. RqHT describethe natureof the product you are selling Take a break and you might like to list some of the strong reasonsthat yourfrom your work and product would appealto your customers.Put all your thoughts do something down on paper.But keep in mind, you have not yet startedtopleasurable while your write the copy.This is just preparation. brain Or dont put a thing on paper and just think through every- incubates. thing you know about the challenge you have to solve through copy. You might even visualize the end result of your work. Maybe its imagining that a stack of mail has arrived showing what a greatresponse you received. Maybe its your bosscoming up to you and patting you on the back for a job well done. Once 77
  • 83. youve done all that, do somethingthat may seemstrangeto you at first. Stop. Thats right, stop. Go on and do something else. Forget aboutthe project.Do something pleasurable-a stroll in the park, a walk down the streetor lunch with a good friend. Whateveryou do, let it be a total diversionfrom what you are currently work- ing on, and pleasedont eventhink of the copy project. whether you realize rt or not, you are actually working on the ad constantlyeven though youve put it out of your mind. Your subconscious mind is actuallyprocessing everythingyouve learned-all of that data that you have accumulatedin general and all of the information in particular.And your mind is then taking all of that data and running it through everythingyou know about copywriting and communications, mentally preparingthe first versionof your ad copy. It is taking this information and working throughthe millions of permutations possibleto comeup with the bestsolutionto your marketingproblem.And youre doing absolutely nothing aboutit. Youre just out having a good time while your brain is working llke crazy.And ironically, if you start thinking about your project again,it intemrptsthis processand the resultswont be as good. This entire subconscious activity is called the incubationprocess, and the time you are giving to it is called the incubationperiod. Your subconscious processing is millions of bits of data like a computerin your brain running a very important program in the background.Then, while youre taking a walk or standing in a shower or even daydreaming,suddenly that big idea will flash acrossyour mind. Eureka.Then go to your desk and start writing down someof that good stuff your mind hascreatedand organtzed for you. Your Mind ls Alwqys Working sure, you might think you can eliminate the incubation period.You never do. Even when the pressureof deadlinespre- vents me from taking the luxury of time to incubate,Im still incubatingbut at a much more rapid speed.The resultsmay not be as good, however.The time pressure only increases incu- the bation processand speedsup the assimilationof data in your brain. If you havethe luxury, your copywriting and what you pro- duce will improve if you balancethe pressureof deadlineswith 78Z
  • 84. time away from the project. This could also mean working onone project, then going to another and then coming back to thefirst one. This is anotherway of allowing you the luxury of hav-ing your subconscious mind work on a project while you dosomethingelse. The incubationprocess actuallyworks bestwith pressure. Ifyou have no pressure,your brain will not work as fast or as effi-ciently. So it is a balanceof variouspressures that producestheoptimum results. What causespressure? We already know that time causespressurebut there are other factors as well. Ego for example. Ifyou have a big ego, it createsa certain amountof pressure. Thispressurecan be very positive in the incubation process.Forexample,your bossexpectsyou to producesomeknockout copyand your ego wont let you disappointher.Youve addedto theincubation pressure. Your creative orientationplays a role too.For example, if you are naturally creative,you have a big advan- tageover someonewho is not. And finally, the environmentplaysa role. If you are in a creativeenvironmentwhich encouragesthoseincubationactivitiesrequiredin the creativeprocess, will ithelp the incubationprocessalong.Just Allow ll to Hoppen "See,Joe Now dont show this chapterto your bossand say,Sugarman walk in the park on com- tells me to take a pleasurablepany time and enjoy myself while my brain incubates."Thatsnonsense and not the purposeof this chapter.In this chapter,Ijust want you to reahzethat there is a constantprocessgoing onin the backgroundof your brain. And with the proper balance,you can create blockbuster copy by allowing the incubationprocessto function. The biggest mistake a managercan make in a mail ordercompany is to have the creativedepartmentin the samebuilding as any other departmentin the company.Imagine the operations peoplewalking in to seethe creativepeopleincubating-staring "Those into spaceor taking a long break with one of their peers. privileged bastards in creative really get away with murder" would be a typical comment. But the creative departmentneeds that atmosphere order to function to its optimum. in If managementimposed the same rules on the creative 79
  • 85. departmentas on the rest of the staff who have to function on a consciouslevel during theirjobs, the end resultwould be a sure drop in good creative work. Its important to keep the creative staff separatefrom the rest of a companybecause copywriter the needsa little more freedomto incubateand create. When it comes time to sit down and knock out that copy, disciplinecomesinto play.Youve got to let that copy come pour- ing out of your brain, forgetting about spelling and grammar. Remember,your mind takes the data youve accumulatedand runs it through everything you know about copywriting, commu- nicationsand life in general.Well, hold back the stuff on spelling and grammar just long enoughto let the copy flow out freely. left Brqin vs. Righf Brqin If youre knowledgeableabout writing and creativethink- ing, you know that there has been much said about the different hemispheres our brainscontrolling differenttypes of thinking. of The right brain does the intuitive or emotional thinking and the left brain does the logical. Which side of the brain should write the copy?The right brain of course.Let the copy flow out of that right brain and let it pour out unencumberedby any left-brain restraints. The pouring out of that copy or idea is the culminationof the incubationprocess.It is the end result of all the mental activity that has beenrunning in the background. And so, the axiom that I suggest you rememberis as follows:Axiom l0 The incubation process is the power of your subconsciousmind to use all your knowledge and experiencesto solve a specific problem, and its efficiency is dictated by time, creative orienta- tion, environment and ego. If youve gone through the incubationprocessand then put your thoughtson paper,youve accomplished half the challenge of writing good copy. Next comes the fun part-the editing process.Well have to wait for that processin later chaptersof this book. Now that you are mentally preparedto tackle the copy- writing process,its time to decide how much copy you should actually write.80
  • 86. 14GhaptenHow Much Copy Should You Write? Incubate, slipperyslide, seeds curiosity-all may be neat of concepts, often at my seminars questionwould come up: but the Do people read all the copy in your ads?Studentsof direct mar- keting learn that there is no such thing as copy that is too long. And there is some truth to this. The key is simply this: Copy is nevertoo long if the reader takesthe actionyou request. Therefore,it cant be dull, it must be compelling,it must relateto the readerand, finally, its got to be about somethingthe readeris interestedin. What were talking about here is the slippery slide concept. The copy must be so compelling that it will be read from the beginning to the end. Everything else is secondary. you dont If write compellingcopy,you11 neverget the readerto readthe part of the copy that sells your product. Will people read long copy? Let me answer the question in a different way by having you go through a little experiment.On the following lines I want you to fill in the blanks of a headline for an article as I direct vou. Headline: (Your Last Name) family chosen as heirs of multi-million-dollar fortune. Familv who hves on (Your Street) in (Your City) was willed millions of dollars by an person. anonymous If you saw that headlinein your local newspaper, would you read the first sentence? courseyou would. Lets say the copy Of read as follows: Wow,whata score How wouldyou like to inheritmillionsof dol- ! you larsfrom somebody dont evenknow? Well, thats what happenedto (Your Full Name), who has yet to be found but who might have fallen into one of the greatest fortunes ever received from somebody who remains unknown. 81
  • 87. of course you would read the entire 3,000-word article. After all, the article is talking about you. You are involved, you relateto what is being written in a very intenseway and its both informative and interesting,to you in particular. And thats my point aboutlong copy.If the copy doesall the things Ive just described, readerwill be intenselyinterested the in it and will read it all-maybe not with the intensity of some- body who just won millions of dollars,but with an intensity that could come very closeif your copy is effective. lnfense lnteresf Im writing this book on a Macintoshcomputer. shorttime A ago while I was masteringmy word processing program and had an intenseinterestin this computer,I would read anythingon the Macintosh.And I would read an entire article or advertisement if it was on the subjectI was interested Later,as I mastered in. what I had to learn, the information was not as interestingto me and I did not seekit out with the sameintensity This is also true about prod-BEWITH YOU ucts. When digital watchesfirst ap-IN A MINUTE, peared, my customers were veryl10N6Y,tn4Arfvl06T intenseaboutbuying them.And theyFIN IS HE O bought them in droves. They readRADNAfiIs every word of my copy.It was infor-J51AA0lN,fiYMAqAZINE. mative,helpful, it involved them and they readthe adswith interest. When the market for digital watchesdete-If the copy isinteresting, riorated and the fad was over. mvthe reader will customers were not as intenseaboutthe product categoryand wentread it all. on to other things.Thereforereadership dropped. Copy will be read if it is interesting to the reader.I can rememberwhen I would visit the car showroomsin the50s looking at new cars with their huge tail fins and sleek new designs.Ads would talk about rack and pinion steering and I often wonderedwhat that meant.All that the copy would do is go into the emotionalfeel of driving the car, which is good emo- tional copy but didnt really tell me enough.And when some- thing doesnt tell you enough,it will causeyou to go to the showroomand ask questions, which is maybewhat the car com- panieswant you to do.82
  • 88. D V But often the salesmen didnt know much either.Rack andpinion steeringwas foreign even to them. I learneda lessonfrom those visits to car showrooms. Youcant tell the prospectenough about a subjecthe or she is trulyinterested And so it is with copywriting.Peoplewill readwith in.a high degreeof intensity if you are talking about somethingtheyare genuinelyor passionately interested in.Long Enough but Shorf Enough Back in the days when copywriterswere mostly men, there "Copy is like a womanswas an old adageabout copy length:skirt. It should be long enoughto cover the essentials short butenoughto make it interesting." Lets use the same example of the salesperson visiting aprospectthat we used earlier in this book on page 35. But thistime, the salesperson appears the appointmentand the prospect forexplains that he cant meet for 45 minutes becausehe is in themiddle of a budget session.Could the salesperson make the pre-sentation 15in minutes?What would you do? A good salesperson would make a new appointment.If thesalespresentationtakes an hour, then it should be an hour long.Not more and not 15 minutes.And so it is with copy.Dependingon how long your salespitch is, the copy shouldcover the amountof time you needto createthe selling environment,developinter-est in the product,relateto the prospectsneedsand make the sale. The copy has to be long enough to tell the entire story ormake the entire salespitch. No longer and no shorter.Of coursethere are certain practical limits, but even these can be broken.When Gary Halbert, one of the greatmail order copywriters,waslooking for a girlfriend, he ran a full-page 3,000-wordpersonalad in a local Los Angelesnewspaper. was delugedwith poten- Hetial dates. And when Richard DelGaudio wanted a personalassistant to help him run his fund-raisingcompany,he ran a 4,000-word want ad that pulled in more qualified respondents than he was able to interview.The long-Copy Approoch There really is no limit to how long copy should be if youget results.For example,rf a good salesperson made his or her 83
  • 89. pitch in 10 minutes and sold a prospecton purchasinga $19.95 household gadgetand anothersalesperson selling a million-dollar high-speedprinting press took severalmonths to consummate a sale, then who would be the better salesperson? There is, of course,no answer.Both could be great or both could be lousy. why then should there be such controversyover copy length?If, as I hope you believe by now, selling in print is very similar to selling in person,then shouldnt the samerules apply? So lets take a moment and look at two factorsthat increase the needfor a lot of copy. Price Point: The higher the price point, the more copy requiredto justify the price or createthe need.This is a general rule unlessthe price point is perceivedto be a tremendous value (then lesscopy may be required)or the lower price point appears to lack credibility (then more copy is required).More copy will allow you to increase value of a product and add many more the dollars to your retail price. In short, by educatingthe consumer you can demandmore money for your product. unusual ltem: The more unusualthe product,the more you needto relatethat product to the user and the more youve got to focus on creating the buying environment and explaining the productsnew features. retail, generally,this type of item will At not sell. Mail order is the perfect method to use when you have the right amount of copy. In conclusion,therearetwo basicreasons using the long- for copy approach. The first is to allow you to createan environment that will place your prospectin the proper buying mood, and the secondis to give you the time necessary tell the full storv of to your product. Shorf Copy Works Too Robert scott of ScottcadeLtd., an English mail order com- pany,cameto my seminarand told me that his approachbroke all of my rules. His catalogcopy was very short, yet he still sold a lot of merchandise. But his catalogreally appeared follow my rules.First, he to createdhis environmentthrough photography.The productswere placed in elegant settingsusing fine photography.Second,his prices were very low comparedto other companiesor retailers. Since he was offering his productsat such low prices and since 84-
  • 90. D V his environmentwas so effective in placing the customerin a buying mood, a lot of what normally would have been done in copy was being done visually and throughthe price points of his products.Then too, his medium was a catalog,and in catalogs long copy is often not required.The catalogcreates environ- the ment, thus savingyou the time of creatingit with copy. I am not trying to sell you on using long copy. I use short copy at times and sometimesvery short indeed. But the short copy I use is usually all that is requiredand the price points are low enoughthat the short copy doesthe job. In fact, I am not for long or short. Im for causingthe prospectto exchangehis or her hard-earnedmoney for your product or service, and quite frankly, copy length has alwaysbeenjust one of severalconsid- erationsin producing an advertisement. So the axiom to rememberfrom this chapteris simply: ||Axiom Copy should be long enough to cause the reader to take the action you request. Do people read all that copy? Some do. And there are enough of them who do to have earned me and several other copywritersa nice living. { t lu i { tr rt t 85
  • 91. |5GhaptenThe Art of Personal Communication If you have read the chaptersof this book in sequence, you are building a good foundation to understandand learn copywriting. This chapterbuilds upon the knowledgethat took me several years of copywriting to really understand and learn. Learning it wasnt difficult, but understanding why it was so important took a little longer. One of the things that ads should do is harmonizewith the readeror viewer.Advertisingis the ultimate form of communica- tion in that its purposeis to causean action to be taken by con- sumers-usually to exchange their hard-earnedmoney for aEvery advertise- product or service. But for some reason,many advertisersarementshould be q missing an important key in this form of communication-personal message namely,it shouldbe personal.from the adver- tiser to the As a good exampleof personalcommuni-prospect. cations, lets first cover direct mail. In direct mail, personal communication easyto under- is stand.After all, you are writing a letter to a single individual. But in creatingthe letter that goes with a mailing, too many copywriterswrite their let- ters as if they were hiding behind a podium, speakingthrougha microphoneand addressing a large audience. For example: We at ABC Companywish to invite all of you to visit our exhibit again at the upcomingtrade show.Our staff will be thereto meet you and demonstrate new and novel button machine. our The personal way of saying it might be: Hi. You might rememberme from the last trade show.Well, Id like to invite you to the next one where I will be looking forward to meeting you again to demonstrate our new and novel button machine. 87
  • 92. You seethe difference? The secondversionis more personal and direct. It is me talking to you-not me talking to a large crowd. It is as if I, as an individual, were writing that letter to anotherindividual. Now, in direct mail this makes sense. Why not make your letters more personaland diresf-rns1e like one persontalking to anotherin a direct and eyeball-to-eyeball sort of folksy way? of course,folksy might not be the bestway in certaincircumstances. ThatsOK. As long asyou usewordslike I, youand me, you createthe feel of a personalform of communication. Emolionql Processin Communicotion Remember I said earlier that copywriting is an emotional outpouringof an idea onto paper.And I said that copywriting is very much an emotionalprocess. Look at the following two let- ters from the samecompany and seehow much more emotional one soundsthan the other. DearCustomer: hereat Consolidated We Internationalwouldlike to thankyou for your recentorder. realizethatyou couldhave We givenyourbusiness manyof theothercompanies our indus- to in try, but thefactthatyou choseConsolidated International really is appreciated our entirestaff.Thankyou very much.Sincerely, by Mr. JohnSmith. Now compareit to the following: DearMr. Jones: just wantedto thankyou personally your I for recent order,whichIve just received. took your orderandeven I showed to the president our company. rearrze you had it of I that a numberof otherchoices, I reallyappreciate fact thatyou but the chose company. my Sincerely,JohnLee. Both letters would have servedthe same purpose.But the second letter was warmer, more personal and you felt that Mr. Lee was talking to you directly.Indeed,he was happy to get your 61ds1-so happy that he went to his president and showed it to him. It was a genuine expressionof thanks and a direct mes- sage-all with genuineemotion. on the other hand, the letter from Mr. Smith could have been a form letter that the company sendsto all its customers, thereby losing the personalfeeling that Mr. Lees letter had. It lacked the warmth and personaltouch. The difference should be88
  • 93. obvious. Read both letters again, and this time feel the differ-ence.Put yourself in the place of Mr. Jonesand imagine how hewould have felt if he had receivedboth letters.Letters Should Be Personol Good examples a personalletter were the lettersI usedto ofsendout to a membershipprogram in my Consumers Hero club.They may havebeen totally off the wall, but they servedmy pur-poseswell. The membershipprogram was createdin responseto ouradvertisement our discountclub in which we refurbished for newbut defective products and then sold them, at discount prices,through a club we established. Part of the club program was our regular monthly bulletin.It listed all the buys for that month and along with it came a veryfolksy letter talking about the club. The image I conveyedwas not that of a very large, imper-sonal corporation filling the needs of its membershipbut thatof a bunch of hard-working people, of all ethnic backgrounds,working togetherin harmony to make the companya success. The companyhad to be portrayedas being small. That wasessential the concept.After all, that was part of the image- fora little consumer-oriented companyfighting the big U.S. corpo-rations and the effectsof inflation. And one of the techniqueswe used to keep the image of asmall companywas to useold envelopes from companies that hadgone out of business. We simply explainedthat the envelopeswere no longer good and it was our way of savingmoney as wellas the environment and passingthe savingson to the consumer. So in one month, membersmight get an envelopefrom SkiLift International, a defunct company, and the next month theymight get a letter from CMT Machine Tool Company,anotherdefunct company,but the contentsof the envelopewere alwaysfrom Consumers Hero. As membershipcards, we sent out Batman credit cards.(There is a whole story on that card, but thats for some otherbook I plan to write.) And one of the qualitieswe tried to conveywas absolutetotal honesty.We were so honest that the readerwould actuallybe embarrassed us. The typical letter is on the forfollowing page. 89
  • 94. A D V E R T I S I N G S E C R E T S fffiil$UilT.ER$ rs&A rhree Praza, rrr Nortirbrook.60062i3r2i561e000 HEnGl Dear Menber: Enclosed are rtie latest bullet.ins on our Consumers Hero Prograat. join our group. The first j-s Panasonic and the Two new compar:ies now second is Mcllrar,r Edison**both highly respected and well established cornpanies. I.ie vJirnt to thank many of vou for the very nice letters 1ie receive about our elfo::ts- lJe appreclate receiving those very much. The other day, we received the following letter from a Mr- lt. I. in ()lastonburg, "I disenchanted in your Consur0ers Cr. It read, anl lhoroughly Hero girnnrick. I sent in $5 in the tloPe lhat your offer r,rould be worthwhile. To date I have received only one bulletin which offered rebullt items for more than I r,rould pay at most discorult stores. If any iEem Lras less ic was just plain junk. You did not, llve up to your pr:omises. Tlrcrefore I an returning your silly Balaan card and please leturrr ny $5." Im truly sorry that ili, R. I, feels this waY about our company. trJe artr lirowing and we vil1 be offering many nol:e products from many more different companies but in lhe meantime we must work very llard to attract all these new offers tllat are finally sttrrtirlg to come our way. ?lease bear with us as we arc trying our best. We try Lo lnsist thal these manufaeturers keep their prlces as lor.r as possible aild we wj-Il continuc Eo put pressure on them t o - l- rr a . . e- ,t ,r-! ^ | - i .ts 5 c + hl -c h . F . , .- r. ri i-l-S d - A Ll udrE .ru F l- u .r r. y r . h-- .. :- .r. *. st of them are Lrredr and althougti r.re disagree rvith l{r. R. F. ve respect his opinion. IJe are pleased to announce the addition of lJennis Delaney who joins our staff to assisf us in stuffing envelopes. Dennjs is a stuclent at our loeal high school and is ort the foocball Leam and has worked olr the school paper. His trobbies are skin diving, waterskiing and photography. Itrs rather difficult keeping our staff LogeEh€r" BeEty Jane IIill-iarns has decided ro movc to I-os Angeles vith her* boyfriend. Sho vril1 be missed as she always added a bit. of sunshine whenewet shr- shorved up for vork. In the next mailiug we hope to :Ldd a few more brjlletins lrom some new companies so ttrank yorr all. vel]Y much fcr ytlrr paltience and understanding. r-s cven if his lecLer was nor very I,Ie even appreciate Mr. R" I?. letrer complj.mentary. we promise to cotrf-inue to do our best S in.cerely, CONSLNfiITS }IERO , /t^- / Tnut4friffs Your: iieros The very down-to- Your U_e.los: earth and personal Cindy Donner John Handmeister ]le-nnj-s lferrins Burt ]lertz ll:rti l)orothv rinkowski lloug Ramis Venlurini Ietter sent to All-an l1j.lnik Dennis 1)elaney ConsumersHero members. Even though the letterswere from the staff as opposed an to individual, they still conveyeda personalfeel to the reader. And werent they fun to read?We often got commentsthat the letters alone were worth the price of the membership. In print ads,the needto be personalbecomesless apparent. After all, you are talking to the masses, arent you? But the fact remainsthat you are indeed talking to a single individual-that 90-
  • 95. person reading your ad. And he or she is listening to a singleindividual-the personwho wrote the ad. So it is essentialthatyou write your copy as if you are writing to that single individ-ual. Your copy shouldbe very personal. From me to you. Period.Use of o Byline An effective way to do this in print is to use a byline. Useyour name or the name of somebody in your otganrzation suchas the president-like the news organizations do in a magazine Ior newspaper article. This allows you to use words like andme we you. and and Lets look at the example of the ad Ifirst ran for BluBlocker sunglassesthat launched a multi-milliondollar company. Headline: Vision Breakthrough Subheadline: When I put on the pair of glasseswhat I saw I could not believe.Nor will you. Byline: By JosephSugarman Copy: I am about to tell you a true story.If you believeme, you will be well rewarded.If you dont believe me, I will make it worth your while to changeyour mind. Let me explain. Read that personal copy. Its as if I were talking to that per- I you me-allson directly. I used the words and and verypersonal words used in a one-to-one conversation. Lets examinethe first paragraph of copy from a few other ads that were writ-ten in this personal tone. This may surpriseyou. In fact, if my hunchesare conect simply readingthis article may changeyour idea of aging for the rest of your life. Heres why.Or how about the following: If I were to buy a ticket in the Illinois StateLottery, my chances of winning would be a million to one. But if I were to bet that you, as a readerof this publication,havehigh blood pressure and dont even know it. mv chancesof beins coffect would be eisht to one. The above paragraphs show how very personal you can getin copy and still convey a very powerful thought or develop theenvironment and slippery slide you need to cause your reader tocontinue reading and then respond.
  • 96. When I startedwriting, I kept a low profile and never used my name in any advertisingcommunications. But as I became more proficient and saw the effect a personalmessage could cre- ate in direct mail, I startedusing my byline in print on a regular basis.In my catalog,I could speakin the first personaboutall the products becauseon the first page of the catalog, I introduced myself in a letter to my customers. Even Mogozines Hqve Personqlities I rememberreading a story about the image conveyedby the magazine itself. Forbes magazine has a strong personality. SteveForbesnow runs the publicationand his editorialsappearin every issue.A reader feels more personally involved with the publication.On the other hand,BusinessWeekappears more like a corporatepublicationeventhough it has many bylines.A busi- nesswoman once commentedthat shecould put her arms around Forbes and hug the magazine but would only feel comfortable shakingBusinessWeeks hand. So it is with copywriting. You want to create a very personal image so that people will emotionally respondto you, feel close and feel very com- fortable taking their hard-earnedmoney and buying your prod- uct or service. 12Axiom Every communication should be a personal one,from the writer to the recipient, regardless of the medium used. So as you start to write copy to reach and motivatean indi- vidual, think in termsof writing in the first personwith a personal message. You are now ready to write that first ad. Everything youve read has preparedyou for this moment and everythingthat you are going to learn later in this book will only polish what you already know. True, youre also going to get a whole bunch of new insightstoo. But right now youre ready for the big plunge. In the next chapter,we discusswriting your first ad using my techniques and thought processes.92
  • 97. |$Chapten Sequence Yo, are now really ready to write that first successfulad. You already know how important it is to know your subject.You already know the purpose of all the elementsin an advertise- ment-to get the prospect to read the first sentence. And you know all the axioms to get the reader to read beyond the first sentence and all the way to your last word. Copy must also flow. And its flow must make sense. must It be in an understandable order where eachthought flows logically to the next. Ive had many people tell me that when a questioncomes into their minds as they read my ads,I answerit in the next sen- tence.They often claim that its almost uncanny.But thats the skill that makesthe good direct-response copywriter the envy of any one-on-one salesperson. Leqding the Reoder Since we copywritersdo not have the benefit of having the prospectin front of us to ask the questions, must craft our ads we in such a mannerthat they literally lead our prospect(by the flow of the copy) to ask the questionwe want to answer.Soundshard, doesntit? It really isnt. Start by writing the headline.Will it grab the reader?Then write the subheadline. Will it compel the reader to read further? Then write the caption to go under an imaginary picture. Is all this strong enoughto get people to read the first sentence? And then write the first sentence. Once you start using my thought process,youll find a dis- cipline and a direction that you might not have experienced in writing copy before. You might even write a pafagraphin the copy to standout in boldfacetype similar to the Consumers Hero ad that reads: Impossible-to-traceGuarantee-We guarantee that our stolenproductswitl look like brand new merchandisewithout any trace of previousbrand identificationor ownership. 93
  • 98. At my seminar,I would call on various studentsand ask them to read their headline.The class would then critique their headline to determine if it would get us all to read the subhead- line. It was a good processwith 18 students from all walks of life coming up with some of the most creativeapproaches a vari- on ety of subjects. one day,my eight-year-old daughter April was sitting in one of the chairsin the class.She was taking notes,listening intently and, in short, acting exactly like one of the students.I would always allow my children free access to the entire seminar processand they had neverbeen a nuisance. fact,, students In the liked this family touch. April Becomes Reql Nuisqnce After I had assigned ad-writing exerciseand askedfor vol- an unteersto read their ads,April startedwaving her hand wildly. I called on a man from New Zealand-Archie Mason-who was in the wool business.Later, when I asked for another volunteer, April once agarnwaved her hand wildly but I called on another student-Fred Simon, presidentof omaha Steaks.Finally, April came up to me in front of the class and whispered,"Dad, let me readmy ad. Its a good one. It follows your principles." I was annoyed "Later, April. Cant you see Im trying to . teachthe class?" Finally at break time, April came up to me and handed me her ad. I read it. It indeed was a good example of anticipating what a consumerwould ask and then answeringit. It was very simple-after all, an eight*year-oldhad written it-but it con- tained a question-and-answer format that was very logical and covered a topic of interest that her eight-year-oldpeers would enjoy reading.Her product was a guineapig. The ad read: Headline:TheBestPet Subheadline: you wanta pet thatdoesnt Do shed? copy: Think about Youcangeta petthatdoesnt it. shed, doesn,t run around house, is easyto takecareof. the and Youhave probably guessed a rabbit, its bird,fish or a turtle. well, yourewrong.Its a guinea pig. You probablywant to know how do you takecareof the guinea pig?Whereshould keepit? Whatdoesit eat? I 94-
  • 99. txiiilrij l Its all simple.If you dont havea guineapig cage,then get a box high enough so it wont get out and large enough so it can run around. Feed it guinea pig pellets and feed it a couple fresh greens.Put plastic at the bottom and newspaper top then at least an inch on high of shavings.Put a bowl in for food and a water bottle for water. Thats all you need to know. To order, call fphone number] and order today. Aprils ad made an important point which I have reminded each class of since. Good copy can be written at any age and by anybody. Simply understanding the principles and applying them to something you intuitively know is all it takes. Logicol Progressionof Flowchqrt In classI would ask my students write a headlineand a to subheadline. would I then ask for the first sentence.Then the next sentence and then the next until eachstudenthad composed a complete ad. The ads had to flow on paper and then, once they were on paper,the editing processwas of paramountimportance.One of the tips I gaveduring this processwas to createa block diagram of a logical way the copy should flow and the questionsthat might logically be asked. In order to developa sensefor this, you break your ad into small abbreviatedcopy blocks similar to those in a corporate flowchart. But this flowchart goesin one direction only-down. I made a block diagramof the ad I did for the Bally pinball game. I showed that at the start of the ad, I wanted to get my readerinto the copy and then I wanted to set the environmentfor the product.So, I startedthe ad with the fun times that this prod- uct represented. The ad startedlike this: Its you against computer. the actionandexcitement a And from Fireball,your own computerized pinball machine, nothing is shortof spectacular. Fireballscomputer replacesmany of the mechanical,scoring, conventional and electronics sensing devices a standard of pinball machine. a dramatic Its changein pinballdevices thestartof and a newconsumer revolution. electronics 95 i t
  • 100. INT€RS5T With the first paragraph I create interest and excitement EXCIIE- for this product. with the secondparagraphI start to weave the /^E NT drama of the product and the differences between Fireball and conventional pinball games. Then I go into the next block of copy and explain why and RA MA how the gamers dffirent, how to play it and someof the unique features made possibleby the computerized electronics. Logically, a readerwho had readthis far would want to know a little more about how the game was constructed,the quality of the product and the many new features.Therefore,the next block of copy has this information. OK, you are really interestedin purchasingthis game. But you say to yourself, "How can I justify it? Id love to get this uNt0ut Fireball game. Emotionally Im hooked, but how can I justify FEAIUQaS purchasingit?" So the next block shouldjustfu the purchase.I used cost JUSTIFY comparisons with what you pay for a TV set, pool table or your ?ug.cAs? stereosystem.I plant the seedabout its practicality when guests pop in and how Fireball will be the hit of any party or family LASTIN6 gathering. herethat Im giving the prospectthe logic he needs Its PLAY to make that emotional purchase. even suggestthat a business I VALl..tE might purchase one as a way to entertainemployees work and at claim it as an investmenttax credit and depreciationexpense- all tax-saving measures. knew I had to provide all the logic I possiblefor this $650 purchase. By now the customeris saying to himself, "OK, I want to get the unit and I canjustify the purchase, what if I use it, get but tired of it and it sits in the corner like that exercisedevicethats The flowchart for gatheringdust?" copy sequence So I go into the fact that it has lasting play value. And I goes in one describeseveralreasons why he wont get tired of it. direction- down. The customeris now thinking to himself, "Hmm. I like the product,I canjustify it and I can seethat it will havelastingplay value, but what if I buy this big pinball game and suddenlythe computer poops out?" I then raise the service questionin the ad copy and answerit. The point of each of theseblocks of copy is that they are logically placed as if to anticipatethe next question a prospectis going to ask-all in an environmentthat you have createdand all flowing logically to the last part of the ad when you askfor the orden 96-
  • 101. Flowing in q Logicol Sequence When you work with copy long enough,the flow is auto- matic. You dont need to do flowcharts,as you can instinctively sense next questionand answerit. And that is the specialskill the that a good direct-response copywriter has over a one-on-one salesperson. sense questions, We the answerthem-and we do it on a massscale. You still might find it helpful to createa block diagram of your ad after youve written it to see if it flows properly and raisesthe right questionat the right time. How do you want to sequence your questionsin your copy? What kind of environ- ment do you want to weave through the early part of the text? What are someof the questions you would surelybe askedabout the product if you were a salesperson you were selling the and product face-to-face? Its really all commonsense. Looking at your copy asit flows out onto a computerscreenor onto a piece of paperis the mechan- ical part of this process not the importantpart. Its the common but sense you useto anticipatethe sequence what will be askednext of and how your copy should flow that really counts at this stageof the copywritingprocess. This bringsup my next axiom.Axiom l3 The ideaspresented in your copy should flow in a logical fash- ion, anticipating your prospects questionsand answering them as if the questions were askedface-to-face. By now you understand basic conceptsof good direct- the marketing copywriting. You understand the importance of becomingan experton the product you are going to write about. You know that the more you learn abouta product or service,the greaterthe chancesyoull come up with that unique copy angle or product position or big idea. But there are some other tips I can give you that will help generate that conceptyou want to develop.First, statethe prob- "I lem. It might be as simple as want to sell this pinball game." Then, once you have statedthe problem, restateit in a different way: "I would like to introduce my prospect to the unique "I aspectsof this pinball game." Then restateit again: want to make the pinball machineeasyto buy and seemlike fun." that makesthe pinball game seem Its that last restatement to come alive and is closer to the copy approachIve actually 97
  • 102. used.During problem restatements (and you could list dozensof them), all the knowledge that youve learnedabout the product seemsto come togetherto give a new perspective. Prepore Thqf Big ldeo Once youve restatedyour problem and you have the state- ment that you like best, sit down and list your big ideas or con- cepts.List severalconcepts. Then pick the one or two that make the most sense. Visualizeyour conceptand seehow it might be incorporated into the ad. Think again about your problem restatementand whether your conceptseemsto be consistentwith it. Then stop. Its time to incubate. After youve slept on it for a while, start writing. First write your headline-an attention-getting blockbuster of a headline short enough to grab the readers attention.Then write the sub- headline-so compelling and curiosity-buildingthat your prospect must read the first sentence. And finally, write the first sentence of the copy-short, to the point and strong enoughto carry you into the next sentence-and then its down the slippery slide. Block-diagram your ad. What do the first few paragraphs do for the ad? What is the emotional appeal?Are you anticipating those questionsand answeringthem to the satisfactionof your prospect? Are you frank and honestin thoseanswers? Try Potterning Your Ad Another approachis called "patterning."Simply pick an ad written by somebodyyou admireand whoseproductor serviceis similar to yours and use their ad as a patternor style from which to write. If they use a long headline,make your headlinelong. If they use a lot of captions,then you createa number of captions. Capturethe feel of the ad, but be careful. Do not copy the per- sonslayout too closely so that peoplereadingthe ad might think at first glance it was from the companyyou were copying. This exerciseis only to give you a format or guide from which to write. If you copy the layout too closely, you are violating the rights of the personwho wrote the ad. The main points in this chapterare the basic stepsand the thought processes you go through as you constructyour ad. The key point is that you dont have the prospectin front of you,98
  • 103. so you have to anticipatethe questionsthe prospectwill ask inalmost the sameorder the prospectwill ask them. This flow is important. But there is also a crrtical part of thecopywriting processthat really separates best copywriters thefrom the worst. Its called the editing processand we cover it inthe next chapter. 99
  • 104. 17 The Ccccchaptet Editing Process r-rt lhis chapterholds one of the most valuablesecrets effec- to tive and persuasive copy, for it is in the editing processthat you turn that raw emotional outpouring of thoughts and ideas into a polished, harmonious,resonanttuning fork which will vibrate perfectly with your prospect. Its like the story of a diamond.When a diamondis found it looks like a piece of coal or carbon.Take that black, ugly stone and polish it and it soonbecomes worlds most beautifulgem- the stone. Remember that lecture I referred to earlier in Chapter 11 that I gave at New York University? I mentioned to the students that if everybodyin the classcompleteda writing assignment, my first draft would probably be the worst in the class.Poor gram- mar, atrociousspellingand disjointedsentence structuremight be the way an English teacherwould describeit. But it is what I do after that first draft that makesthe differ- ence.Its the differencebetweenjust plain copy and a polished advertisingmessage-from copy that doesnt move prospects to one that moves prospectsso strongly that they reach into their collective pockets and exchange their hard-earned money for your product or service. Its the difference between earning a salaryas a copywriter and earningmillions of dollars as an effec- tive copywriter/entrepreneur. The Secret to Editing Is therea secretto editing?Once agarn, is a mentalprocess it that almost parallelsthat of the copywriting act itself. It requires lots of practice,althoughyou will find it easierto do than writing the copy itself. In fact, it is a lot more fun. Look at the act of writ- ing the first draft as giving birth. It may be a painful, long process or it can go quite quickly with little pain. Then compare the editing processto raising the child-the caring and nurturing requiredto ensurea healthy,happy child. You wouldnt want vour child to so out into the world in 101- * r -
  • 105. funny clothes, unable to communicate or relate with others, would you? You thereforehave to mold and nurture that child as you prepareto presenthim or her to the rest of the world. Editing is a nurturingprocess. And just as thereis no perfect way to nurture your child, there are many different approaches to editing copy that are certainly acceptable. strive for one result I when I edit and this can be summedup in the following axiom:Axiom 14 In the editing process, you refine your copy to express exactly what you want to expresswith the fewest words. Now this soundsrather simple, doesnt it? But it is the true essence the editing process.You want to maintain the same of emotionalfeel, the samethoughtprocess, samevibration that the you had in mind when you wrote the copy.Its just that you want to do it in the fewestwords. This may mean that you rearrangethe words you wrote to make the thought more direct. Or it may mean cutting out words that have little contribution to the overall feel of the ad. It may mean substitutingnew words that expressyour thoughtsbetter. And it may evenmean addingwords to clarify a thought.But the goal in writing ad copy is to expressthe thoughts you want to conveyin the most powerful way but with the fewestwords. I remember the feeling I had writing my previous book, Success Forces.Since it was a book format and I was not under the sameconstraints when I wrote my advertisingcopy, it was as an easy process.In fact, it is a lot easierwriting anything other than direct responseadvertisingcopy. You have the freedom to use as many words as you wish to expressa thought or feeling. And you have no spacerestrictions. Copy Hqs Spoce Restrictions But with advertisingcopy you do have spacerestrictions. Your copy hasa very focusedpurpose-to motivateyour prospects to exchangetheir hard-earned money for your product or service. And everythingyou do or write must lead to this one goal. Let me give you one examplefrom an ad that I wrote.well look at my first draft of the initial two parugraphs, which con- tained 66 words, and then the final draft, which containe 43 d, words.We11 then study the two versionsand certainlessons will emerge.The ad was for a bathroomscale,and heresthe first draft:102
  • 106. Losingweightis not easy. Ask anyone. And,if youvetriedit, youknowthatpartof a goodweightreduc- tion program your bathroom is A scale. bathroom scale like a is reportcard.Its a feedback mechanism tells you how well that youvedone. fact,oneof thefew pleasures losingweightis In of steppingon yourbathroom scaleandseeing positive the results. Now lets take the same ad and condenseit to reduce the word count while still maintainins the samemeanins and emo- tional feel. Losingweightis not easy. Ask anyone. One of the few pleasures losingweightis stepping your of on bathroom scaleandseeing positiveresults. Yourbathroom scale is like a reportcard-a feedback mechanism tells you how that well youvedone. If you removed the first paragraphfrom this exercise and just concentratedon the second paragraph,there would be a reduction from 59 words to 36. With nearly 40Vofewer words, the meaning and emotional appeal of the second version is exactly the sameas the first or evenbetter. Apply this percentage a full-page ad with 1,000 words to and you can seethe differencethe editing processcan make. In fact, at this point, lets look at the advantages. Advqntoges of FewerWords With less copy, your ad will look less imposing to the prospectand he or shewill be more likely to read it. The second advantageis that you are making the slippery slide even more slippery by making it shorter. Your prospectwill get to the bot- tom of the slide much faster,yet still get the full impact of your salesmessage. The exampleabovewas given to my seminarclassand they spentabout20 minutescoming up with their own editedversions of the ad. Many of them were excellent and some were even shorterthan my version. Of course,the copy was taken out of context,they didnt have the rest of the ad and couldnt see far enough into the ad to seewhat my environment,goal and emo- tional appealfor the product were, so this might not be the per- fect example.But it brought out many of the principles of good editing. The following are a few of the principlesthey learned: 103n
  • 107. Some Principlesof Editing 1. Look for any that words. For example, in my first draft I usedthe words, And, if youve tried it, you know that. . . ." The words up to and including that can very often be eliminated.In this example,I could eliminateeight words. 2. E,dit for rhythm. Make sure that you vary the length of sen- tencesso they dont soundmonotonous. discussrhythm later in I this book, in Chapter18. 3. Consider combining sentences. Note that in the edited ver- sion, I combinedthe two sentences that read, A bathroom scale is like a report card.Its a feedbackmechanism that tells you how well youve done." I condensed into "Your bathroom scaleis it like a report card-a feedbackmechanism that tells you how well youve done." I savedonly one word by doing this, but it made sense combinethe sentences eliminatins evenone word is to and a good move. 4. Eliminate unnecessarywords. Look at the word the in the phrase"and seeingthe positive results."The word the can eas- ily be eliminatedwithout changingthe meaning so that the final sentence will read,"and seeingpositiveresults." 5. Rearrange thoughts so they flow better. Note that in the first draft, the flow of the copy pointed out that the scalewas a report card and the secondthought was that part of the pleasureof a weight loss programwas steppingon a scaleand seeingthe pos- itive results.By reversingthesetwo thoughts,I madethe ad more emotionalby focusingon the pleasure using a scalewhen los- of ing weight and then I explainedwhy. This soundsa lot betterand more logical from a flow standpointthan the first draft. Tqke As long As You Need Sometimesediting is like raising and nurturing your child and you need to take a lot of time. You may end up doing ten drafts before you get to the final draft. Other times it may flow right out of your mind with hardly a coffection. When Frank Schultz, the grapefruit marketer, attendedmy seminar and wrote his famous grapefruit ad, it was so close to perfect that it didnt need much editing at all. When Joe Karbo, who wrote The Lazy Mans Way to Riches,attendedmy seminar, he told the class that after his ad was written, other than twot04
  • 108. words that neededcorrection, the ad was perfect. On the other hand, other seminar participants who had a gteat deal of copy- writing experience spentmany hours editing their ads. And the sameholds true for me. Ive written ad copy that flowed right out of my brain through my pen, or later my com- puter,and neverhad to be editedmuch. On the other hand most of the time I would have to go through several drafts before I was satisfied. And then there is the experience factor.The more you write, the lessediting you haveto do. The easierthe flow out of your brain, the better you ate at expressing emotionalfeel of copy and the excitement the that eachword represents. The novice copywriter will usually need the editing processto craft and polish an ad, whereasthe experienced copywriter has many of the editing mechanismspro-You want to grammedin his or her brain. The copy seems flow out through toremove the from experience.unnecessafy a filter that comesonlywords and still On the other hand,the needfor editing is sometimes unpre-have the ad dictable regardless your experience. of You could producecopymake sense. that needsplenty of editing or you could end up with excellent copy that neverneedsmuch at all. Reqd the Periodicqls Im always amazedat the lack of editing I seein many of "Finally, it is important to the periodicalsI read. Phraseslike note that . ." canbe totally eliminated and not affect the flow or "Fortunately understanding what follows. Another example: of or unfortunately as the casemay be . . ." is not really required to make the information that follows clearer.Many of the articles written in periodicals contain these unnecessary preliminaries that fill up spacebut mean very little. In writing effective copy you cant afford to be too wordY. If youd like a little practice,take a look at the examples that follow and edit them yourself,or read any periodicaland edit the copy by seeinghow many extraneous words can be eliminated. Or write a draft and practicethis critical skill. ExampleL: Abouttheonlyredeeming feature thisproduct thatwe dont of is havehugequantities sell.The importeris afraidto ordertoo to 10s
  • 109. many for fear that nobody in their right mind would buy it let alone sell it. So we only have a few hundredto sell as pariof this test program." Example 2: "I was sitting in an office in New York city talking to a very suc- cessfulfriend and businessman whom well call Stuart.I told Stu- art that I had to make a very critical decision in my business. I neededsome guidanceand advice." When I started writing a great deal of copy in the 70s, I would use a legal pad and ballpoint pen and write my draft in longhand. I would then give it to my secretary,who would type it out for me in rough draft form, usually double spaced. I would then make my editing corrections and hand it back to my secretary for her to retype. And this process would continue for several drafts until it was in a final form for the typesetter. Computers Are q Greqt Help When computerswith word processing programsfirst came on the scene, resisted I using them. I was usedto writing the copy in longhand and to switch to a computer and keyboard seemed difficult. But I made the transitionsometimein the early 80s on an Apple II computerand I havent looked back since. Writing copy on a computermakesthe editing processvery easy.Word processingallows you to pick words or entire sen- tencesand drag them to anotherplace in the copy. Sophisticated spell-checkers whiz through copy and correctyour spellingeven as you type. Thesauruses, grammar-checkers all sortsof edit- and ing aids are built into every decent word processingprogram. Today,I never have to give a draft to a secretary.I type it in draft form first on the computer and then do all my editing, often before I evenprint my copy. The computerhas done more for my copywriting and editing than any other single factor and it is making a difference for copywriters everywhere. Another techniquethat will help you in the editing process is time. If you can put asideyour copy after you edit it and look at it the next day or even in a few days, you will often discover things that you never saw before.If time is critical, put the copy down for a shortwhile and get back to it. The key is to allow time for your subconscious mind to digestwhat youve done and pick out the areasthat need work.106
  • 110. Many other rules for editing can be found in English text-books and style books. There are also other books on writingthat cover this subjectvery nicely. In fact, it was a book I readin collegethat really openedmy mind to the importanceof edit-ing in the copywriting process.I am currently trying to get therights to that book and may offer it as one of my future bookson marketing. Finally, after you think you have that perfect final draft-adraft so well edited that you cant possibly make one more cor-rection-give it to somebody who is a professionaleditor orEnglish major and have them edit it to correct the English andgrammarthat you missed.This does not mean that you have toacceptall of their changes. Sure,you want to correctthe spellingand the dangling modifiers and any other terrible grammar thatmay negativelyimpressyour prospects. But then simply weigheachone of the changesand if you feel that any interfere with thestyle of your writing and your original version does not violategrammaror spellingrules, then ignore them. The point is, dontbe intimidated if you dont feel comfortable with somebodyelsessuggestions changeyour writing. toThe Use of Commqs A good example is the use of commas. There are twoschoolsof thought-one which uses a lot of commas and theother that doesnot. I do not believein too many commasas theytake up space. And as a copywriter you dont have much spaceto work with. So I use commaswhere the rules of grammarareclear that they are neededfor clarification.I dont use commasin placeswhere I am not violating any grammarrules or wherethey are considered optional.For example,when threeitems aregrouped together,suchas apples, oranges tomatoes,Idont anduse a serial comma after oranges. I would have both my sister Judy, who is a high schoolteacher,and Mary Stanke,my associate JS&A, proof all my atcopy.I didnt acceptall their changes I certainlypaid a lot of butattentionto them. It is important that you do make your copy as free fromerror as possible.If you dont, it reflectsbadly on the integrity ofyour offer. It raisesdoubts in the minds of your readers.Theymay think, "If this guy cant get his grammarstraight,how do I
  • 111. know he runs his business right?" A good example of how a prospectthinks is reflectedin a letter I received from an irate reader of one of the airline maga- zines in which we ran the ad for our ConsumersHero club. We receivedthe following: DearSir: Despite intended the conversational of theattached tone advertisement, licensewithin consumer-oriented writing no ad permitsthe type of glaringpoor grammar usage circledin para- graphflve of your copy. "We betternot" may occur in sloppy, colloquialspeech, it is not acceptable writing.The phrase but in shouldread,"wed better not", of course. I cannotbelievethat your ad agencywould permit suchpoor proofingin an ad which finds its way into the handsof a sharp consumer suchasthetypewhichpaysthekind of money required to purchase airlinetickettoday, an andthusis inflictedwith this badgrammar a captiveaudience in magazine the attached. like The aboveindividual took the time to write us about a sim- ple grammarerror. How many otherssaw it and didnt respond? And whenever we do make a mistake, our readersdo usually find it. One editing error was actually quite funny. In copy describ- ing a blood pressureunit, I wrote, "blood pressurecan be very dangerous"insteadof "high blood pressure can be very danger- ous." Nobody picked it up. SometimesIm amazedat what the public missesand what they complain about,but the fact remains that in the editing processyou really do want to be as thoroughas possible. What I have conveyedin this chapteris simply how impor- tant the editing processis, the value of editing in terms of the final copy, and someof the logic I use in the editing process. Now youre ready for someinteresting,subtleand sophisti- cated insights into copywriting. By now you understandthe entire copywriting process, can write an ad and edit it. In Section Two, I give you some of the significant insights Ive gained during yearsof experience.108 --
  • 112. $ectionTwo
  • 113. PneuiewUnderstanding What Works No* comes the fun part.In the followin g chapters youIl find not only insights and tips on how to write copy but also revelationsof what has worked exceptionallywell during my 3O-year careeras a copywriter. This section contains only six chapters.But packed into thesechaptersis the heart of this book-the basisfor the copy I write and many of my copywriting secrets.Its an educationthat cost me millions to learn and youre going to learn it for the simple price of this book. In my seminarpromotional outline, I listed severaltopics that would be presented, of which was "The 57 PointsEvery one Ad Should Cover."And very often, my seminarparticipants,in anticipation of coming to the seminar,would sit down and in advancelist somepoints to seeif they could guesswhat I taught in the course. Typically, they knew maybe six or sevenof the points.And typically, they were amazedat what they didnt know. Youve alreadylearnedthe first 10 of thesepoints, the graphicelements of an ad, in Chapter4. Youre now about to discoverthe lssf- 23 copy elementsand 24 psychologicaltriggers to buying. And from the other chaptersin this sectionyou will further build the baseyou need in order to write incredibly effective copy. So study this sectioncompletelyand continueto build your solid copywriting foundation.
  • 114. IIChaptenPowerful Copy Elements Explained R"-"-ber our discussion aboutgraphicelements Chap- in ter 4? We explainedthat eachof theseelementswas designedto get prospects do only one thing-read the first sentence. to And we explainedhow importantthe first sentence was in your copy. And if we know that all thosegraphicelements designed are to get you to read the first sentenceand eventuallyall of the copy, then the next thing we should addressis the nature of the copy elementsin an advertisement. In this chapter,I will cover all the copy elementsand their relationship to the advertisement-23 conceptsthat you should review for each ad you write. 1. Typeface: This element is really important. If youre a graphic designer,you know that each typefacehas its own per- sonality,emotion and legibility. And thats the point of this sub- ject. Youve got to determinethe combinationof personalityand legibility that will make your ad easyto read and inviting. Since we are talking about copy here, we are talking about only one style of type called "serif" type. Serif type has those little curlicues whereas the other style of type called "sans serif" (French for without curlicues) doesnt. The type used for the text of this book is serif type. Why? Becausein legibility tests, serif type producedgreatercomprehension than sans serif type and by a 5 to 1 margin. I didnt discoverthis until well into my writing career,but now all my ads are printed in serif type. This was one test I wish I had known about earlier. Another important factor is the legibility of all your type- facesin other parts of your ad such as the headline,subheadline and variousheadings.Fancy type might look elegantto the type designer, if it cant be read it has no value.Its like talking to but a foreigner and finding the words difficult to understand.The most important role a typeface has is to allow the greatestcom- prehension possible,and the secondrole, lessimportantby far, is to conveythe image of a company. 113
  • 115. 2. First Sentence:This we discussed Chapter 4 as the in purposeof all the graphic elementsof an ad-to get the prospect to read that all-important first sentence. Keep your first sentence short,easyto read and compelling enoughto causethe readerto read the next sentence. 3. SecondSentence:This sentence almostas importantas is the first. Youve got to maintain interest,so you must also create anothersentence with a compelling reasonto causeyour reader to want to continue.You must continuethis momentumthrough- out the first and secondparagraphs. asideany facts,benefits Put or productfeatures. Your only goal is to get the momentumgoing and createthat buying environment. 4. Paragraph Headings: In Chapter4, parugraphheadings are mentionedas one of the graphicelementsin a print ad. They are supposed make the copy look less intimidating, and thus to encourage readerto read all the copy.But paragraph the headings are also a copy elementthat needsto be addressed this chapter in as well. Paragraphheadings could introduce material in the para- graph that follows or they could have absolutelynothing to do with the copy underneathor the copy in the entire ad for that mat- ter. Remember,they are designedto break up the copy and make it look lessintimidating.They havelittle to do with sellingor pre- senting your product. They simply make the copy look more inviting so your readerwill start the readingprocess. When a readerlooks at copy that appears like one continu- ous paragraph, subconsciously looks a lot more difficult to read it than copy that is broken up into neatlittle chunksheadeci var- by ious paragraph headings. Use paragraphheadingsto break up copy in the middle of columns but not at the very end or beginning. Avoid placing paragraphheadings right next to each other in two adjoining columns. As I just mentioned,your paragraph headings could say any- thing. I once ran an ad for a radarspeedindicator,and as a test I usedthe most outrageous paragraph headings you could think of. They included "Scrambled Eggs," "Working and Playing" and "Successand Good Thinss." Even thoush the headinss hadtt4
  • 116. absolutely nothing to do with the ad copy, they drew absolutely no attention.Nobody ever askedme what the headingsmeant or commentedthat they were not consistent with the copy. But had I misspelleda word in the body of the ad, I would have heard plenty about it. The primary purpose of paragraphheadings is to get the readerto readthe copy by making the copy look lessintimidating. A secondary purposemight be to arousecuriosity.Maybe my "Scrambled Eggs" paragraphheading did just that, i.e., created curiosity and causedsomebodyto startreadingthe copy to find out what scrambledeggs had to do with the product I was offering. Although Ive never testedto seeif this was the case,my experi- ence with paragraphheadingstells me that curiosity does play a minor role but that the main purpose is to make the copy less intimidating. 5. Product Explanation: Soundssimple.Sounds basic.But youll be amazedat how many ads leave out the simple step of explaining what the product does. A rule of thumb here is to explain a complicatedproduct in a very simple way and explain a simple product in a very complex way. For example, I once sold a smoke detector.At the time it was a very common household product whose function was clearly understoodby the consumer.In short, the product was simple. In the ad I wrote for an expensivebrand, I told a story about the inside workings of my smokedetector. describedthe I gold contacts(which every other smoke detectorhad) and even explained how the comparatorcircuit functioned to determineif there was smoke in the room. Even though this smoke detector was $10 more than the marketprice, it was a big success. The ad illustrates a way to presenta simple product in a complicated way. You should sell a simple product that is clearly understood by the consumerin a more complicatedway and a more compli- cated product in a very simple way. When I first explainedthe computerto my customers, was it always a very simple explanationof what it could do for them. My ad was not about the technologyinside (althoughsomeref- erencewas made to the inside) but focusedon the simplicity of the product and its use.At this time, consumers werejust getting into computers. They were new, seemed complicatedto use and 115-4-- .v*
  • 117. indeedmany were. By explaining computersin very simple and basic terms without getting too complicated,I was able to ease them into a purchase. Latet, as consumers understood more and the products becamea commodity, explaining them in greaterdetail proved more effective. In addition to the aboveconcept,you should always check your copy to make sure you have explained all of the features. Ask yourself, "Did I explain the product sufficiently to my prospect?" You might ask a number of peopleto read your copy to seeif they understand product and its features. the Look at the questionsthey raise and see if youve addressed them fully in your copy. 6. New Features: Highlight thosefeatures which make your product or servicenew, unique or novel. This might appearto be the sameas the copy element"Product Explanation" that weve just discussed, it is different. Here you are revealingnot just but the features of the product, but the features that distinguish it from anythingelse on the market. 7. Technical Explanation: Regardless the productor ser- of vice, eachad can be enhanced with a technicalexplanation.r por{T We all like to buy somethingfrom an expert-somebodyUND6RSTAND we like, respectand trust. Buying is indeed a processANYOFTHISTECHNICAL STUFF of trust. The buyers thought processmight be, "I M&,",trust that you really know your subject and fully, , , . 9 U 1 , Hr Y , ETHEY UNDrRTAND understand the product category and have -Ue aff, ?RoDucT ruu;r SU?eRl vE describedyour product to me properly and will give me something of value that I want in return for my hard-earnedmonev."A technicql Trust is always enhancedwhen the seller has become anexplanation will expertat what he or sheis selling.Lets saythe sellersays,"I havebuild confidence studied everything I could on competitive products and knowin the prospect. everything there is about the product I am selling, so I know that what I am offering you is the best product at the best value."You would naturally have a greatdeal of confidencethat this sellers product is indeedgood. You might also be impressed the seller,in describingthe if product,usedwords that you didnt understand. Why? Because it116
  • 118. would appearthat the seller really was an expert about the prod-uct. This is not deception. sellermust becomean experton the Aproduct in order to talk about it in technicallanguage. In a mail order ad, technical explanationscan add a gteatdeal of credibility, but before you write them, make sure youindeed become an expert. If not, the consumerwill see rightthrough the ploy. A good example of this techniqueis expressed the fol- inlowing caption I wrote for a picture of the integratedcircuit in awatch: A pin pointsto the new decoder/driver integratedcircuit which takesthe input from the oscillator countdown integrated circuit and computes time while driving the display.This single the space-age devicereplaces thousands solid-state of circuitsand provides utmost the reliability-all unique Sensor. to Very few people would be able to understandthe technicalcommentary.In fact, when I sent the ad to the manufacturerforapproval,he called my attentionto the caption under the picture "What you wrote there is correct but who is going toand said,understand Why did you evenuse it?" it? Providing a technicalexplanationwhich the readermay notunderstand showsthat we really did our researchand if we sayits good it must be good. It builds confidencein the buyer thathe or sheis indeeddealingwith an expert.Incidentally,the watchwas one of our best-selling products. Another exampleof a technicalexplanationappeared the inoutline of a seminar.Jimmy Calano of CareerTrack came up tome after I explainedthe reasons a technicalexplanationand for "Joe, do you realizethat the outline of one of my seminarssaid,is, in fact, a technicalexplanation? using technicalterms that Bynot too many people understanduntil they come to the seminar,they sensethat we know what we are talking about." Yet anotherexampleis an ad written by Frank Schultz afterattendingmy seminar.His product was grapefruit and he wasexplaininghow he gradedthem: Even afterpicking thereare othercarefulinspectionseachfruit mustpassbefore accept I sizethe fruit. And Ill it. I grade for it beauty.Sometimes fruit will be wind scarred. wont the I accept tt7
  • 119. it. or sometimes will havea bulgeon the stemthat we call it "sheep nose." wont accept you canseeI reallymean when I it. it I sayI acceptonly perfect RoyalRubyReds. In many of my ads, catalogs,direct mailings and infomer- cials I conveythoroughknowledgenot only of what I am selling but of the entire universe of products available. I convey the thoughtprocess went throughin picking the productI choseand I why it is better than anything similar at a parti.cular price point. And the consumerappreciates effort I took, feels more confi- the dent in the purchaseand consequently motivatedto reach into is his or her pocket and exchange hard-earned money for my prod- uct or service. 8. Anticipate objections: This is a very important element to consider when writing copy. If you feel that your prospect might raise some objection when you are describinga product, then raise the objection yourself. Remember,youre not in front of the consumerand you have to sensewhat the next question might be. If you sensethat there might be an objection and you ignore it, its like ignoring that consumer. you wont get away with it. The consumeris too sharpand will not buy. A good exampleof anticipatingobjectionsis in that ad we saw earlier in Chapter 16 for that expensiveelectronic pinball game from Bally Manufacturing.The averageconsumerwould raise the questionabout service.we resolvedit in our ad. Another exampleof raising an objection is in my ad offer- ing a thermostatfor the home. If you rememberfrom Chapterg, I looked at the product and saw that it was really ugly. It didnt have a good designat all. In fact, it would turn me off if I were a consumer.So I raisedthe objection at the very beginningof the ad, calling it the worst-lookingproduct Id ever seen.I laterjus- tified the product by calling attentionto its spectacular features, but only after I had raisedthe objectionmyself. Often productsthat require installationconcernconsumers. It is then that you have to raise the question about installation yourself and not hide from the facts. 9. Resolveobjections: Just as you haveto recognrze objec- tions, it is your opportunityand duty to resolvethe objectionstoo. You must be honestand provide alternative solutionsor dispelthe118
  • 120. objections completely. With the pinball game, we talked aboutthe modular circuit boards that you simply snap out andexchangeif serviceis required.More on this later in copy ele-ment 14, "Service." In the caseof the thermostat, explained wethat beneaththat ugly skin was an in incredibleadvance technol-ogy. Finally, when it comesto installation,we are very open andhonestand explain exactly what the consumercan expectduringthe installationprocess. 10. Gender: Who is the consumer?Male, female or bothmale and female?Are they female golf players, lady pilots orprofessionalwomen? Make sure there are no sexual or sexistcomments that would offend any group and know your targetaudienceso that you can communicatein their terms. I onceran an ad for gold chainsin my catalog.It was in theform of a story about a salesman namedBob Ross who tried toconvinceme to sell gold chainsin my catalog.I resisted until heshowedme a picture of his cousinwhom he offeredto havemodelthe chains in one of my ads. I quickly acceptedthe product afterseeinga picture of Bobs cousin.The ad copy was considered bymany to be one of my most creativeapproaches selling a prod- touct. The chainshad nothing to do with the core productswe hadbeen selling-electronic gadgets-however, I did get a few lettersas a result.A woman in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey,wrote: Dear Sir: Your friend,Mr. Bob Ross,may regardhimselfas a successful salesman, unfortunately comesacross your but he in ad asa consummate asshole.The letter then went on to point out the achievements women ofin many technical fields, the military, air traffic control, sportsand leisure,racing and severalotherprofessions which women innow play a very activerole. She finally concluded: Perhaps long,hardlook at theperson department a or responsible Apparently hasto "comea for the ad on page37 is in order. he long way,baby"to catchup to theTwentieth Cordially Century. wishingyou immediate bankruptcy,remain, I And with that she signed her name. It was a two-pagesingle-spaced letter which included a copy of our mailing label.Was I really insensitiveto women? Did I demeanthem in my rr9
  • 121. ad copy? Ive reproducedthe ad in Chapter 34 and it is called "Gold SpaceChains."Seeif you agree. It is also important that you recognize the differences betweenmen and women in terms of what is important to them. women are generally into color, fashion, family, home and rela- tionships. Men are more likely into sports, military combat, machines, earningmoney and supportingtheir family. Sure,they overlaptremendouslytoday.Women are assumingthe roles that men once had exclusively and men are doing things today that yearsearlier would havebeen considered feminine. Being aware of the differences(and sometimesthe lack of differences) the is most importantpoint here.And this awareness help you har- can monize with your targetaudience understanding by how to com- municatewith them and knowing what might offend them. 11. clarity: Your copy shouldbe clear,simple,short and to the point. Avoid big words that confuse those who dont know them and which often establishthe writer as a pompoussnob- unless,of course,youre trying to appealto pompoussnobs.Keep it simple.The clearerthe copy and the more concise,the easierit will be for people to read and get on the slippery slide and stay there.The only exceptionto this rule is when you give a technical explanation, described as earlierin copy element7 in this chapter. 12. clich6s: Avoid the obviousones:"Heres the productthe world has been waiting for," or "Its too good to be true." If you feel inclined to use a clich6, dont. Clich6sseemto be usedwhen you havenothingreally significantor good to say and must fill up space. How do you know if you are writing a clich6?If it sounds like youre writing typical advertisingcopy some agency may havewritten 20 yearsago, thats one clue. Have I usedthem?You bet. My first severaladswere replete with them. Back when I wrote them, I didnt know better. For example, in my 1972 ad for a desktop calculator, I stated,"Its the breakthroughthe world has been waiting for!, Bad, isnt it? I wrote it then but would never write anything as trite today. The lead sentencefor the first pocket calculator I introducedin the U.S. in l9l1 read,"Its the most excitingnew breakthrough electronicssincethe transistor in radio!" Ironically, at the time, it may have actuallybeen more truth than clich6.r20 -*n
  • 122. 13. Rhythm: Just as a song has a rhythm, so does copy.Humor writers know this well. If you can write good humor,youve already got the rhythm thing down pat. In fact, the mostdifficult copy to write is humor.Why humor? Because you haveto know how to build up to a punch line and then deliver it. Youhave to know how not to be too obvious in your delivery andyouve got to understandthe art of timing. So what does thisrhythm sound or feel like in advertisingcopy? It has no distinct pattern:a short sentence, then a long sen-tence followed by a medium sentence followed by a short sen-tence and then another short sentenceand then one really longsentence. Got it? In short, a mixture of sentence lengthswhich,when read together,gives a senseof variety and rhythm. Think about how copy would sound if all the sentenceswere very short or very long or all had a distinct predictablepat-tern. Pretty boring. And thats the point of copy rhythm. Varyyour sentences; vary their length to give your copy a rhythm. Another rhythm technique is the use of what is called a"trrad." Very often when I list examples or attributes of some- "Ithing, I usejust threeof them. For exampletake the sentence,went shoppingfor a hammer,a screwdriverand a pair of pliers."In copy you list threeitems in a serieswith the last item preceded and, and you createa nice rhythm within that sen-by the wordtence.In fact, when you read someof the ads in SectionThree ofthis book, you will seehow many of them havetriads throughout. 14. Service: If you are selling an expensive product or onethat is not easilyreturnedfor service,you must address ques- thetion of service and convey the easeof that serviceto the con-sumer. Often the mention of a brand name manufactureris allthat is needed establish to easeof service.But if thereis a remotepossibility that the consumerwould still ask about service,thenyou must address this issuein your ad. In selling our Bally pinball game by mail, we knew that abuyer might have concernsabout the matter of service.What ifthe pinball game broke and required repatr? It was large andexpensiveand the inconvenience a broken game would be in ofthe back of our customersminds. We addressed that in the ad.The following is the subheadingand paragraphwe used to alle-viate any customerconcerns:
  • 123. A FRANK DISCUSSION SERVICE OF Fireball is a solid-statecomputer with its electronicscondensed on integratedcircuits-all hermetically sealedand all pre-tested for a lifetime of service.Fireball is also self-diagnostic. us say Let somethinggoeswrong with the system.Simply pressthe testbut- ton on the back panel of your machine and the exact problem is displayed on your scoreboardin digits. Check the instruction booklet and simply remove the designated plug-in circuit board, light bulb or part and sendit to the servicedepartment closestto you for a brand new replacement. Even your TV or stereoisnt that easyto repair. A full paragraph was used to cover the issue of service. And we sold thousands of pinball machines to people who ordi- narily might not have purchased a unit because of their concern about service. Another good example of how important service is to help sell a product took place during the height of the digital watch boom in the mid70s. The industry was expanding very rapidly but there were problems with the reliability of these space-age timepieces. Unlike mechanical watches, these new electronic timepieces had batteries, used sophisticated chips and circuitry and had a high defective rate. I recognrzed this as a problem that had to be addressedin our copy. And since I look at problems as opportunities, I wondered, "Where is the opportunity in this serious and rapidly growing problem?" I then came up with the following copy to establish the quality of the product we were offering and our commitment to back it. The Sensorl7O has an unprecedented five-year parts and labor unconditionalwarranty.Each watch goesthroughweeksof aging, testing and quality control before assemblyand final inspection. Serviceshould neverbe required,but if it should anytime during the flve-yearwaffanty period,we will pick up your Sensorat your door and sendyou a loanerwatch while yours is being repaired- all at our expense. Then later in a summary of the offer, we again played up the part on service. We have selectedthe Sensor as the most advancedAmerican- made, solid-statetimepieceever produced.And we put our com- pany and its full resourcesbehind that selection. JS&A will122
  • 124. D V guarantee Sensor-eventhebattery-for five unconditionally the years.WelI evensendyou a loanerwatchto use while your watchis beingrepaired shouldit everrequirerepair. We alleviated any concern about service in the copy of thead. If the issueof servicewas raisedin the minds of our prospects,it was now resolved.By showing such a strong commitmenttoservice,we had overcomea major objectionthat we realized,rnadvance,could be a problem, and turned it into an opportunity. Indeedwhen a customers watch did not work, the customerwould call us on our toll-free numberand we would immediatelysendout a packagecontaininga UPS call tag that allowed UPSto pick up the defectivewatch free of charge,a loaner watch and ,Ia postage-free envelopefor the consumerto return the loanerafter receiving the repaired watch. This gave our company the opportunity to prove to our cus-tomers how consumer-oriented were. Our customerswere weliterally amazedat the way we followed up with our servicepro-gram. And after they receivedtheir repairedwatch, they even gota call from us to make sure everything was OK. But thats not the point of this example.If serviceis a con-siderationin the subconscious mind of the consumerand youaddress up front, you will melt any resistance buying your it toproduct.The Sensorwatch was one of our best-sellingwatchesand the mailing list of watch customersbecame one of ourstrongest mailing lists for future offers. Servicein the sellingprocess beena critical factor in the has 1success a personalfriend, Joe Girard, who is in The Guinness of , flBook of World Recordsfor having sold more cars in a single yeat {tthan anybodyin history.Joes books on salesmanship worth arereadingfor their many insights,but the one factor that madeJoesuch an effective salesman (asidefrom the fact that he was a verypersonable guy) was the way he handledservice.His customersserviceproblemsbecamehis. And each time he sold a car, Joebecame that buyerspersonalservicerepresentative. Joeper- Andformed. Then when buyers returned for another car, they onlywantedJoe.It wasnt price that madeJoessuccess, althoughthatwas important;it was his attitudetoward service. 15. Physical Facts: In copy you must mention all the phys-ical facts about a product or you risk reducing your response. I23
  • 125. Im talking about weight, dimensions,size,limits, speed,etc. Sometimesyou might think that a certain dimensionisnt really important or the weight may not be necessary. But its not true. Give readersany excusenot to buy and they wont buy. I rememberrunning ads for products and then personally taking the orderson our toll-free lines. I did this because was it on the phone lines that I got many of my insightsinto the buying process.Here were my customers,motivated enough to reach into their pockets and pull out their hard-earnedmoney for a product they trusted me to sell them. What a wonderful oppor- tunity to peek into this processand hear the really subliminal reactionspeoplemade when they responded. It was during my time on the phone lines that I learnedthat if you dont give all the facts,it givesyour customerthe excuse not to order. It may be a weight or dimensionthat you thought was irrelevant, but if you dont mention it, peoplewill call and ask for it. And how many more customersdidnt bother to call and check on it? Of course,they didnt order either. I rememberan ad for a scalepictured on the floor. I didnt give the actual weight of the scale itself. "Who would care?"I thought. But my prospectsdid care and frequently asked.We eventuallyincludedthe weight of the scalein the ad. I remember showing an object that was being held in my hand. I gave the exactdimensions failed to give the weight because weight but the was not really relevant.I got a lot of calls from peoplewanting to know the weight before deciding whetherto bry. The point: List the physicaldimensions evenin cases where you think they are not that important. 16. Trial Period: You must offer a trial period for any prod- uct that the consumer cannottouch or feel at the time of purchase, as is the casewith mail order items.The only time you can make an exceptionto this rule is when the value is so strong and the product so familiar that the consumeris willing to take the risk. If I were selling a box of 24 rolls of toilet paperat a bargainprice deliveredto your home and it was a brand that you alreadyused, then you wouldnt need atrial period. Make sure your trial period is at least one month, or even better, two months. Tests have proven that the longer the trial period,the lesschancethe product will be returnedand the more 124-
  • 126. confidencethe consumerwill have in dealing with you and pur-chasingthe item. Lets say you receive a product that has a one-weektrialperiod.Youve got one week to make up your mind. You feel thepressure, you examinethe product and try to make the deci- sosion as quickly aspossible.If you areunsureafter the week is up, "Im not sure,so Im not going to takewhat do you do?You say,the chance,"and you return it. But lets say you have two months to make up your mind.No pressurethere, right? You even have a pretty good feelingabout the company offering the product. The company must beconfident that youre going to like the product because they aregiving you a two-month trial period. So you put the product aside.You use it freely, not worriedabouthaving to make a decision,and then beforeyou know it thetwo months are up and youve not even thought about returningit. Just knowing you could have returnedit was enoughto makeyou feel comfortableholding on to the purchase. 17. Price Comparison: Wheneverpossible,offering a pricecomparisonto anotherproduct establishes value in the mind ofthe purchaser. This points out one of the really importantconsid-erationsthat motivate consumersto buy-namely that they aregetting real value. An exampleof a price comparisonwas my ad for the Sen-sor watch. I stated: The $275Pulsar uses LED technology the whichrequires press- ing a buttoneachtime you want to reviewthe time. Even the $500 solar-powered Synchronarwatch,in our opinion,cant compare with the Sensor its 5-yearwaranty.And no solid- and statewatchcan compare Sensors to rugged- quality,accuracy, ness andexceptionalvalue. If you are selling an expensiveitem or somethingthat is agood value when compared to another product, you shouldalways considera price comparisonas a meansof establishingthe value of your product.If your product is the most expensiveproduct being offered,then you want to suggest that it has moreor better features.If your product is less expensive,then youwant to focus on bettervalue and use a price comparison. 125
  • 127. But theres a word of caution. Your comparisonmust be totally accurateand be I007o fair or you could be sued by the companywhoseproduct you are comparing. 18. Testimonials: A testimonialis a good way to add cred- ibility if it is from a very credible person or organtzatron.This approachcan be usednot only in the copy but in the headlineor photo. Seeif your ad copy could use a celebrityfor a testimonial, but make sure the testimonial makes sensefor the product. When I was selling a space-age Midex security system,it made senseto haveWally Schirra, the famous astronaut,endorse my product.He did, and the product sold very well. If I were sell- ing basketballshoes,Michael Jordanwould be a natural. Make sure that the celebrity matcheswith the product and adds credibility. The use of a celebrity that doesnt make sense for your product or doesnt add credibility could backfire, have the wrong effect and kill salesif the offer is not believable. You can also use what I call a "reversetestimonial."That is where you dont use a spokesperson you refer to your com- but petitors. For example, when I was selling the Olympus micro recorder,I statedthe following: Headline:EndorsementBattle Subheadline: famous A golf starendorses Lanier. the Our unit is endorsed our president. by Youll save $100asa result. Copy: Judgefor yourself.That new Olympusmicro recorder shownabovesellsfor $150.Its closest competition a $250 is recorder calledtheLanierendorsed a famous by golf star. FANCY ENDORSEMENI The famousgolf star is a pilot who personallyflies his own Cita- tion jet. The olympus recorderis endorsed JS&A s president by who pilots a more cost-efficient single engine Beachcraft Bonanza.The golf star does not endorsethe Lanier unit for free. After all, a good portion of his income is derivedfrom endorsing products. our president,on the other hand, doesnot get paid for endorsing products-just for selling them.And his Bonanzais not as expen- sive to fly as the golf stars Citation. In fact, our presidentalso drives a VolkswagenRabbit. I then continued to show how inefficiently the Lanier was sold (through a direct selling organization) and how efficientlyL26
  • 128. the Olympus was sold (via direct marketingand throughJS&A). The conclusion:savingsof $100 for an evenbetterproduct-all becausewe didnt have our product endorsedby an expensive spokesperson. Another form of testimonial is from the man on the street- used primarily on TV. Ive used them extensively in my BluBlocker infomercials.And finally, another one could come from thosepeople who use your product and sendyou an unso- licited testimonial.Whatevertestimonialyou do use, make sure it is authenticand honest.The public will seeright through a lie and the FTC wont be far behind. 19. Price: Another important copy point to consider is price. Should the price be obvious?Should it be large? Small? Theseare importantconsiderations must be examined. and If youre selling a product or serviceat a very good price, then make the price larger.After all, you want people to seethat benefit very clearly. If the product is expensiveand its not the price that will sell it, you want to underplay Dont hide it; just it. underplayit. As I write my ad I havealwaysanticipated questions the my prospectswill ask. There is one exception.I never know when they are going to wonder about the price of the product. I have always felt that the point at which your readerwill want to find out about the price could happen anytime during the reading process. could happenbeforethey readthe ad. It could happen It halfway throughor it could happennearthe end.You must,as an effectivecopywriter,answerthe questionthat is being raisedby the readerwhen the questionis being raised. By putting the price in a logical position in the copy- whether it be in the coupon, which is the ideal place, or in the copy highlighted with a bold typeface-you are answeringthe questionthat the readeraskswithout knowing when the readeris ready to ask the question.The readersimply scansthe ad and if the price is in bold or in the coupon,the price will pop out and answerthe question. 20. Offer Summary: Its a really good idea to summarrze what you are offering the consumersomewhere near the end of your ad. "So heresmy offer. Order two pots with Teflon coating t27gT:
  • 129. and youIl receive the two pots plus our handy cookbook and video for the price of only $19.95."Youll be surprisedat how many ads miss this importantpoint. 21. Avoid Saying Too Much: This is probably rhe biggest mistake my studentsmake. They say too much. There are really two issueshere. The first issueis one of editing. It is normal to say as much as you can about a subjectand then refine the copy to a point where it flows smoothly.This usually meansediting and reducingthe copy length until it has rhythm and flows. This could take time and involves a few steps. First, say to yourself as you go through the editing process, "Is there a simpler way of saying this?" very often you can cut your copy down 50 to even B0%o still say the samething. Its and the differencebetweena salesperson who talks too much and one who is to the point and succinct.Wouldnt you ratherbe sold by the one who is to the point? There is anotherissue involved with not saying too much, and later in this book in Chapter 20 I explain how not saying too much will actually enhanceand even stimulate the selling process. ChapterlJ on editing also hasideaswhich will help you reduceyour copy. 22.Ease of ordering: Make it easyto order.use a toll-free number,a coupon,a tear-offreply card or any vehiclethat is easy to understand and use. My recommendation: Use a coupon with dotted lines. In tests,it usually generates more response because the dotted lines clearly convey at a glancethat you can order the product from the ad. 23. Ask for the order: Always ask for the order near the end of your ad. Believe it or not, this is often forgottenby many copywriters.At the end of an ad,I statethe following or some- thing similar: "I urge you to buy this at no obligation, today." Have you ever met a salesperson who has already sold you and you are waiting for the salesperson ask you for the order but he to or sheneverdoes?Its happened me. And it is one of the prob- to lems with a lot of inexperienced salespeople. Youve got to ask for the order,and if youre doing it right, it shouldbe at the very end of the ad where youve finished selling your prospect,sum- marized the offer and your prospectis ready to buy.I28
  • 130. These 23 copy elementsare points you want to considerwhen you are writing copy. Use this chapteras a checklistwhenyou get started.Considerall of thesepoints when you write anad. Can some of them be eliminated?Possibly.But simply byusing them as a checklist,you might discovera few deficienciesin your ad copy which can be correctedwith my suggestions andmight result in enhancingyour response. One of the other benefitsof the list is to give you an insightinto the relativeimportanceof the variouscopy elements. Some,like the ParagraphHeadings, have little purpose other than tomake the copy less imposing. Others,like ResolveObjections,can make a dramatic difference in the credibility of your copy. Use the convenient copy elements checklist located inAppendix C in the back of this book and make a copy to keepright next to your computeror desk when you are writing an ad. But the really interestingpart of my checklistis in the nextchapterwhere you11learn about the psychologicaltriggers thatneed to be consideredwhen you write an ad. You first learnedabout the 10 graphic elementsand their purpose(to get you toread the first sentence the copy) in Chapter4. You havejust oflearned 23 copy conceptsand how they are to be used. Nowlearn the 24 psychological triggers-the underlying motiva-tional messages that good direct-response copy should convey,often in subtlebut very effectiveways.When I was teachingmy seminarcourse,this was the part my studentsenjoyedthe most. So read on. r29
  • 131. |$ChaptenThe PsychologicalTriggers Thr is probably going to be the most interestingof the 5l points you want to considerwhen writing a direct response print ad or any kind of selling message. The first part of the 57-point checklist involves the 10 graphicelements an ad-those elements of designed get you to to read the first sentence. The previous chapter coveredpoints to considerwhen writing the actual copy. But now get ready for the psycholo that should be considered gy when writing your adver- tising message-conceptsthat took me years of failure, experi- enceand gradualinsight to understand and implement. You may understandand relate to some of these concepts right away. Some you may not fully understand without experi- encing them yourself. And finally, some will require a fairly detailedexplanation. If youve found this book informative so far, you will find this chapterfascinating.So lets start. 1. Feeling of Involvement or Ownership I was once told this story by a mastersalesman who worked at a TV and appliance store.He was the most successful salesman this storeeverhad.He consistently beatout all the othersalesmen. He had some very good salestechniques, but that wasnt what impressed me. It was the way he decidedin advance who his best prospects might be. What he would do was stand in the aisles watching cus- tomers walk into the store. He would observe them. If they walked up to a TV set and startedturning the knobs, he knew that he had a 507o chance of selling them. If they didnt turn the knobs,he had a I07o chanceof selling them. In direct response advertising,you dont have the opportu- nity of sitting in your prospectsmailboxes or in their living rooms observingthem as they read your salespresentation. You 131
  • 132. are not thereto seeany knobsbeing turned.But you can get them to turn the knobs by giving them a feeling of involvementwith or ownershipof the product you are selling. In all my ads I try to make the prospectsimagine they are holding or using my product. For example,in one of my earlier calculatorads,I might havesaid,"Hold the Litronix 2000 in your hand. Seehow easily the keys snapto the touch. Seehow small and how light the unit is." I create through imagination the readersexperience turning the knobs. of In short, I take the mind on a mentaljourney to capturethe involvementof the reader. makethe readerbelievethat he or she I could indeedbe holding the calculatorand experiencing very the samethings that Ive described. mentalenergycreatinga pic- Its ture for the prospect,whose mind is like a vacuumwaiting to be filled. In your copywriting, let your readerstake a stroll down a path with you or let them smell the fragrancethrough your nose or let them experiencesome of the emotionsyou are feeling by forming a mentalpicture from your description. If I were writing an advertisement the Corvette sports for car, I might say,"Take aride in the new Corvette.Feel thebreeze blowing through your hair as you drive through the warm evening.Watchheadsturn. Punchthe accelerator the floor and to feel the burst of power that pins you into the back of your contour seat.Look at the beautiful display of electronictechnologyright on your dashboard. Feel the power and excitementof Americas supersports car." I would still explain all the specialfeaturesof the car-the logic upon which to justify its purchase-but I would really play up that feeling of involvementand ownership. This technique is used in many different ways. In direct response,it is often referred to as an involvement device- something that involves the consumer in the buying process. Sometimes may seemsilly. Have you everreceivedthosesolic- it itations that say, "Put the yes disk into the yer slot and we will send you a trial subscriptionto our new magazine"?I often wonder who inventedthat seeminglysimplemindedandjuvenile concept.Yet, as direct marketerswill tell you, this type of in- volvementdeviceoften doublesand triplesresponse rates.Its nott32
  • 133. simpleminded at all but rather a very effective direct-response involvementtechnique. The readerbecomesinvolved in the solicitation.Similarly, your reader is either taking action or imagining taking action through the power of the words you write. The Involvementof TV TV is a greatexampleof involvement. You see,hearand can almost touch the product.It is no wonder that TV advertisingis one of the most effectiveways to sell. My own daughter,when she was four years old, clearly demonstrated how you can get involved in the salesmessage. There was a Peanuts ValentinesDay TV specialand my daugh- ter Jill was sitting and watchingthe show with her seven-year-old sister,April. My wife, who was watching as well, told me this fascinatingstory. Charlie Brownwaspassing Valentine out cards a classroom in and "SarahMary.Sally. . . wasreading names the recipients, off of Jill?" saidCharlie Jill. Wheres Brown.My daughterimmediately "Here."Shewasso involved watch- in raised handandsaid, her ing the showthatshethought wasa partof it. she , I I use involvement devices quite often. An involvement ,J devicethat ties in with what you are sellingcan be very effective. 4 Let me give you a perfect examplefrom an ad that I wrote. The ill ,,il resultsreally surprisedme. r{I The product I was offering was the Franklin SpellingCom- ! l , r puter-a device that helped correct your spelling.It was a nov- ttl elty when it first appearedand it sold quite well. Although I . ,,1 qq,t wasnt the first to sell it, I had a model that was a little more sophisticated than the first version. I examinedthe product and felt it was priced too high. But the manufacturerwould be pretty upsetwith me if I were to drop the price. So I tried an involvementdeviceas a methodof lower- ing the price. First, I wrote an ad that describedthe product but with an unusual premise. The ad that I wrote had several misspelled words. If you found the misspelledwords, circled them and sent the ad with the misspelledwords circled, you would get $2 off the price of the computerfor eachmisspelledword you circled. 133- d
  • 134. My concept was simple. If you didnt find all the misspelled words, you paid more for the computer,but then agarn, com- the puter was worth more to you than to somebodywho found all the mistakes. I ran the first ad in The Wall StreetJournal and the response pouredin. I also receiveda few phone calls from peopleI hadnt heard from in years. "Joe, I want you to know, I spent the last hour and a half trying to find all the words and I dont evenintend on buying your damn computer.I normally dont read the entire Wall StreetJournal for that length of time." I EvenMode More Money And the response was surprising.I anticipated that the read- ers would find all the misspelledwords. In fact,,even the word mispelled was misspelled.When the responsewas finally tal- lied, to my amazement, people only caught, on average,half of the words and I earneda lot more money than I had expected from the ad. And, of course,those who really neededthe com- puter got real value. The feeling of ownershipis a conceptthat is pretty close to the feeling of involvement,but here you are making readersfeel that they alreadyown the product and youre letting them usetheir imaginationsas you take them through the stepsof what it would be like if they alreadyowned it. An examplemight be, "when you receiveyour exercisedevice,work out on it. Adjust the weights. Seehow easyit is to storeunder your bed. . . ." In short,you are making them feel that they have alreadybought the product. Advertisingcopy that involvesthe readercan be quite effec- tive-especially if the involvementdeviceis part of the advertis- ing. Wheneveryou write an ad, keep this very importantconcept in mind. It can make direct response copy far more effective. 2. Honesty If I had to pick the single most important point of the 57 points, I would pick honesty.Your advertisingmust be honest. This doesnt meanthat if you are dishonest your message, in you wont achieve a successfulresult. Give the consumer a price134
  • 135. thats too hard to believe or a product that doesnt live up to itsclaims and you might be able to get away with it once, maybeeventwice, but not for the long haul. But this sectionon honestyis not aboutwhetheryou can getaway with being dishonestand for how long. Its about honestyas a psychologicalselling tool. First, lets start out with a veryimportantpremise. Consumers are very spnlf-smarter than you think andsmarter collectively than any single one of us. With all theexperienceI have in marketing products and with all the productknowledgeIve gained over the past 35 years,1loucan take myword for it, the consumeris quite sharp. The consumer can also tell whether people are truthful inwhat they are trying to communicate.And the more truthful youare in your advertising,the more effectively your message willbe accepted your prospects. by Try to lie in your copy and you are only deceivingyourself.Your copy will say what you think you wanted it to say, but itwill also say what you thought you coveredup. Even a reader who hurries over your copy can feel the difference. When I wrote a JS&A ad, I would include many of the neg- ative features of my products. I would point out the flaws up front. And of course,I would explain why the flaws really didnt amountto much and why the consumershouldstill buy my prod- uct. Consumerswere so impressedwith this approachand had r,f such trust in our message that they would eagerlybuy what we offered. J tr.,t And it seemedthat the more truthful and frank my ads ,4[[ were, the more the consumer responded.I soon reahzed that truthfulnesswas one of the best advertisinglessonsI had ever learned. Consumersreally appreciatethe truth. And since they are smarterthan you or I, you cant fake the truth. Theyll pick out a phony statement every time. I learned to make every communication to my customers truthful, whether it be on national televisionor in my print ads. And the more truthful I am, the more responsivemy customers. 135 d
  • 136. 3. Integrity Not too far from honesty is integrity. An advertisement a is personalmessagefrom an organrzatron an individual and is a or direct reflection of the writers personalityand integrity. You can conveythis integrity by the truthfulness your message, look of the of your ad, the image that you conveyand eventhe typefacesthat you use. Integrity can be reflected by the choicesyou make in the layout of your ad. Is it cleanand neat?Or is it shoutingout at you with color bars running in different directions and headlines screamingand words underlinedand pictures exaggerated? You get the idea.The integrity of the persondeliveringthe message is always amazinglyclear to the recipient.And this integrity is often reflected by the appearanceof the advertisementand the copy you write. Show good integrity and your advertising message will be well received.Dont show it and join the ranks of those who are rarely successful. 4. Credibility If you convey honesty and integrity in your message, chancesare youve gone a long way toward establishingyour credibility. However,credibility is not just honestyand integrity. Credibility is being believable. an ad for a productwhoseprice In is exceptionallylow, youve got to conveythat the offer you are making, as great as it may seem,is indeeda valid offer. Lets say you are offering somethingfor $10 that everybody elseis selling for $40.Yourjob is establishing credibility for your price. You might explain that you are buying a very large volume from the Far East and that you were able to buy the remaining stock from a major manufacturer a very low price. In short, for youve got to establishthe credibility of your companyand your offer. Credibility also means truthfulness. Does the consumer really believeyou? Rash statements, clich6sand someexaggera- tions will removeany credibility your offer may havehad. One of the most important factors that could affect credi- bility is not resolving all the objectionsthat are raisedin your136
  • 137. readersminds, suchas hiding somethingor avoidingan obvtousfault of the product or service.You need to raise all objectionsand resolvethem. Products that require installation or assembly ate goodexamples.If it is obvious that a product doesntjust pop out ofthe box readyto use,you must explainthat it doesrequireassem-bly. You might say somethinglike, "To make it easy,we provideyou with the tools. In our tests, it only took five minutes forsomebody with very little mechanical skill to put it together."Once again,it is the anticipationof objectionsand their resolu-tion that meansso much to the credibility of an ad. You are in essence sensingthe next questionthe consumermay ask and answeringit in a straightforward, honestand cred-ible way. The integrity of your product, your offer and yourselfare all on the line, and unlessyou conveythe highestcredibilityin your ad, your prospects will not feel comfortablebuying fromyou. When I appearon QVC-the TV home shoppingchannel-it is easy to sell a difficult product that normally would require alot of credibility. The reason:QVC alreadyhas a lot of credibilitywith their customers. a productis being offeredon QVC, it must Ifbe good. It must have the quality that customershave come toexpect,and chancesare the product will be bought by somebodywho has bought product before from QVC and alreadyfeels thatthe company is a very credible concern. In short, Ive piggy-backedmy productonto QVCs credibility, and the combinationofQVCs credibility and my products credibility is pretty powerful. The effect of credibility also extends to the magazinesornewspapers which you advertise. you advertiseyour prod- in Ifuct in The Wall StreetJournal, you are piggy-backingonto theircredibility and their constantvigilance,making suretheir readersarent being taken advantage On the other hand, place that of.samead in The National Enquirer and you then take on the lackof credibility that this publicationhas established the mind of inthe reader.Again, credibility is affectedby the environmentinwhich you place your advertisement. You can enhancecredibility through the use of a brandnameproduct.For example,if Im offering an electronicproductby the name of Yorx with the exact samefeaturesas one whose t37
  • 138. brand name is Sony,which one has more credibility? The Sony would probably sell betterif both were at the sameprice. Adding an appropriate celebrity endorser is another effec- tive way to enhance credibility.The name of a companycan, too. For example, there was a company by the name of The Tool Shack selling computers. This companys name actually detracted from the credibility of the product they were selling. We once ran the same ad in The Wall StreetJournal to test the effect of our JS&A name against a lesserknown name-Con- sumersHero. In the test, the JS&A ad far outpulled the other ad. Only the nameof the companywas different.Sometimes city or a statecan add credibility. Thats why some companieslocatedin smaller cities have offices in London, Parisor New York. The var- ious ways of adding credibility shouldbe an importantconsider- ation in crafting your advertising. 5. Value and Proof of Value Even if you are a multi-millionaire, you want to know that you are not being taken advantage and even more importantly, of, that you are getting value for your financial investment. In an ad, you want to convey,through examplesor by com- parison,that what the customeris buying is a good value.A typ- ical examplein one of my ads is where I comparemy prices to productswith similar featuresand point out that Im providing a better value. By positioningyour productand comparingit with othersor by proving the value of somethingeventhough the value may not be apparent, you are providing the logic with which the prospect canjustify the purchase. Simply educating the reader to the intrinsic value of your product is equivalentto lowering its price. In short,thereis a value associated with the educationyou are providing your reader. The buying transaction an emotionalexperience is that uses logic to justify the buying decision. You buy a Mercedesautomo- bile emotionally but you then justify its purchaselogically with its technology,safety and resalevalue. So justifying its value is somethingthat the consumerwantsto do before making an emo- tional purchase.138
  • 139. D V And with such intensecompetitionin the world, there ts a Am I buying the productquestionin the mind of the consumer:at the bestprice?" Once agarn,you must resolvethat questionoryou are not communicating effectively with your prospect. 6. Justify the Purchase One of the questions peoplemay think about while readingan ad is "Can I really justify this purchase?" Once agarn,it is aquestionthat is raised and then must be resolved.If you dontresolveit, then you wont answerall the prospects questions and "think about it" and, ofthis will give the prospectthe excusetocourse,neverbuy. Somewhere your ad, you shouldresolveany objectionby inproviding somejustification to the purchaser. Sometimes just itssaying, "You deserve And other times you might haveto jus- it."tify it in terms of savings(the price is a one-time-onlyvalue),healthreasons (protectsyour eyes),recognition(the men in yourlife will love the way you look in it) or dozensof other reasons L Ibasedon the wants and needsof your prospect. "Joe, when I read your ads,I Ive often had peopletell me,feel guilty if I dont buy the product."Thats quite a compliment ;i,l Iand probably due to the way I justify a purchase the mind of in ithe consumer. The higher the price point, the more needthereis to justify 1,rthe purchase.The lower the price point or the more value theprice represents, lessyou haveto justify the purchase. fact, the In ,r:r) Ithe lower the price, the more greedplays a role. 7. Greed Greed in the form of attraction to bargainsis a very strongmotivating factor. I dont know how many times Ive boughtthings eventhough I didnt needthem simply because they werea bargain. Dont hesitateto recognrze greedas a very strongfactor ineither low-priced merchandise expensiveproductsoffered at orlow prices.Too low a price may diminish your credibility unlessyou justify the low price. Many peopleare willing to risk dealing
  • 140. with an unknown vendor and pay lessjust to get somethingmore for their money.Providing the consumerwith more than what is normally receivedfor the price is a way of appealingto the con- sumersgreed. In one of my earlier adsin The wall streetJournal,I offered a calculator for $49.95 and the manufacturergot really upset with me. "That product should have sold for $69.95 and now I have dealersall over the country calling me and complaining," screamedthe manufacturer. "Dont worry," I said. "Ill correctit." So I ran a small ad in The Wall StreetJournal announcingmy error, raising the price from $49.95to $69.95and giving consumers just a few days to respondat the old price. Even though the size of the ad was con- siderablysmaller,it outpulled the previousone as peoplerushed to buy the calculatorwithin thosefew days at the $49.95bargain price. Greed is not a techniquethat can be employedall the time. But it should be recogmzedas an effectiveelementthat plays on everybodys weakness. When you lower the price of a product,you usually end up with more unit sales.Keep lowering the price, and youll con- tinue to generate more unit salesthan before if the price drop is big enough.Go too low and youll have to add a little justifica- tion for the lower price as it will start raising credibility issues with your prospects. Greed is really not a very positivehuman trait. But it exists and it is a force to consider when communicating with vour prospects. 8. Establish Authority Theresalwayssomethingthat you can say aboutyour com- pany to establishyour authority, size,position or intention.The consumerloves to do business with expertsin a particular area. Thats why the trend is away from departmentstoresthat sell gen- eral merchandise categorystores to that sell a specificline of prod- ucts. Thesestoreshave more expertise, knowledgeand authority in a specificcategory. For example, for years I would call JS&A Americas140
  • 141. largestsingle sourceof space-age products."What I was really doing was establishing authorityof JS&A as a major supplier the of space-age products.The words "single source" really meant that we shippedour productsout of a single location. We may not have shippedmore space-age productsthan Searsor Radio Shack, but we shipped more out of a single location and we specialized only in space-age products. Establishingyour authority is somethingthat should be done in eachad regardless how big or how little you are.For of example, Americas largest supplier of speciahzed products for the chimney sweepindustry."(One of my seminarpartici- pants was actually in the chimney sweepindustry.)Or even if you are the smallest,you can always say, "The hardest-work- l l ing bunch of guys in the advertisingbusiness."If you really examine your company, you will find something that you can say that establishes your authority and expertisein what you are selling. Then, after you establishyour authority,thereis going to be the temptation to stop using the phrase that establishedyour authority.I know that when we had run our phrasefor almost six years I wonderedif we really neededit. But there were always thosefirst-time readerswho caughtthe ad and neededthat reas- surancethat they were dealing with an authoritativecompany in the field in which they were contemplatinga purchase.That ti phrasegavethem the confidence. ,! Sometimesit is easy to establishauthority by virtue of the f name of the company.American Symbolic Corporation"was a .1 companyI set up once and which soundedlike it was a very big il "Jack and Eds Video" doesnt sound very big at all. operation. t, Computer Discount Warehouse gives you a pretty good idea of their authority.It has name recognition,plus it tells you what it is through its name. People Respecl Authority Peoplenaturallyrespect knowledgeable a authority.Lets say you want to buy a computer. You might first check with the expert in your neighborhoodwho is known as the neighborhoodcom- puter genius.Lets call him Danny.He hasestablished author- his ity and you feel quite comfortablegoing to Danny to get advice. Hell thentell you what he thinksyou shouldbuy andfrom whom.II t4lIII
  • 142. And chances are, hell recommend some retail outlet that has establisheditself with some level of authority. It might be the cheapest computercompanyor maybe the companythat provides the best service.YouIl seekout the type of authority you need. Sometimesthe authority doesnot even have to be statedbut can be felt by the copy,the layout or the message an ad. Estab- of lish your authority in the field of the product or service you are selling and youll find that it will make a big differencein your copys effectiveness. Let me give you a personalexampleof somethingthat really illustratesthe point. As I was about to walk into a local business supply store in Las Vegas,a young lady came running up to me and said, "Please,could you help me?" I was a little surprisedby the suddenness her approach of and, in fact, first thought that there was somekind of emergency. "Sure, whats the problem?" Almost with tearsin her eyes,she answered, "Im about to buy a computerand Ive picked out the one I like the most, but I need somebodyto tell me if Ive made the right choice. If you know about computers, could you come in the storewith me and give me your opinion?" I agreedand went into the store with her. The girl explained that she was attending college at UNLV (the University of Nevadaat Las Vegas)and since this was her first computer,she neededreassurance from somebodywho knew computersthat this was a good and wise purchase. She told me how most of the people in the store really didnt know that much about comput- ers. I looked over the computerand, having pretty good knowl- edge about home computers,told her that she had indeed made a wise choice and that the computer was also a good value. I pointed out someof the technicalfeaturesthat would help her in her schoolwork,and althoughshe didnt have any idea of what I was talking about, she felt that she was making the right choice I because said so. Nobody Wqnts to Mqke o Mistoke Relieved, she thanked me, and then was off to buy her new computer.As she was walking aw&1i, looked over her shoul- she der and said, "Ive worked hard for my money and I didnt want to make a stupid mistake."r42
  • 143. Before you bought a computer, you may have first called somebody who was a partial expert on computersto ask for an opinion. You too wanted reassurance and confidence about the purchaseyou were making-that the money you were about to exchange a computerwas going to be spentwisely.The same for holds true when you buy anything of value.you just want reas- surance.If, however,you can trust the sales organLzation the as experts,then you wont need any outside expert opinion as theyoung studentneededin the example above. Even after you buy something,you often seekconfirmationthat your purchasewas a good one. The late direct marketingconsultant Paul Bringe oncewrote: "One of the first things we do aftet making a sizablepurchaseis to seek assurance from othersthat our decision was a good one. We tell our family, our neigh-bors, our friends and our businessassociates and wait for theirapproval." one of the surprises had while taking orderson our phone Ilines at JS&A was the number of customerswho statedsome-thing like, "I bet thats one of your best-sellingproducts." Inmany cases,it wasnt. But in every case,wheneverI mentionedthat the product they had just purchased was indeeda very pop-ular product,therewas always a commentlike, "I just knew thatit was." Peopleneed reassurance that they have made the rightpurchase. T 9. Satisfaction Conviction tl.! when you saw this heading,you might havethought we are I riHtalking about the trial period. Indeed, a trial period could bedefinedas a form of satisfaction conviction."If you arent totallysatisfiedwith my product within one month, you may send itback for a full refund." But that isnt what we mean here. Sure,every direct responseoffer should have a trial period. After all,the consumerneedsto touch and feel a product to make a deci-sion about whether to keep it. So the trial period provides thebuyer with a level of confidence. The consumercan changehisor her mind if it is not exactly what he or she is looking for. But a satisfactionconviction is more than a trial period. Itbasically conveys a messagefrom you to your prospectthat
  • 144. says,"Hey, Im so convincedyou will like this productthat Im going to do something for your benefit to prove how incredible my offer is." If your potential customer,after reading what you are going to do, sayssomethinglike, "They must really believein their prod- uct," or "How can they do it?" orAre they going to get ripped off by customerswho will take advantage their generosity?"then of you know youve got a greatexampleof a satisfactionconviction. Let me give you an example. When I first offered BluBlocker sunglasses, said in my TV advertising,"If youre I unhappywith BluBlockers,Ill let you return them anytime you want. There is no trial period."A lot of people thought to them- selves,"That must be a good product or otherwisethey wouldnt make that offer." Or they may have said, "Bo], are they going to get ripped off." In either case, I conveyed a conviction that my customerwas going to be so satisfiedthat I was willing to do somethingthat is rarely done. In one ad, I stated,"If you arent happy with your purchase, just call me up and I11personallyarrangeto haveit picked up at my expenseand refund you every penny of your purchaseprice including the time you took to return the product." Tesling q Sotisfqction Convicfion Once I was able to test the power of a satisfactionconvic- tion. In an ad I wrote for the companycalled Consumers Hero, I was offering subscriptions a discountbulletin showing refur- to bished productsat very low prices.But rather than just mail the bulletin to prospects, formed a club and offered a subscription I to the bulletin. I testedvarious elementsin the 700-word ad. I changed headlineand testedit and improvedresponse 207o. the by I changedthe price and saw little changein total response. The lower the price, however,the more orders I received.But when I changed just the satisfactionconviction,the response doubled. rate In one ad, I said, "If you dont buy anything during your two-year subscription,Ill refund the unused portion of your subscription." In the secondad I stated,"But what if you neverbuy from us and your two-year membershipexpires?Fine. Send us just your membershipcard and well fully refund your five dollars plus sendyou intereston your money."r44
  • 145. In the first ad, you see a basic, simple trial-period typeoffer. In the secondversion, however,1louseean offer that goeswell beyond the trial period and can be classifiedas a satisfac-tion conviction. In the test, the responsedoubled even though the satisfac-tion conviction was at the very end of the ad. This meant thatpeople read the entire ad and then, at the very end when thatimportant buying decisionhad to be made,the satisfaction con-viction removed any remaining resistanceto buying into theconcept. If you have gotten the reader into the slippery slide and allthe way to the end of an ad, its that last part of the ad where | 1"youve got an awful lot to do. Think about it. Youve got toexplain the offer to the prospect,why its a good offer and whyhe or she should buy the product, and then youve got to dosomethingdramatic to push him or her over the edge-all withinthe very last part of your salesmessage. Its like a salespersonasking for the order and then also saying, And if you buy thisfrom me now, I will do somethingthat few salespeople would doto ensureyour satisfaction." The right satisfactionconvictionis importanttoo. The idealsatisfactionconviction should raise an objection and resolve it,as Ive indicatedin the previouschapter,but in resolving it, gobeyond what peopleexpect. It was effective in my ConsumersHero ad becauseit tiedperfectly into resolving any last-minute resistance.First itraised the objes[isn-(What if I dont buy from your bulletinover a two-year period?" And then I resolved it with a satis-faction conviction-something that went beyond what peopleexpected. But be careful to use a satisfactionconviction that makessensefor the offer. You wouldnt want to raise an objection andthen satisfy it with the wrong resolution.Make sure any objec-tion is indeedsatisfiedby the correctresolution.In short,its gotto make sense. The satisfaction convictionis a critical part of the salesmes-sageand few rcahzeits importance.Yet, if you can createa pow-erful satisfactionconviction, this simple device will do a greatdeal for the success your offers. of 145
  • 146. 10.Nature of Product This is one of the really importantkeys in determininghow to sell a product. First, you have to realtze that every product has its own unique personality,its own unique nature,and its up to you to figure it out. How do you presentthe drama of that product?Every prod- uct has one very powerful way of presentingitself that will expressthe true advantages and emotion that the product has to offer and motivate the largestnumber of people to buy it. Remember the Midex burglar alarm that I sold for many years through full-page ads in national magazines? What was the nature of that product and how could I motivate people to buy it? I explainedthat in Chapter2. I used the security system as an example of the nature of products.This was an unusual product becauseit had a unique personality.The product categoryitself had its own profile. By reahzing the nature of every product and playing to its strengths, you will end up with a very powerful and emotionally dramatic presentation. Think aboutother examples. What is the natureof a toy? Its a fun game. So you bring out the enjoyment.What is the nature of a blood pressureunit? Its a seriousmedical device that you use to check your blood pressure. Note the word serious.What is the natureof a burglar alarm?Its a seriousproductthat should be easyto install, work when it is supposed and provide protec- to tion to concernedhomeowners. Very often, common senseis all you needto understand and appreciate natureof a product. the Realizethat you must understand natureof the product the you are selling or you wont effectively sell it. 11. Current Fads There are always a number of fads taking place at the same time. One might be a clothing fad, anothermight be an unusual expression made popular by a TV show or commercial,or a fad might be a popular trend. There are also fads in direct response. TV right now, the On hottestproductsare exercisedevices.There was a time when realI46
  • 147. estateshowswere popular.Be awareof the currentfads so you candeterminethe hottestproductcategories alsothe new language andof our time. You want to recognrze them and harmonizewith them. A good example of recognizing fads and knowing what todo with them comesfrom an experienceI had with Richard Guil-foyle, a direct marketerfrom Boston. He had a strong senseofhistory and prided himself on creatingreplicasof historicAmer-ican objects-Paul Reveres lantern, a statue of George Wash-ington at Valley Forge, a salt and pepper set from the time of theRevolutionaryWar. In 1975his companywas doing quite well. And no wonder, the country was about to celebrate itsbicentennial anniversary,and this class of merchandisewasbeing recognizedas a way of celebratingthe birth of our nation200 yearsago. Saleswere brisk. Richard was capitalizing on this :,.current fad for American Revolutionary period products. i ,;l Then the bottom of his business fell out. Salesplummetedand he couldnt figure out why. And it all happened just prior toJuly 4th, 1916-the date of the bicentennialcelebration. When he attendedmy seminar,he was really quite disap-pointed with his business.What happened?I suggestedthatmaybe it was because people were associating merchandise hiswith the anniversary of the United States.Since that date had alreadypassed, salesreflectedthis perception. his "My products But Richardinsistedthat this wasnt the case. have true historic significance and have nothing to do with the 1 t bicentennial."Could I simply look at his copy and help him improve it? : After looking over his copy,which was actuallyquite good, it[,, I saw clearly what the problem was. He had not recognrzed that consumers perceivedhis productsas part of the excitementof the bicentennialand not as apart of American history that they could saveand own. He then showedme a few ads he had preparedas a result of attendingmy seminar.One of them was for a necklacecon- sisting of a small replica of a Paul Reverelanternthat had a dia- mond in the center representingthe candle. It was a beautiful piece of jewelry. "You have a winner here. This ad I read the copy and said, will do well-not because the historic natureof the necklace of 147
  • 148. but because the beautifulpieceof jewelry that it is. Youre now of sellingjewelry, Richard,not good old Amerrcana." Sureenough,the ad was a huge success he soon realized and how a powerful fad can grow and fade. Fqds Generqte Publicity I used fads as a way of generatingpublicity when I was doing public relationsfor a few of my clients. One owned a ski resort and was trying to increasethe awareness snowmobiles of at his resort. the time, duringthe mid to late At 60s,the womens lib movement was new, strong and vocal. I suggested that the resort owner ban women snowmobiledrivers and issue a press releaseproudly announcingthe fact. He did and the publicity went national.He rescindedhis ban and snowmobilesalessrew dramaticallyfrom the nationalpublicity and attention. At the same time, one of rny accounts-Jerry Herman, owner of the Spot pizza restaurant near NorthwesternUniversity in Evanston, Illinois-wanted national publicity too. Women were in the middle of an unusualfad-throwing their bras away and going braless. I suggestedto Jerry that he design a bra- shaped pizza and he too got nationalpublicity.While thesepub- licity stuntsmight seem a bit silly in retrospect, back then they were effectivebecause they tied into a fad of the times. Later I usedfads as a way of selling products.When it was uncovered 1973 that Nixon was using phone-tapping in equip- ment to record all his phone conversations, there was enormous publicity about it. I immediatelyput togethera JS&A offer of a systemwherebyanybodycould tap their phonesand ran the ad in The Wall StreetJournal under the headline"Tap Your Phone." That ad was a mistake.The FBI showedup at my door, The Wall StreetJournal threatened neverto run my ads anymoreand evenworse,I didnt sell many of the systems and lost moneyon the ad. Cqtch One qt the Right Time On the other hand,I caughtanotherfad at just the right time. Rememberthe Pocket CB that I describedearlier in Chapter2? By calling my walkie-talkiea PocketCB because broadcast it on the CB frequencies, was able to capturea major chunk of the I walkie-talkieand CB market.148
  • 149. The minute there is a lot of publicity about somethingand it has the potentialof turning into a fad., considerthe possibility that its a good signal for you to exploit the opportunity. A fad can die just as quickly as it can grow. So you must capturethe moment early enoughand get out right after the fad peaks.The peoplewho came out with radardetectors when they becamea fad did exceptionallywell. A few of them attended my seminarand wrote great ads and built their companiesinto very successful entities. one of the companiesselling radar detectors-cincinnatiMicrowave-sent threeof their top peopleto my seminarbeforeit really took off and became $140 million companywith over a$40 million in profits. But be careful.I can tell you stories(I should say night-mares) that show how dangerousfads can be to your financialhealth. During the watergate scandal,I once introduced ,.Thewatergate Game-a game of intrigue and deception for thewhole family." But no store would carry it becauseof the con-troversyand I lost my shirt.I oncecreated Batmancredit card theto capture the Batman fad of the 60s and printed 250,000 ofthem only to be denieda licenseto sell them. But as you can see,knowing how to recognrzea fad andcapitalizeon it can be a very powerful tool if your timing is right.This brings us very nicely to the next topic. 12.Timing ,i J How many times have you been too early with an idea or Itoo late? Ive heard complaintsfrom many of my studentswho {thavefailed because their timing just wasn,tright. Timing certainly has a lot to do with fads.you want to beinvolved at the beginningof a fad and not enterin the middle orthe end.Thats smarttiming. But thereareproductsthat havejustbeen introducedtoo early or too late, and that relatesto timingtoo. when do you introducea new product?Is America ready forit? And how do you know? The answerreally is quite simpre:Nobody knows. Thatswhy every product that I sell, I always test first. The consumerwill alwaystell me if Im too early or too late or right on target. t49
  • 150. When crime increased,it was good common senseto offer burglar alarms.When the o.J. Simpsoncaseunraveled,therewere plenty of opportunitiesto capitalizeon it and the media sure did. President Carter went on television in 1980 and repri- mandedAmericans, accusingus of running up too much debt. "Stop using your credit cards,"was his suggestion. And millions of Americans did just that. Direct-responserates plummeted overnight.Teststhat we had previously run and which showed great promise were coming up as losses.Our timing obviously was bad but through no fault of ours. Knowing the causeof the problem helpedus keep our sanity. Its just as important to know when the timing is bad. We came out with a product called the Bone Fone, a portableradio worn aroundthe neck.It was perfecttiming until a productcalled the Walkmancameout and killed our new product.Timing. It can kill a product or make it. I once ran a media test on an electronicblood pressure unit we were thinking of putting in our catalog.I thought it would do well and when the results were presentedto me, I was amazedat how well it had done.Armed with a greatdeal of confidence,I placed a major national advertisingcampaign in all the maga- zines we normally advertisedin-spending almost $300,000at the time. But even before the ads started to run I discovered that the report I thought was so good was actually producedin effor. The product did not do well in the test and in fact did quite poorly. Since I had alreadyplaced the advertising,I bracedmyself for the bad response. But my timing proved to be coincidentally right on target.About the sametime as the ads startedto run, the American Heart Associationstartedrunning a major advertising campaign suggestingthat Americans take their blood pressure regularly.Our sales jumped and what was destined becomeone to of our biggestlossesturned into a nice profit. And we even won the Life ExtensionAward from the Life ExtensionAssociation for our work in alerting the public to the needfor measuringtheir blood pressure regularly.150
  • 151. 13.Desireto Belong The desire to belong is a strong motivational factor in mar-keting but it is often not appreciated. Think about it. Why do people own a Mercedes?Why do they smokeMarlboro cigarettes? Why do certain fads catch on? It could bethat these people buy a specific product becausethey subcon-sciously want to belong to the group that alreadyowns or usesthat specific product. In the caseof Marlboros,the smokerssubconsciously wantto join that group of smokerswho haveresponded the rugged towesternimage the cigarettesad agencyhas created. The people who buy a Mercedesoften want to belong tothat specialgroup of Mercedes owners.Do you think its becauseof the specialbraking or suspension system?Forget it. Theyre ugoing out and spending megabucksto b,ry something thats ,,maybe slightly better than many of the other automobiles. Theother cars can take you to the same placesat the samespeedandyet these people-all very intelligent-will go out and spendplenty more to buy a Mercedes. And the list goeson. You name a product that has an estab-lished image and Ill show you a consumerwho, somewhere inhis or her subconscious value system, wants to belong to the group of people who own that product. Fashion, automobiles, cigarettes,gadgets,whateverthe category-the consumerwhobuys a specific brand has been motivatedto buy that brand by virtue of the desireto belong to the group of peoplewho already own that brand. ., I When Volvo discovered that its customer basehad one of the lllrrr highest educationallevels of any of the car manufacturers,they publicizedthis fact.They then noticedthat when the samesurvey was conducted a few years later, the percentagejumped even higher.The increase was caused, my judgment,by the associ- in ation that other highly educatednew buyerswantedto make with the Volvo owners-they wanted to belong to that group. "Well, what abouthermits? Ive had my students to me, say Dont tell me they havethe desireto belong." And my answerwas that they want to belong to the group of people who are hermits. To belong to the group meansyou 151
  • 152. dont necessarily have to be with anyoneor be very social.And identify. The Mercedes owner maybe the key word here is wants to be identified with the classor group of peoplewho also own a Mercedes. 70s was the ulti- Owning a Rolls-Roycein California in the mate statussymbol. I couldnt believehow impressed peoplewere with other peoplewho owned one. Being a midwest boy and not growing up on the car-conscious West Coast,it was culture shock to reahzehow much a Rolls meant to somebodyfrom the West Coast.Yet when you look at the car, it is one of the most conser- vative and old-fashioned-lookingautomobileson the road today. The desire to belong to and identify with a group of people who own a specificproduct is one of the most powerful psycho- logical motivators to be aware of in marketing and copywriting. But one of the best examplesI can give was a personalexperi- ence,which leadsme to my next psychologicalpoint. 14. Desire to Collect There must be a natural instinct in the human raceto collect as I learnedfrom my marketing experience. If you are selling a collectible,its pretty easyto understand that this urge exists and therefore,as a direct marketer,you need to capitalizeon it. But often overlookedis the fact that it can be usedto sell any other producttoo. Lets take the watch buyer.An enthusiastic watch buyer is your perfect prospect for another watch. When I was selling watchesin print, I would sendmailings to thosecustomerswho had previously orderedfrom me and offer them other watches.I receiveda greatresponse. My best list for watchesconsisted my existingwatch owners.Now you would of think that if you had a watch, what would you need anotherone for? Wrong. Many peopleactuallycollectthem.Theyll havesev- eral watches,severalpairs of sunglasses, severalpairs of jeans, a library of videosor compactdisks.The list is endless. Im always amazed the numberof dolls collectedby QVC at viewers. Some of the viewers are older women, long past child- hood, yet among QVCs most avid collectors.And they have dozensof dolls.rs2 E
  • 153. Small car models are also sold on QVC. They are someof the most popular products.And not to be outdone,theremust be thousandsof viewers who own many BluBlocker sunglsssss- often in severaldifferent styles. The point is, when selling, whetherin print or on TV, recog- nrze that there is a very largeYoud be amazedat what people segmentof the population who, for whateverreason,has an emo-collect. tional needto collect a seriesof similar products. Theseproducts bring greatjoy and satisfaction and in somecases utility. And think aboutthosewho collect the real cars.Many who can afford them have collections that range up to hundreds of full-sized automobiles.What kind of emotional need are thev fulfilling? One of the ways that direct marketersoptimize on the col- lecting instinct is by sending,free of chargewith their very first shipment,some sort of deviceto hold the collection. I can rememberordering a seriesof silver airplanetails with various airline logos embossed them from the Franklin Mint. on I startedcollecting them to seehow the Franklin Mint conducted its program rather than from any interest in collecting airplane tails. I receiveda beautiful chest with cutouts for each of the sil- ver tails.And they cameonce a month and eachmonth I put one more tail in the chest.I looked at my collection eachtime I put in a new tail and felt the pride of knowing that my tail collection was growing. Finally, I had enoughto filI the chestso that when guests came over, I could display my entire tail collection. I finally soberedup and stoppedcollecting. It was costing me a small fortune, and after all, the only reason I had started was for the research. And the collection was kind of silly to begin with. The airlines were either merging, going out of business or changing their names so fast that even the Franklin Mint couldnt keepup. But it was this experience that convincedme that therewere lots of opportunitiesfor selling to collectors. 153
  • 154. 15. Curiosity If I had to pick the one major psychologicalreasonwhich makesdirect marketing so successful today,it would be curiosity. At retail, a customer can touch and experiencethe product first- hand and then decide.A mail order customercant do that. The product might look good and do exactly what the customer expects it to do, yet there is always that level of curiosity that "What is that prod- makes the product attractiveto the prospect. uct really like?" might be the typical thought of a prospect. When I sold BluBlocker sunglasses TV I deliberately on created an enormous amount of curiosity. I had my subjects- ordinary people we would find on the streets-try on a pair of BluBlocker sunglasses. would then videotapetheir reactions. I Some of the reactionswere great and when I presentedthem "What was it like to look on TV the viewers were wondering, through these glasses-that pair of sunglasses with the orange lensesthat was making everybodygo wild?" I didnt take the TV camera and look through a pair. That would have destroyed curiosity and would not have given the the true picture of what the sunglasses would do for you. (Your brain adjuststo the color shift when you look throughthe lens,whereas the TV camera does not.) Instead,I enhancedcuriosity by not showing the view. The only way you could look through them was to buy a pair.And buy the public did-almost B million pairs from a seriesof commercialsthat ran for six years. Curiosity also works well with books. You can tease prospects telling them what they will find out by readingyour by books. In fact, the strongest motivating factor in selling books is curiosity, followed only by notoriety and credibility. Becausea prospectcant touch or experience the product, curiosity is the strongest motivating factor in mail order.Immedi- ate gratrficationis the strongestfactor in retail. So if I recognize that fact and can deliver your product promptly-lef5 say with FedEx-Im capitahzingon the curiosity in mail order and coming close to the retail advantage. Ive sold productsrelying completelyon the factor of curios- ity. In 1913I offered a pocket calculatorwithout ever showing a picture of it. By creating such compelling curiosity about that154
  • 155. product, I sold thousands them. Sure the price was good and ofthe product was great,but without showing the product or evenmentioning the brand name, I was still able to make the sellingmessage very compelling. How do you use curiosity in selling your products?Firstreahzethat when you sell books, curiosity is the key motivatingfactor and you shoulduse it as your prime selling tool. But real-ize also that there are many other products that lend themselvesto holding back part of the story in order to arousecuriosity andcreatea demand. show too much, tell too much and you run the risk of killingwhateveradvantage you had using mail order as a medium. A friend of mine, SteveDworman, who publishesan info-mercial trade newsletter,was fascinatedby my successusingcuriosity as the main selling tool in my BluBlocker commercial.He thoughtto himself, "Could the sametechniquebe usedto sellsomethingthat was impossibleto sell on TV in a direct responsecommercial?Like perfume?" So he organrzed shootingof a thecommercialusing curiosity as its main motivatingfactor. In the commercial,everybodywas raving about the perfumebut there was no way the TV sets allowed viewers to sniff itunless they bought Stevesproduct. The commercial generatedenoughcuriosity to work. How many times have you said too much, shown too muchor failed to use the power of curiosity? It is one of the leading " I lmotivating factorsin all direct response marketing. lrrf1 : 16. Senseof Urgency You might havealreadyfigured this one out.Youve sold theprospect.The prospectbelievesin your product and is ready tobrry.But like many of your customers, this one says,"Well, letme think about it." It is a proven fact that when this happens,chancesare theprospectwont buy.And the reasons really very logical. First, arein time that excellentsalesmessage you wrote will most likelybe forgotten. Second,if youre lucky and it isnt forgotten, itwont have the sameimpact it had when it was first read. That 155
  • 156. old saying, "out of sight, out of mind," holds true in a caselike this. Therefore,to avoid the delayingtactic,youve got to provide prospectswith an incentiveor reasonto buy now. In fact, if you do your job right, the customerhas to feel guilty if he or she doesnt buy right now. But how do you do it? First, heres what you dont want to do. The prospecthas spenta lot of time with your ad and youve convincedhim or her to buy. The one thing you dont want to do is blow your integrity at the very end of the ad by making a statementthat is not true. A statement like, "If you dont respondwithin the next few days, we11 sold out," or someother deceitwill turn off the prospect. be So be careful.Whateveryou say at the end shouldbe the truth and should be crafted to maintain the same integrity expressed throughoutyour ad. Now, what can you do to provide a senseof urgency?Some ads reek with a senseof urgencyand nothing has to be said.For example,I once ran a retractionfor an ad which said that the price listed for a calculator was the wrong price and that the new price was $20 higher,but you had a few days to purchase product the at the old price before the new price went into effect. That approach was an integralpart of the conceptand provideda sense of urgencythat was obvious and very much real. You can also convey a senseof urgencyby offering limited editions.oWe only have 1,000setsand this will be our last adver- tisement" can be persuasiveand motivate the buyer to act right away. You might have a greatad with a good sense urgencybut of a fatal error might still kill your ads effectiveness.What is that fatal error? Omitting important information that the buyer needs in order to make that buying decision.Then the buyer has the excuse,"Theres a questionI have but Im too busy to call and find out the answer," or a similar excuse.In short, even a great senseof urgency can be wasted if you leave out some critical information in your ad copy. You can use the senseof urgency in many different ways- low supplies,closeoutopportunity,price rise, product shortages, limited-time price opportunity or limited-edition opportunity. How about"Buy now so you can startenjoyingthe benefitsof my156
  • 157. "Buy one during the next three daysproduct tomorrow." Or evenand youll get a secondone free." Another way to provide a senseof urgencyis through your "Well ship your purchasevia FedEx if youshipping methods. "Since you are one of our cus-order by (a certain date)." Ortomers,you can buy this wonderful productprior to our nationalintroductionif you order by (a certaindate)." We used to run all our new product introductions with thephrase,"National Introductory Price."This didnt meanthat muchbut it raised the possibility that the price was the introductoryprice and later might go up. In actuality,the prices of calculatorsand electronicsalways went down, so we eventuallydroppedthatphrase. The number of possibilitiesis limited only by your imagi-nation.The sense-of-urgency statements always go at the end ofyour advertising. And if there are two critical locationsin youradvertising,they are the very beginning and the very end. And itis at the end where the sense urgencyand severalother impor- oftant conceptsmeet and must be consideredand blended seam-lessly together. 17. Instant Gratification This is a big advantage retail. Think about it. At retail, atyou pick somethingup, hold it, touch it and look it over com-pletely.You can make your decisionto buy and then you can takeit home with you where you can enjoy and use it immediately.You dont have that advantagein mail order. So to compensate, you should convey to your customereither the advantages orderingfrom you via mail or the assur- inancethat you ship promptly and that the customerwill have hisor her purchase within a few days. The effort by direct marketersto provide that instant gratifi-cation-shipping promptly-has made mail order one of thefastestmethodsof distribution in the United Statesand has thustaken a greatdeal away from the retail industry.I can call a com-puter mail order company and order a piece of softwareon Mon-day morning anduseit by Monday evening. Thats so much easierthan running to the store, parking, finding the right department
  • 158. and then having to deal with the salesclerk. no wonder mail Its order has taken a dramatic bite out of manv of the traditional retail categories. The mail order computer industry created giants such as Dell and Gateway 2000 that speciahzein next-day delivery. And so if you have a product and want to capitalizeon the main advantage that a retailer has, find a way to ship your mer- chandiseout quicker, deliver it faster and provide better service than any retailer could ever offer. 18. Exclusivity, Rarity or Uniqueness These are very strong motivating factors for the right prod- uct or the right situation. The conceptis to basicallylet the prospect feel that he is spe- cial if he buys a particularproduct-that he will belong to the very small group that can be envied for owning this very limited item. The emotional appealof this approachis quite strong.Every- body likes to feel special.Most peoplewould like to belong to a rare group that owns a product that few peoplecan own and enjoy. By limiting the number they produce,somemarketing com- panies have come up with a very strong appealfor consumers. The Franklin Mint-a multi-million-dollar business-was built on the premise of the limited edition, first with coins and then later with everything from plates and cups to model cars and dolls. Anything you could collect and they could limit was fair game for the Mint. The thought behind the limited edition is also to provide value. As people build various collectionsof things, the objects grow in value if othersstartcollectingthe samegoodstoo. Soon, the collectionscome to the attentionof the massmarket and that attractsmore collectors.Then the value of the collectionsreallv startsto grow. Thosecollectibleswhich havea limited circulationor a lim- ited number in circulation grow in value even more.And theres alwaysthe story of somebodydiscoveringan old heirloom in the atttc worth a small fortune. There are exceptions of course- silver airplanetails, to name one. One of the appeals an exclusiveitem is the possibility of of1s8
  • 159. extra future value implied by limiting the circulation of thatproduct. The power of exclusivitywas driven home to me in Octoberof 1980 when I was in Minocqua,Wisconsin.It was right after Ihad given a seminar. At the seminar site, for the enjoyment of the participants,I kept a stable of six snowmobiles.Whenever I would give aseminarduring the winter, I would havethesemachines availablefor my studentsduring their breaks.Riding snowmobileswas alot of fun and everybody loved to drive them. Then one day thepresidentof Mattel Electronics,Jeff Rochlis, broke his arm in abad snowmobileaccident.That endedour snowmobileprogram. I now had six snowmobiles in my garagewith not manypeople to use them. Out of curiosity,one day I visited the localsnowmobile shop-the same place that sold me the six that Iowned.I obviously didnt needany more but wantedto seewhatsmall improvements were addedin the new models. "Well, Paul, I walked into the shopand askedthe salesman,whats new for this year?" Paul took me over to a snowmobilethat was proppedup on "This baby is our new oil-cooleda small riser and pointed to it.model that goesover 100 miles per hour and sellsfor $2,600." At the time, snowmobiles were sellingfor under $ 1,000andtheir top speedwas around40 miles per hour so this new modelwas obviously special.But regardless how special it was, I ofalreadyhad six and I certainly did not need any more. I turned to "Who could possiblywantPaul and in a matter-of-fact way said, a snowmobile that could go 100 miles per hour and cost $2,600? irlHow ridiculous." Paul chuckled,"Well, there are only going to be six sold inthe entire statethis year.Weve only been allocatedtwo of them and we alreadyhave one sold." "Ill take this one."Yes,I endedup I then quickly blurted out, buying it. I wantedto be one of the few who owned this powerful new machine.I wantedto feel that I was part of a uniquegroup and that I was special.And eventhough I didnt needany more snow- mobiles,I endedup buying it and I was proud of the fact that I did. It was this incident that made me reahze the power of exclusivity,uniqueness and rarity. 159
  • 160. 19.Simplicity You must keep your advertisingcopy simple.The position- ing of your product must be simple.Your offer must be simple. In short, you want to keep your entire presentationas simple as possiblewhile still gettingacross your message. There are times when you want to turn something simple into something complex. We talked about that in the previous chapter under the topic "Product Explanation." But that rule appliesto marketingissuesand here we are looking at the basic psychologicalmotivator of simplicity. What does this mean in terms of your advertisingcopy? I like to tell my studentsto focus. Focus on what you are trying to accomplish and eliminate things that either complicate your presentation arent necessary. or This doesnt mean you write copy that is so simple a third gradercan read it. Thats not what we meanby simple.The copy should be able to be read by the less educated people as well as the more educated and come acrossclearly.It is not good style to write either "up" or "down" to anybody. The use of big words to impressis one exampleof writing up to somebody. Youre trying to impresswith your use of words while somebodyelse who might not be familiar with your fancy words will be lost. Use simple easy-to-understand words. Words are, after all, stories-emotional images-each having an impact sometimesgreater than we think. Using simple words has the greatest impact. Using words that everybodycan understand has a greaterimpact than words that most peoplehave difficulty with. And keep your layouts simple. Tests have confirmed that things like color bars acrossan ad, fancy type that is difficult to read and lines that draw your eyes away from the copy can hurt comprehension.Fancy typefacesmay look good but they often give the lowest comprehension scores. Simplicity ls q PowerfulTool If you have a tendency to complicate things, youre not going to succeedin writing good direct-response advertising copy.Be awareof this importantpoint as you decidewhich type- face to use, how you want to presentyour product and the offer you want to make.160
  • 161. A good exampleof how simplicity works in direct responsehappenedto me when Murray Raphel, a dear friend and a greatpublic speaker, approached me. He had been in touch with thepeoplewho had developed SwissArmy watch and wondered theif I would be interestedin marketing the product in the UnitedStates. Yes,I was.A meetingwas arranged which I was going into seethe line of watches. At the meeting I was presented with three styles and threecolors in each style for a total of nine different watches.Onewas a mens style, the secondwas for women and the third wasfor children. The colors were black, red and khaki. I examinedthe watches, learned the history and in general became veryknowledgeableabout the watches themselves.Then came thebig question. "Mr. Sugarman, youve examinedthe watches. What do youthink?" I looked over the watches,thought for a few minutes andanswered,"Id like to run just the mens watch in black rn TheWaHStreetJournal to test the concept." "Why The watch company executives looked perplexed.dont you offer all the styles?Look at how many more peopleyoull reach if you offer nine different styles. YouIl reachwomen and children in addition to men and youll give them alla color choice." I told them that in my experience, keepingit simple was thebestapproach and that offering a customertoo many choiceswasa very dangerous thing to do. "Logic But no matter what I said, they would not agree.says,Mr. Sugarman, that offering more of a choicewill result inmore sales." I then came up with an idea to prove that I was right. I AlB split."offered to run two separateads in what is called anThat is where TheWall StreetJournal will print two separate ver-sionsof the same ad-version A and versionB-to be deliveredin the same areaat the sametime. So one home will get one ver- sion of the ad while the next-doorneighbormight get versionB.This was a very good way to test two different ads to determinethe winning approach. I offered to do the test and ran the two ads with almost 161
  • 162. identical copy and graphics. One of the few differences was that in ad A, I showed the mens watch along with the childs watch for size perspective,whereas in ad B, I showed just the mens watch. I then listed each one of the choices-nine in all-in ad A and just one in ad B. When I finished the ads, the A version actually looked better than the version with only one choice. When both versionsran, the ad that featured only one mens watch out- pulled the other version that featurednine mod- els by a surprising 3 to I ratio. In short, for every watch we sold from the ad that featured the nine styles, we sold three in the other ad that showedjust the one black watch. I knew almost instinctively that to give the consumera confusing array of choicesmeant Enlist that the consumerwould back off and not buy. NOW Join the Sviss Amv. When would I show all these nine Tbey need a few good men. A gaod deal and watches? Later, in my catalog. Once Ive locatedthose people interested SwissArmy in watches, would then show them all nine mod- I els in the catalog. By the time the catalog reaches customer, or shehas beenquali- my he fied as a watch buyer. I can now offer a larger selection. Another good example of the power of simplicity occurredduring the productionof a half-hour TV commercial I was doing for a pill that reduced wrinkles and improved the skin. Called Miracell, the product was truly revolu-Both sds were tionary. I had been taking it for a few monthspractically identical and noticed dramatic results.We did two double-blind studieswith ad A (top) that proved that the product really did work. But there was oneoffering ninedffirent models major problem.and ad B (bottom) For maximum effectiveness, had to take two pills a day youoffiring only one. for the first three months and then reducethe intake to one pill a dav.162 b
  • 163. This violated my principles of simplicity and I was veryconcernedthat the consumer was going to be confused.Youmake it easy initially to buy a continuity product and then lateryou raisethe price. For example,the first video in a video seriesoffered on TV may cost only $5. It is a simple offer and it isntvery expensive. You then buy the video and to get the rest of theseries,you must pay $19.95 a month to receive a video eachmonth for the next 12 months. I was going the opposite way. For the first three months,pills would cost double what they would cost during the fourthmonth and beyond. And here I was recommending taking twopills a day for three months and then one pill a day for the rest ofthe time. It was really confusingand not very simple. So I did two thingsto ensurethe success this show,which ofwe had already spent hundredsof thousandsof dollars to pre-pare.The first was to have the host in the show verify the dosageand tell how the program worked even after I had explained it.We devoted almost three minutes to explaining the complicatedoffer in order to answerall anticipated questions. But somehowI knew that the first offer was too complicated.And so I preparedan alternateoffer just in case.For the second "MiracellversionI shotadditionalfootagewith just a simple offer:costs$25 a box and a box lastsone month."That was it. It was verysimple and very easy to understand. knew that I would have to Isupplymy customers with a doubledosefor the first threemonths,so threeboxeswould be at my own expense this secondversion ifof the ad worked and the complicatedfirst version did not. Sure enough, after testing, the version that worked was thesimple one; it outpulled the first one by a very large number.Weended up giving away an enormous amount of product in orderto keep the offer simple and make the program simple as well. Simplicity in direct response critical and quite necessary. isThe two examplesabove are just a few typical experiences frommy many yearsof direct response marketingin variousmedia. 20. Human Relationships It is always important to relate the product or serviceyouare offering in human terms. How the product will fit, how it will 163 -
  • 164. feel, how it will look-all are just some of the ways you can relate.That may seempretty obvious. But there are other ways that copy or graphics can bring a human elementto an advertisement. And lets look at why this is important. Buying is an emotional human experiencewhen we ex- change our hard-earnedmoney for a product or service.And becausewe worked hard for that money, the act of buying repre- sentsmore thanjust handingover our money.Buying something becomesan emotionalevent. Resonoting with Your Prospect Now lets considerfor a momenta physicaldevice-specifi- cally a tuning fork. Im talking about the onesthat look like a U- shapedpiece of metal. Clang one of the metal tines and you hear a vibration. Take two tuning forks and if they are of the same frequency and you hit just one, the other one will start vibrating eventhoughit did not comeinto physicalcontactwith the first one. Taking this experiment one step further, if you take several tuning forks and put them together and hit them all, they will createa harmonic frequencyall their own. And if you just happen to know what that combined frequency is and have a tuning fork that matches that frequency, then it too will start to vibrate in resonance with all the other tuning forks. In creatinga direct response advertisement, is importantthat it you createa condition where your customeris in perfectharmonic resonance with your copy.We talked earlierin this book aboutget- ting the prospectto startnoddinghis or her headin agreement until the close.And the close becomeseasierbecause prospectis the already nodding yes in agreement. then becomeseasierto say It yes when that final questionis posed:"May I haveyour order?" If you look at all the elements an advertisement a series of as of tuning forks that must resonate with your reader,youve got a valuable picture of the dynamics that take place during the sell- ing process. One tuning fork might be the headline,anothermight be the picture,anothermight be the caption,and on to the first sentence and through the copy to the final offer. In a print ad, the vibrations must be conveyedthrough the elementsin the advertisement.164
  • 165. In order to createthesepositive vibrations, you first mustinterest the prospectin reading your copy and then you mustreally "tune in" and relateto your prospect. You can add a human element by relating a story in yourcopy. Storieshold peoplesinterest.I discussthis techniqueinChapter 22. Or you can use a byline and write copy in the firstperson using a conversational tone. This makes your copy amore direct communication from one individual to another.Using humor in a light, nonoffensiveway will also develop ahuman relationshipwith your prospect.The humor can relate astory in a folksy way as in my ad for the Pet Plane in Chapter "humanness"of the personmarketing30 or it can bring out thetheir product or serviceas Ive done in my ad for the Magic Statthermostat in Chapter 29. Another approachis to use a picture of a human hand hold-ing a small product.The hand addssize and perspective what tois being presented and also addsthat human element. You can use attractivemodels.Peoplelike to relateto prettywomen or handsome men eventhough they may not themselvesbe attractive.In a subtle sense,they want to belong to the groupof people in the picture. On the other hand, you dont want touse a picture of yourself if you think someof your readersmayrespondnegativelyto it. Especiallyif you look like a beardedvillain from some B-rated movie. In short,in your advertisingyou want to use as many posi-tive human elements as you can without risking any negative vibrationsfrom emotionalreactions. And if you do your job right, your advertisement will have its own vibration-so much so that somepeople will be able to pick up that vibration and almost feel that they know you. 21. Guilt Have you ever receivedmailings from charitiesthat includea small gift? The gifts are usually address stickers, colorfulstamps or some other inexpensivetoken. Or how about thosemailings with surveysthat include a dollar bill or a reply envelopewith a return stamp?In both casesyou may have experiencedaslight touch of guilt. After all, youve receivedsomethingof value 165
  • 166. and you feel an obligation to take some action in return, such as sending in a donation or answering the survey.These are good examples the useof guilt. But how do you usethis technique of in a print ad when you cant include stickersor a dollar bill? Ive had many people tell me that after they read one of my ads, they not only are compelled to buy my product, but feel guilty if they dont. Instead of giving them stickersor a dollar bill, I give the readerplenty of compellinginformation and read- ing entertainment-so much so that they sensean obligation to respond.In a print ad, often the mere repetition of seeingan ad in severalmagazinesworks to createa slight senseof guilt. Repeatedmailings also create guilt. Keep sending some- body mailings and after a while, they may feel guilty that they havent responded. usedthis techniquewhen I sold ski lifts for I a company called Ski Lift International.Each week I sent out a small mailing with a premium gift enclosed. One mailing would have a button, anotheran unusual mailing piece and still another an involvementdevice.After a while, many of the recipientsfelt guilty and responded. Some even apologizedfor not responding earlier. 22. Specificity Being specific in your explanations very critical and can is establishyour credibility. Let me first give you an example.If I were to say, "New dentists everywhereuse and recommend CapSnapToothpaste," soundslike typical advertisinglingo- it puffery designed sell a product.Its so generalthat it will prob- to ably causea viewer to discountthe statement you havejust made and maybe everythingelse you say. But if I said, "92Voof new dentists use and recommend CapSnap Toothpaste,"it sounds much more believable.The consumeris likely to think that we did a scientific surveyand that 92%owas the result. When people perceivecertain general statements puffery as or typical advertisingbabble, those statements are at best dis- countedand accepted with somedoubts.On the otherhand,state- mentswith specificfacts can generate strongbelievability.I once wrote an ad for a company I createdcalled Battram Galleries-a collectiblescompany.In the ad I statedthe exactcost of running166 - )
  • 167. the ad, the exact cost of the product and I clearly demonstratedthrough specific figures that we werent making any profit fromthe offering. It was so successful,it was oversubscribed. Iveusedthis techniqueon video as well. In my BluBlocker infomercials,I statethe specificreasonswhy blue light isnt good for your eyes.I explain that blue lightfocusesin front of the retina (which is the focusing screenof theeye) and not on the retina as do the other colors. So when youblock blue light, you block those rays that dont focus on yourretina and therefore objects appear clearer, sharper and moredefined.Im specific.It soundsbelievable. And the statement isa lot better than just saying,"BluBlocker sunglasses you see letclearer,sharperand with more definition." If youre describinga productthat is designed the circu- forlatory functions of the body, you can talk about "242 miles ofblood vessels"instead of "miles of blood vessels."When youtalk about the bottom of your feet, insteadof saying,"There area lot of nerve endings at the bottom of your feet," you can say,"There are72,000nerveendingsat the bottom of your feet."Youare stating a fact as opposedto a generalor vague statement. Youare more believable.You Sound More like qn Expeil Theres one other benefit to being specific.By being spe-cific you sound like youre an expert on your product-youvereally investigated and are very knowledgeable. it And this toobuilds trust and confidence. People,in general,arevery skepticalabout advertisingandoften dont believe many of the claims statedin ads. But whenyou make a specificclaim using the exactfacts and figures,yourmessage much more credibleand often trusted. is 23. Familiarity The Kowloon sectionof Hong Kong is an exciting but veryforeign part of the city. Its storefronts,hordes of people andmany soundsand smells make for a very unique and excitingplace to visit. It is different. And when you are in Kowloon,America seemsawfully far awav. r67
  • 168. I was walking down the street absorbing the energy of the areaand stoppingoccasionallyto look in a storewhen suddenly, right in front of me, I saw one of my American supplierswalking down the sidewalk. What a surprise.What a totally wonderful feeling to see somebodyyou know in a totally lonely and foreign place like Hong Kong. Although previously I hadnt been that friendly with the supplier,I suddenlyfelt close.I askedif he was availablefor din- ner and I made an appointmentfor that evening to get together and spendsome time with him. As a result, he endedup selling me a lot more than I normally would have bought. The contrast of seeing somebody with whom you are familiar in a totally foreign setting creates a strong attraction. And so it is with advertising. An Ad os on Old Friend If somebodyis reading a magazineand seesyour advertis- ing formnt-sspething they have seenmany times before-and recognizesyour logo or company name, there is a feeling of familiarity. They seea friend in an environmentof foreign adver- tisers and to them youre not foreign. You are familiar and as a result, there is an attractionto your offering just as I was attracted to my supplierin Hong Kong. Advertise enough times or sell a product whose name is familiar to your prospectand you will createthe sameattraction. That is why brand namesare so important; that is why the famil- iarity of a shoppingenvironmentis also important. When I first appeared QVC, the home shoppingchannel, on we sold out our entire inventoryof BluBlocker sunglasses within minutes.When our sunglasses first appeared retail shelvesin on the Walgreens drug chain, they quickly sold out within a few days.In short,our productwas well known to the consumer. Each time we introducedour product to a familiar shoppingenviron- ment, the combination of brand name familiarity and a familiar selling environmentcausedan immediatesellout. Even the word familiar or familiarity has the word fam- ily in it. Peoplefeel most comfortablewithin their own family. They feel confidentand trustingand allow themselves be more to vulnerable.So it is with anythingpeople are familiar with. They168 = I
  • 169. trust a brand name, are more confident that they are buying theright product and are more inclined to do so. One of the biggestmistakestraditional advertisers make is tokill campaignsthey havebeen using a long time because they are "Fly the friendly skiesof United" and "You deservetired of them.a break today, at McDonalds" are but a few examplesfamiliar toconsumers. addition, consumersoften sangalong during these Incommercials.Too often in traditional advertising,the client getstired of the commercial long before the public does. In direct marketing, a decision to drop a commercialapproachis not arbitrary.You keep running your product or ser-vice ad until the public tells you when to stop by virtue of lowersales.The orders simply stop coming in or you have replacedyour ad with somethingthat pulls more response. Good direct- "tweaking"marketingtechniquecalls for continuallyrevising oryour ad until it does better. But you never drop a campaignbecauseyou are tired of it. Drop it only when the public stopsexchanging their hard-earned dollarsfor your productor service. Now the traditional agencieswill tell you somethinglike, "Well, we asked a focus group what they thought about our slogan and they said that they were getting tired of it, so we are going to pull it." This is a major fallacy too. There is no real way to test the effectiveness a commercial except by virtue of of sales.Focus groups only tell you what they think you want to hear and not how they would act themselves. the product If isnt selling, then look at the campaign.Maybe it isnt even the campaignbut rather competition or some other element in the marketing mix.Use FomiliorWotds There are certainwords that are more familiar to most peo-ple and to the human consciousness. example, if you ask Forsomebodyto give you a number from 1 to 10 right off the top oftheir head,chancesare the number 7 will be chosenmore oftenthan any other number-often dwarfing the next choice. There- "The Seven Waysfore, using the numberl in a book title suchas or "The SevenSpiritualLaws ofto ImproveYour Relationships"Success"is utili zing the most common and familiar integer ofthe first ten. You are therefore vibrating with the familiar andharmonizing with your reader. 169
  • 170. Ask somebodyfor a color off the top of their head and the answerwill be red the majority of the time. Ask them to name a piece of furniture and the answerwill likely be chair. There are familiar words that can create a very subtle harmony with your readerand its up to you to find them and use them. Where do you find them? Many books have been written on the effec- tive use of words that really draw response.Books by David Ogilvy or John Caplesare good onesto read.A list can be found in Appendix D. There are somepowerful words such as sale or free. And then there are the not so obvious words-the ones that relate specifically to your product and which you, as a pas- sionate devotee of your product, inherently already know. Finally, there are words that arent in your own consciousness and arent in any books but will only be discoveredby testing. Sometimes,changingjust one word in a thousand-wordad will doubleresponse. As a copywriter, be awareof the powerful force of familiar- ity to make a person comfortablewith your product or service. Realize the importance of a familiar brand name, a logo that appears many times and becomeswell known, a layout that peo- ple instinctivelyknow is yours,familiar phrases (not clich6s)and words that your public can harmonrzewith-all of these create the bond that familiarity creates betweenyou and your prospect. 24. Hope Hope can be a great motivator in the buying process.A woman buys a new face cream that offers the hope it will make a differencein her wrinkles. An intensegolfer buys a new golf ball that offers the hope it may take a few strokesoff a golf game.In short,thereis an implied possibilitythat using a productor service will provide a future benefit. The future benefit is not assurednor is it guaranteed; is a dream,a fantasyor, at the most, a possibil- it ity. The hope replacesthe reality of an already-delivered benefitor guarantee that you receivewhen you buy other productssuch as a radio or a computer.Let me cite a few personalexperiences and describehow hope appliesto specificproducts. I was introducedin 1996 to a very successful scientist.He had supposedly invented a formula that cured a great many170
  • 171. "biologicalhuman ills. The formula containedwhat he calledrepair machines"that went to the sourceof a malfunction in yourbody and repaired it. If an organ was damaged,theseminiature"machines" would repair the organ even if it meant regeneratinga new one. You placed a few drops of this product under your tonguetwice a day and it was absorbed into your body. In a discussionwith the scientist,it occurredto me that ifpeople took this product they would never die, if indeed it "Im taking it andrepairedany defectivebody part. He agreed.honestly feel I am getting younger. Look, -y gray hair is start-ing to turn black again." The scientistcontinuedclaiming that there was no reasonwhy his formula couldnt keepus alive until the age of 300. Thissoundedincredible to me. If this was true, this man had indeeddiscovered fountain of youth. the The scientist appearedto be very credible. He had severalPh.D.s,and I honestlythoughthe was one of the smartest peopleI had ever met. He had three manufacturingfacilities in differentparts of the world. He had a reputationthat extendedall the wayto Europe and Asia, and he told me how he helped an Asiancountry cure many of its citizens of a specific form of cancer. His discoveryof the biological repairmachines cameto himfrom uncoveringformulas that were hidden in coded ancient arti- "sacredgeome-facts and through the processof what he calledtry." He had apparentlycrackedthe code and openedup a wealthof information. He spenttwo hours showing me photographafterphotographto substantiate information he had receivedfrom thethe artifacts. I had a health problem that was not seriousbut for whateverreason,doctorsdid not know its causeor cure.The problem wasa few small growths beneaththe surfaceof my skin. They werenot cancerous,others hardly noticed them and they posed nohealth threat. But they were there and they were not normal.Surgery Wqs lhe Only Woy The only method doctorshad for eliminating thesegrowthswas to cut open the skin and surgically remove them-a rela-tively easyprocedurethat was done on an outpatientbasis.
  • 172. I was told by this scientistthat indeedhis formula could elim- inate the problem completely. "In just a few months theyIl be gone," he said. In short, I received from him an explicitly clear time frame during which my growthswere going to melt away and disappear. The promise wasnt in the form of a hoped-forresult or a dream or even a possibility. It was a definite warranty that they would disappear. I was so impressed him and his discoveries he seemed by and so credible that I decidedto put his product to a test.A 750 ml bot- tle (the size of a wine bottle) of his formula sold for $600. It was rather expensivebut it lasted a long time as you only used a few drops each day and it was less costly than the surgicalprocedure. A Few Months Go By After a few months,I noticed that the growths were not gone as I had been promised.I was then advisedto buy his stronger formula-the one with a higher concentrationof biological repair machines. did, at a cost of $2,000.Still no improvedresultsafter I two more months. I was then told that there was a S20.000bottle that would do the job (boy, they saw me coming) and believe it or not, I was temptedto get a bottle. I didnt. Note: In all fairnessto the scientist. therewere clinical stud- ies done on rats with his formula by a credible pharmaceutical company and there were very positive results with the rats. The researchis continuing now on humansand he may have indeed createda powerful new medical concept. What did I learn from this experience?The doctor should have simply told me about how his formula improved his life. I trusted him. He had all the credibility I neededfor me to ingest this foreign substance into my body. What if I could live to 300 years of age?What if indeed I could becomeyounger?I would have gladly taken the formula and continued purchasingbottles of it with the hopesthat I was right abouthim. ScientistMqde Fotql Error But the scientist made a fatal effor. Had he not made any claims to me about specific expectedresults, I would not have been disappointedbut would have continued taking the product waiting and hoping that the stuff would kick in and dissolvethose172
  • 173. growths. I would, on the basis of hope, have continued taking itand buying more. But once a specific promise was made and Isaw that the formula didnt work within that time frame, I imme-diately refused to invest further. The scientists credibility wasquestionedeven though he may have had a gteatproduct. When using the psychologicaltrigger of hope, 1lou mustavoid the trap of making a specific claim that can be measuredorguaranteed. You want to allude to what the product is used forwithout making any promisesof an exact outcome. There are other products people buy repeatedly,on hope.Lets take vitamins for example.Can people tell if taking vita-mins makesa differencein their health?Yes, somecan. Interviewa bunch of people and theyll swear the vitamins are making adifference. Capture those interviews on TV and they are veryimpressive. Then prospects, impressed with the resultsshownonTV start buying the product and continue to buy it regularly withthe hopesthat it is making a differencein their lives. But the keyhere is not to make a specific promise but rather to imply resultsthrough testimonials. How does this apply to selling in print? There are someproductsthat are sold using hope as a strong motivationaltool.You needto determinethe natureof your product and find some-thing that you can imply about a future result without stating aspecific guarantee (particularly if you want to stay in businessfora long time). Many product categorieslend themselvesto the power ofhope.The entire health food industry is a good example,includ-ing vitamins, food supplementsand even brain enhancers. Low-ering your golf score, finding a new relationship, preventingwrinkles, impressing your date-all are good opportunities to recognrze psychological trigger of hope at work. theFocuson Gredibility One aspectto focus on when you create an ad using thepower of hope is credibility.If you presentyourself as a credibleperson representinga credible company,then what you say willelicit a feeling of confidenceon the part of your prospect. Then,whatever you say your product did for you or for your previouscustomers will be takenas a possibilityfor your prospect,and the 173
  • 174. power of hope will compel your prospect to order. And reorder. It might be a book on relationships and how the information changedyour life and thoseof previousreaders. might be on a It formula you take to live a long life and how wonderful you feel. whatever you are selling, with the proper credibility, you will automaticallyengagethe power of hope to sell. The precedingchapteris very important in your understand- ing of the underlying reasonswhy people buy. Some of the 24 psychologicaltriggers to buying may not have been obvious to you before. Nevertheless, awareness each of thesepoints an of will give you a tremendous boostin becominga greatcopywriter. The following chapteris also very importantin understanding the mental processthat takes place in your prospectsmind. It will help supercharge information you have already learned. the174
  • 175. 20 Getting the Mind to WorkDhapten Huu. you ever gone to a movie and known how it was going to end after watching the first few minutes? Or a movie where every action can be easily anticipated? Thesemovies tend not to be very enjoyable. However, the opposite is true when you watch a movie that keeps you in suspense until the very end when it reachesa cred- ible surpriseending. Any movie that is not predictableis more enjoyable. What forces in our mind are in effect that make one movie seema lot betterthan another? I have a theory-one that I strongly believe in-which I feel comespretty closeto the answer. lUAxiom The more the mind must work to reach a conclusion success- fully, the more positive, enjoyableor stimulating the experience. I taught this concept at my seminarfor many years,and one day one of my participants brought me a copy of a media newsletter which confirmedwhat I had beenteaching.The article claimed that a missing element was responsiblefor advertising failure-a lack of whole-brain appeal. The article went on to explain how scienceis rapidly dis- covering that different parts of the brain perform different func- tions and how some brain researchers suggestingthat human are beings experience the most pleasurewhen all parts of the brain are engaged pleasurable in levelsof stimulationand activity. The four parts of the brain discussed were thosethat control thinking, intuition, sensationand emotion. The theory suggests that advertisingwhich pleasurablyengages senses, the emotions and thought processas well as our innate intuition will tend to be successful, while advertisingwhich merely grabsthe attentionof the senses will tend to be only temporarily attractive.Most adver- tising tests today reflect the power of day-after recall but fail to predict the response from whole-brainadvertising. 175 -
  • 176. Lets look at how whole-brain advertising applies to copywriting. If you make your copy too obvious, the reader is feeling either looked down upon or bored. Provide a little suspense that the so readerhas to come to a conclusionon his or her own using intuition, thinking, sensationand emotion and youve got a very good force working for you. Let me cite an example from an ad I wrote on digital watches. The ad was for an alarm chronograph digital watch. At the time, Seiko was the standardof com- parisonfor this type of watch. They were the first out with the new technology. The following paragraph from the ad bestAnything thatcausesthe mind exemplifieswhat I am talking about:to work hard toreach a conclusion TheSeiko chronograph alarmsells $300. for Thewatch j"*- costscreates a positive, elers$150.And jewelers love the item,not only because the ofenjoyable or excellent reputation the Seikobrand, because probably of but itsstimulating effect Americas best-selling new expensive digital watch.And Seikoon the brain. cantsupplyenough themto theirdealers. of Now note what I didnt say but what was rather obvious. Read the quote again to seeif you pick it up. What I didnt say was that the jewelers were making a small fortune eachtime they sold a Seiko.I didnt haveto say it, yet the readerscould come to their own conclusion all by themselvesusing their intuition, thinking and emotions.Had I made it too obviousby adding the line "and jewelers are making a small fortune,"it would not have been as powerful. The mind had to work a little to reach a con- clusion through its own thoughtprocesses. This is a very subtlebut powerful concept.Its the difference between talking down to a prospect and making the prospect think along with you. And it is one of the most difficult theories to understand. Working Hord BringsAppreciqtion To get a better appreciation for the theory, think back in your life to those times when you had to work hard to achieve something and how much more you appreciated what you achieved.176
  • 177. I remember all the work I had to go through to get myinstrument rating after getting my private pilots license. It tookme months of flying and studY, not to mention thousands ofdollars in expense.And when I finally received my instrumentrating, it was one of the thrills of my life. On the other hand, when I took my commercial rating test,it was simple. Not that much study, very little flying and withina few weeks I had the rating. Sure I was proud that I was finallya commercial pilot, but nowhere near as proud as I was of myinstrument rating. Working hard for a successful conclusionbrings a greatdeal of personalsatisfaction. The sameholds true for the mind and the thinking process.Anything that causes mind to work hard to reacha conclusion thecreatesa positive, enjoyableor stimulating effect on the brain. The opposite is true if the mind does not have to work hard and the conclusionis obvious. You appreciatethat sale to a difficult client a lot more than the one to the pushoverwho bought the very first minute. When a very difficult product is given to me to sell and I am success- ful, I get greatpleasurefrom it. But give me a really easy prod- uct-something that is alreadyin demand-and I dont havethe samefeeling of satisfaction.Vogue Descriptions Promote Work When Hemingwaydescribed beautiful women in his books,he was never very specific. He used generalterms and let hisreaderspicture them in their imagination. And so it is with copywriting. If you make your copy tooobvious, the reader feels either paffontzed or bored. Make thereaderthink to come to a conclusion,and you createa very stim-ulating mental effect. Another good exampleis the experience had with a jog- Iging machine.It was a small flat platform on which you joggedin place, with a separateunit that had a digital readout show-ing the distanceyou were jogging. It was an inexpensive solu-tion that allowed you to jog indoors.I showeda dramaticviewof the unit and the readoutand explainedits use without show-ing the readersa picture of how it actually looked with some-body jogging on it. I felt that showing a jogger was showing 177
  • 178. too much and that the drama of the unit was all that was needed to sell it. It sold fairly well. But then I startedgetting pressurefrom my Japanese supplierwho couldnt understand why I didnt have somebodyjogging on the unit, thereby showing clearly how the product was used. They were convinced that sales would increase. disagreed decidedto do as they recommended I but and even put the ad in color, whereasbefore it had just appearedin black and white. The ad bombed. TellingToo Much Will Hurl q Sqle Telling too much in copy or even in photography can actu- ally harm a sale. Have you ever met salespeople who said too much when selling? Im sure we can all remember one who didnt know when to stop talking. How do you write copy that doesnt say too much?You do it in the editing process.You go over your copy after youve writ- ten it and you edit with the thoughtin the back of your mind, Am I saying more than I have to? Am I challenging my readers minds?Am I being too obvious?" Im convincedthere is a chemical processthat takes place in the mind that secretes wonderful-feelinghormoneseach time we have to stretchour minds a little. And the results can make a dramatic difference in how effective you are at getting your prospects exchange to their hard-earned money for your product or service.178
  • 179. Bhapter2l a Cure, Not Prevention Selling On" of the least understood reasonswhy many products fail is due to one aspectof human nature.Understandthis aspect and not only do you hold the key to creating a successfuldirect response ad, but you will also understand clearly why some products just plain dont sell. The key to successfullymarketing certain products lies in the nature of that product and the way that product is viewed in the marketplace.The guiding principle can be summed up very clearly: Always sell the cure and avoid selling prevention. Now what doesthis mean?Let me explain.If you were my prospect and I tried to sell you a magic pill that contained an extractof carrotsand varioustincturesof leafy vegetables because it would help prevent cancer,chancesare it would be a difficult sale.On the other hand, if you suddenlydiscovered you had can- cer and I said to you that I had a magic pill that would cure the disease, you would be not only willing to try it, but willing to pay considerably more. In the first instance,you might be willing to pay $20 a bottle to preventthe disease in the other you might but be willing to pay $1,000if it would cure the disease. Humon Noture of Ploy The aboveis an extremeexample.But lets take something less extreme.Youre a traveling salesperson and stay at hotels a lot. Somebodytries to sell you a spray that you put on your feet before you go to sleepto preventathletesfoot which might come from walking on a floor that hasnt beencleanedthoroughly. You ignore the salesmessage because you rarely get athletesfoot, and besides, a bother to use.The next week you get athletes its foot and youre atthe cornerpharmacytrying to find the strongest thing theyve got to cure it. The two situationsillustratetwo generalprinciples.The first: It is human natureto think youre nevergoing to get the disease or affliction that the preventativecan prevent, so it becomesa very tough sell. The second:If you do get the diseaseor affliction, 179
  • 180. youre willing to pay a whole lot more for the cure than you were for the preventativeand its easierto sell. I have been talking in medical or health terms.But this the- ory also applies to severalother products and concepts.Ill go into thosein a moment,but lets examinethe first step in break- ing through the cure/preventative theory and seeif you can make the appealof the preventativeas strong as the appealof the cure. It can be done, but only if you can position the product to make the preventativethe cure. Let me cite an example: when the Midex burglar alarmswere first sold by JS&A in the late 70s, it was definitely a product that was more of a pre- ventative.However,I also knew that there were people who were recentlyrobbedor whoseneighborswere recentlyrobbed,and to thesepeople,the Midex alarm was more of a cure. Think about it. At first they thought, "Naw, our neighborhood safe.I dont is need one." And then after their neighborhoodwas robbed and they needed a cure, "Bo!, Id better get one of those Midex alarms or else I may be next." And of course, there was the prospectwho had just been robbed:"Where did I seethat ad for that burglar alarm?" I also knew that if I advertised H€uto gug1Lke ,,, ALARM UM?ANY ? in a professional manner and I NEE7 aUrcK// )A/t,.. explainedthe quality and value of my product and its quick and easy installation,as opposed using the to scare tactics expressed through quoting crime statistics, I would attracta different kind of customer. I would attractthe person not quite threatened but concerned-a per- son to whom the product did not The consumer waited until he currently representprevention or afelt threatened cure. In short, it was for somebodywho hadnt been robbed and before he bought. whose neighborhadnt been robbed,but who reahzedthat there was a problem out there.This last group would savemy ad, and when they neededit, they would take it out of their files-often after severalmonths-and call. This actually did happena lot. Twenty years ago, The club automotive steering wheel locking devicewould havebeena tough sale.Back then,car theft180
  • 181. was not as big a problem as it is now. But with the increaseindrug traffic today and with thousandsof cars being stolen everyhour, The Club has become more of a cure against your fear ofhaving your car stolen. The big rage in health food and prevention as I write thistoday is the melatonrn craze.This is a hormone secreted naturallyby the pineal gland-a pea-sized object at the centerof the brainIt is supposed to help prevent aging. With millions of babyboomersturning 50, it has suddenlybecomea very big product-more of a cure than a Preventative.Mony Producfs Mqke Poweful Cures When I sold my wrinkle pill, Miracell, it too was a cure. Ifyou have wrinkles, you afe a gteat prospectfor wrinkle creamsand treatments. They represent cures,not preventatives.And thinkabout it. Dont the preventatives like creamsto moisturize yovtskin and sunscreens avoid sun damagecost a lot less than the tocures?But some of the effective wrinkle eliminators cost plentyfor a small jar. Miracell sold at $25 for a months supply. "Keep your family from Insuranceis another preventative.going through hard times after you die." What could be tougherthan thinking youre going to die someday? the older you get, Butthe more you think about it. And rememberthe story about myfriend, the insurance salesman, who alwaystried to sell me insur-ance and finally succeededwhen my next-door neighbor died suddenlyat an early age?I couldnt wait to sign the papers. You must first make a decision when evaluatinga product. Is this product a preventative a cure?Can the productbe posi- or tioned as a cure rather than a preventative?Is the market trend changing the perceptionof your product from being a preventa- tive to being a cure? Or do you simply have a preventative that doesnot have a broad enoughmarket? If youve got a cure and the market is large enough,youve got a powerful product. If youve got a preventative, think in termsof how you can changeit into a cure.Let me showyou how this can be done. Moke q Preventqlive q Cure Another pill I have been selling for the past few years "The Pill," is a fuel conditioning treatment for called simply 181 d
  • 182. automobiles. is a pill you put in your gas tank, and it is both a It preventativeand a cure. First, as a preventative,it helps you avoid engine problems by cleaning out your enginebefore anything serioushappens to your car from impurities that could lodge in your fuel injectors. It reducespollution to help you passthe many mandatoryemis- sion testsconducted throughoutthe United States, and it prevents you from having to visit the repair shop.Again, theseare the pre- ventatives. But when I go on TV at evc to present The pill, I dont talk that much about what it preventsbut rather what it cures.It cures engineknock, it eliminates ping, it saves to l0To on gas.If you up flunk your emissionstest, use The pill and you,ll pa; the next time. In short, I emphasize curativeaspects the product and the of underplaythe preventative features. And The Pill is truly a miracle product.(I swear,it really works.) This brings me to my next point. Notice how I have to swear that The pill mentionedabove really works. Selling truly breakthrough productsis the toughest marketing job in the world becausepeople find it difficult to believethat theseproductsreally work. And belief is one of the strongest motivationalfactors in human nature.If your prospect believesin something, or shewill move rnountains obtainit, he to but if he or shedoesntbelievein something, /ou wont move that prospectan inch. In this chapteryouve learnedthat you sell the cure, not the preventative,that preventatives dont sell very easily and that some products can be changed from preventatives to cures. Youve also learnedthat you can chargea lot more for a cure than you can for a preventative.And finally, Ive demonstratedthat you can successfully market a product that is both a preventative and a cure by emphasizingits curativeaspects while underplay- ing its preventativeaspects.So lets summarize what youve learnedin a simple statement that we can refer to in the future:Axiom l0 Selling a cure is a lot easier than selling a preventative unless the preventative is perceived as a cure or the curative aspectsof the preventative are emphasized. The information presentedin this chapterwill be very help- ful for you in evaluatingproducts in the future. Simply under-r82 & L
  • 183. standingthat the cure/preventative factor exists will help you toselectand then position your next product for selling. But now it is story time. And if a suddenrush of interestnow perks you up and you are aheady waiting eagerly for thestory, youre not alone.Everybody loves a good story.And theeffectiveuse of telling a story in your advertisingis explainedinthe next chapter. 183
  • 184. Ccccchapten22 Telling Storv Rople love stories, and one of the really good ways to relateto your audienceis to tell a story.Just as a picture is worth a thousandwords. a storYcan be invaluable and often provides an emotional relationship that keeps the reader riveted and reading. Stories create human interest and in our childhood, storiesreadto us by our parents influenced the way we fanta- sized or even saw the world. In short, weve been primed for storiesever sincewe were very young. C Think of the public speakerTelling a story is who starts a speechwith a story or uses stories throughout thea powerful tool tocreatea bond presentation. makes for a more interestingpresentationand Itbetween you and helps hold the interest of the audience.In fact, very often afteryour prospects. Ive been listening to a boring speakerand start to doze, I wake up when I know a story is about to be told. Stories Hqve Lessonsto Teqch Storiesusually havelessons teachor experiences share to to or even endings that can excite and surprise.And so it is with advertising.If you can tell a story in your advertisement that is relevant to either selling your product, creating the environment or getting the prospectwell into your copy and into the slippery slide, you are using this wonderful and powerful tool as a very effectiveway to sell your product or service. And finally, some stories add that human element which allows you to relatemore closely with your prospects. Kathy Levine, one of QVCs top TV salespersons, wrote in "I reahzedearly on that selling is her book lts Better to Laugh, a matter of capturing peoples attention and holding it with a good story."The most interestingsalespeople knew alwayshad I 185 -
  • 185. a story to tell. It was their way of relating to their customers andentertainingthem as well. One in particularhas a repertoireof athousandjokes-each relevant to the selling environmentandwhat he has to sell.And, as you would imagine,he is very effec-tive. Remember,selling in print is similar in principle to sellingin person.And if telling a story is a very good salestechniqueface to face, then chances you can translatethis conceptinto arewriting effective copy. My most successful print campaignsall had storiesas thebasisfor my presentation-the BluBlocker sunglasses, Bone theFone, Magic Baloney (the Magic Stat thermostat)and severalothers are examples.Lets take a closer look at the use of thistechniquein a few ads. The following paragraphs from my BluBlocker ad will giveyou a flavor of how a story can be very helpful in creating thathuman interest which will cause your prospectsto read yourentire message. The full ad is in Chapter33. Headline:VisionBreakthrough Subheadline: When I put on the pair of glasses what I sawI couldnot believe. will you. Nor Byline: By Joseph Sugarman Copy: I am aboutto tell you a truestory. you believe you If me, will be well rewarded. you dont believeme, I will makeit If worthyour whileto change your mind.Let me explain. Len is a friend of mine who knowsgoodproducts. One dayhe called excitedabout pairof sunglasses owned. a he "Its soincred- ible," he said,"when you first look througha parr,you wont believe it." "What will I see?" asked. I "Whatcouldbe so incredible?" Len continued, "When you put on theseglasses, your vision improves. Objectsappear sharper, moredefined. Everything takes on an enhanced effect. 3-D And its not my imagination.just I wantyou to seefor yourself." The story continuesas I personallysee the sunglasses andlearn more about them from Len. The ad uses a conversationaltone which coversall the importantpoints on the sunglasses, thedangerfrom the sun and the dangercausedby blue light. A storyis usedvery effectivelyto build curiosity and causethe readertoread all the copy and eventuallyread the final salespitch.
  • 186. The ad worked extremely well and from this ad we sold100,000pairs of sunglasses $59.95 each for a total salesvol- atume of $6 million. This was before I presented the product inan infomercial first at $39.95 and then later at $49.95 and soldcloseto 8 million pairs over a six-yearperiod from 1987through1993. Then there was an ad I wrote in which I offered a $6 millionhome. The "tell a story" concept in this ad ran almost the entirelength of the advertisement: Headline:Mail OrderMansion Subheadline: only 6 million dollarsand comescomplete Its with swimmingpool, tenniscourtanda breathtaking view. Byline: By Joseph Sugarman Copy: HaveI got a deal.And evenif you dont buy this home, youll lovethe story. with aninvitation. wasinvitedby oneof thetop real It all started I estate developers the countryto attenda partyat his homein in Malibu,California. didnt know why.All the developer I would sayis, "Justcome." Thejet waswaitingfor me at OHareAirportin Chicago his and chauffeur-driven limousinemet me at Los Angelesfor the drive to Malibu.It wasclass the way. all WhenI droveup to the home,therewas a partygoingon. Rolls Royces werelinedup everywhere the noiseandmusicfrom and thehouse madeit clearthatsomething special goingon. was The story continuesalmost the entire length of the ad withthe purposeof not only selling the housebut offering a video-tape of the house which people could order. The entire adinvolved me telling this story well into the very last column ofthe ad where I summarized the offer. The story was the com-pelling vehicle driving you through the entire ad.You11 find thefull ad in Chapter31. Theseads tell a story.And each story is so compelling thatyouve got to find out what the payoff is, so you are encouragedto keep reading. Often the best storiesare told in the first personand soundlike a personalmessage from the writer to the prospect.Otherstoriesare told in the third person,but because they are in storyform, they still soundquite personaland very compelling. r87
  • 187. Frank Schultzwrote his highly successful grapefruitad after finishing my very first seminar. fact, his ad almost soundslike In the beginning of a fairy tale. The ad copy he wrote was used in one form or another for over 18 years from the time Frank attendedthe seminar in I9ll . It stood the test of time. Heres what he said: Headline:A Flukeof Nature Subheadline: new grapefruit A discovery maychange your con- ceptof fruit. Copy: Im a farmer. And the storyI tell you is the absolute truth, asincredible it may seem. as It all started a groveownedby Dr. Webb,our family doctor. in One of the men who was picking fruit in the doctorsorchard came to theWebbhouse up holdingsix of thestrangest grapefruit anyone everseen. singlebranch an ordinary had A of grapefruit treehadproduced these unusual six fruit. The story goeson for five paragraphs explainingthe discov- ery and what it meant.And of course,later in the copy the grape- fruit was explained further. By the time you finished the fifth paragraphyou were hooked.You had to read the rest of the ad as the product took on an almost mystical character. cover the ad I completely in Chapter25. Once agarn,if you can weave a story aroundyour product, it makes for both interesting reading and a way to develop your slippery slide and that perfect buying environment.Storytelling can be best expressed the following axiom: inAxiom 17 Telling a story can effectively sell your product, create the envi- ronment or get the reader well into your copy as you create an emotionsl bonding with your prospect.188
  • 188. 23GhaptenRating Your Writing Level Youu" gaineda tremendous amount of knowledgereading this book. And in SectionThree you will use this knowledgeto evaluatemy mail order ads and those of others who attendedmy seminar. But how are you going to rate yourself in the future?Is there somemeasureyou can apply to your writing to determineif you are communicatingat the level you needto in order to reachyour audience? Well, fortunately there is a way, thanks to Robert Gunning who createdthe Fog Index for newspaperwriters to help them "foggy writing" and determinefor themselvesthe grade avoid level of the copy they were writing. In short, were they writing with enough clarity so that a fifth grader could understandtheir copy or must a readerbe in high schoolor evencollegeto under- standit? The lower the gradelevel, the wider the audience. Reoching o Mqss Mqrket For example,if I wanted to reach a mass market, I would keep my ad copy simple, my sentences short and I wouldnt use big words. On the other hand,if I wantedto reacha very upscale audience, might use bigger words and longer sentences. I Best-sellingbooks arewritten for the 8th to 1Othgradelevel. Time,BusinessWeekand The Wall StreetJournal are 1lth grade level. The GettysburgAddress and ReadersDigest have a 1Oth gradelevel in common.And for the most part, the average Amer- ican audience readsbetweenthe I lth and l2th gradelevels. The following are the rules for determining the Fog Index, or gradelevel of the copy you write: 1. Takea sampleof your copy-start with 100 to I25 wordsfrom the very beginningof the ad. 2. Count the words in each sentence. Dates and numbersequal one word and independent clauses sentences count as separate (e.g.: "We studied,and we learned"would be two sentences). 189
  • 189. 3. Divide the total number of words by the number of sentences to get the averagesentence length. 4. Count the numberof long words (thoseof 3 or more syllables), but: a. Do not count short-wordcombinationslike pawnbroker or yellowtail. b. Do not include proper names. c. Do not include verbs that have become 3 or more svlla- bles by adding ed or es. 5. Divide the number of long words by the total number of words in the selectionto get the percentage long words. of 6. Add the average sentencelength to the percentageof long words. 7. Multiply this total by 0.4 to get rhe gradelevel. Now lets use as an examplethe vision Breakthroughad we saw in the previouschapter.The ad is presented full in Chap- in ter 33. I will take the first 102 words of copy, and show you how to determinethe grade level. I am aboutto tell you a truestory. you believe you will be If me, well rewarded. you dont believe I will makeit worthyour If me, whileto change your mind.Let me explain. Len is a friend of mine who knowsgoodproducts. one day he called excitedabout a pair of sunglasses owned.,Its so he incredible,"he said,"when you first look througha pair, you wont believe it." "what will I see?" "what couldbe I asked. soincredible?" Len continued, "when you put on theseglasses, your vision improves. Objects appear sharper, moredefined. I have put the three long words in bold type. There are 102 total words in this selectionand 11 sentences. This meansthat the average number of words per sentence 9.3.is The next step is to divide the number of long words (3) by the total words (I02) to get the percentage long words: 2.9Vo. of Now add the average sentence length of 9.3 words to the per- centage long words,which is 2.9,andyou havethe number 12.2. of Then multiply the number r2.2 by 0.4 and you end up with the number4.9.In short,this ad started being understandable a out to very large segmentof the market by virtue of the fact that it was190
  • 190. quite comprehensible anybody reading at about the 5th grade tolevel and above. Incidentally, the next block of copy in that same ad hadabout the samereadinglevel. The third block of copy jumped toJ.2,butby that time the readerwas well into the copy. I wouldsuggestthat you take different 100-word blocks from differentparts of your ad to seehow consistent your style is. Try this with one of your ads or with one of the many ads inSectionThree. It is an easy way to determinethe level of com-prehension your writing and it will alsomakeyou awareof the ofeffect that multi-syllabic words and long sentences have on thecomprehensibilityof your ad and the level of reader that willresonate with your copy. The ad that we just testedwas one of JS&A s most success-ful. And it seemed that with many of my ads,the greaterthe clar-ity, the broader the appeal and the greater the response.Afteryouve tried it with some of the ads in this book or other ads, youll be amazed how easily you will be able to guessthe Fog at Index from readingjust the first few paragraphsof any ad. Clarity is one of the most important factors in writing copy and the Fog Index gives you an insight into how important short sentences and simple words can be. But dont be obsessed with achievinglow Fog Index scoresat the expense common sense. of You needto vary the lengthof sentences use3-syllablewords and when you needthem and realize that every audienceis different.Youve Leqrned q Greql Deql You have learned what it takes to be a gteat copywriter inSectionOne. You have learnedin SectionTwo what works andwhy it works. In the first two sectionsof this book I havetaughtyou mostof the copywriting techniques taught my seminarparticipants. IYou havelearnedtechniques that took me many yearsto develop.You have learnedconceptsthat I didnt discoverand personallyuse until well into my career.And most importantly, you havelearnedfrom my failures-an educationthat has cost me dearlybut that you do not haveto experience your own. Finally, you ondid not have to pay $3,000to get this knowledgeas my seminarparticipantsdid. t9l
  • 191. In SectionThree we take all that you have learnedand crys-talhze it into practical knowledge by examining many of the adsthat were used as examplesin our seminar.This is an importantsection,for here you seehow all the piecesyou have learnedfittogether. also examinea few adswherethe piecesdidnt quite Wefit together and we show you how they could have been donemore effectively. In addition to examining a few ads from beginning to end, Ialso reproducea few of the JS&A adsthat show my principlesinaction. If youve had a problem understanding of the principles, anythis is where youll get greaterunderstanding and clarity. It wasduring this part of my seminar when participantswould oftencomment,"Now I feel I can do a great ad myself." And they oftendid.
  • 192. $ectionlhnee
  • 193. PneuiewProving the Points-Ad Examples Youu" learned the principles and theory of copywriting and youve had a chance to see how it all works through my many personalexperiences. Now its time to showyou how these principles actually work in some of the complete ad examples that follow. This is the fine-tuning youll need to perfect your newly learnedskills. During the courseof my seminarI showedslidesof various ads to illustrate the theoriesI was presenting. my first semi- In nars, the ads were mine and those of my competitors-the very companies who were copying my format. But as the coursecon- tinued and more and more of my students succeededwith the knowledgeI gavethem, many of the adsI showedat subsequent seminarswere createdby my former students themselves. Finally, I used illustrationsto show the best and the worst of mail order advertisingand even non-mail-orderadvertising. By the end of the course,not only were my studentsable to tell me what was wrong with eachof the ads that I showedbut they were producing great advertisingcopy and even helping their fellow seminarparticipantsin crafting and improving their ad- vertisements. Hundreds of ads were presentedduring the seminar-each on slides. Severalof the classic exampleswere duplicatedand passed around.For the book I haveselected only a few of the best ads to illustrate the principles I taught-all examples that will solidify everything youve learned so far and add even more to your insightsand copywriting skills. "But hey," you might wonder. "What about those famous JS&A mail order ads that were the hallmark of mail order adver- tising in the70s and80s? Dont they point out some really importantprinciplesand arent they good examples the bestin of copywrittng?" Shucks. Well, if you insist.OK, I11include someof those as well. 195
  • 194. Startingin Chapter29 are someof the JS&A ads that really drive home various points. Not only are they examplesof suc- cessful copywriting but they are entertainingas well. The fact that I wrote them might come through in my enthusiasmand commentary,so pleasebear with me. Deep down, Im really a modestkinda guy. If your future is in TV marketing,theseexampleswill help you understandmarketing in that medium as well. For as you have already learned,my copywriting and marketing principles can be applied to any form of advertisingcommunication. But now its time to solidify everything youve learnedin Sectionsone and Two with some classic ad examplesto prove many of my points.196 L
  • 195. GGGGGhapter24 Way to Riches The Lazy MansThe Lazy MansA/aY to Riches Tnir is a classicexampleof a mail order Mosl People Areloo Busy Eorning o Living lo Moke ad. There are some people who spend their Any Mo"ey entirecareercreatinghundreds ads,and then of there is Joe Karbo. Joe Karbo wrote only a few ads.He wrote the one Ive featured here right off the top of his head. There was practically no editing "I involved.As he later claimed at my seminar, just sat down and wrote the ad in a matter of a few minutes and then looked back at it, made a few changes, and that was it." The ad Joe created in hundredsof mag- ran azines for many years. In later years, it was rewritten to reflect more current mail order approaches, it was basically the same ad. but And it hasbecomea classic. First, a little backgroundon Joe.Joe KarboThis classic was discharged from the Army in 1945,and at age20 with a wifemail order adsold 3 million and child, no money and only a high schooleducation, started hebooks. his businesscareer.Karbo was modestly successful the scrap in paper businessand then he moved on to acting, followed by advertising, radio and finally television. Karbo had his own TV show in Hollywood and, along with his wife Betty, was on the air from midnight to 8 AM. Since sponsorswere hard to come by, Karbo started a direct mail businessand sold a variety of products on his show. Joe soon mastered direct-response advertisingand flourished. In l9l3 Joe formahzedhis personalphilosophiesin a book called The Lazy Mans Way to Riches in which he sharedhis beliefs and principles both on successand on direct-response advertising. The ad shownaboveis the one he wrote to markethis book. Lets examinethe ad, as it will confirm many of the things 197
  • 196. you have already learned.Well start at the headline and system- atically work our way through the entire ad. Headline:TheLazy MansWayto Riches subheadline:6MostPeopleAre Too Busy Earninga Living to MakeAny Money The headline is provocative.At the time, this was a novel approachand a novel headline.Prior to this, ads such as these were only found in the group of magazines classifiedas "income opportunity." Magazines such as Income Opportunity, Success andEntreprenelrrhad dozensof offers such as the one Karbo was making, but the categoryof advertisinghadnt yet made it into the mainstream. Joes was one of the first to break through.The headlinegrabbedyou and got you to read the subheadline. And the subheadline you into the copy. got Lets start with the copy and seeif he is creatingthat slip- pery slide. First, notice how he getsyou into the copy by the use of short sentences. Notice how shortthe first sentence and how is short all his sentences Also notice how he is identifying with are. his prospect-the guy or gal who is seriousabout succeeding and wants a good life but finds himself or herself working hard and not getting anywhere.The copy startsout as follows: I usedto work hard.The lS-hourdays.The7-dayweeks. But I didnt startmakingbig moneyuntil I did less-a /or less. The ad continuesand youre compelledto read further. Forexample, adtookabout hours write.With a little luck. this 2 to it shouldearnme 50, maybe hundred a thousand doilars. Remember,this was written in lg13 and the equivalentof $100,000 today might be close to a half-million dollars. once agarn,Karbo is building curiosity. What is he offering? Why will this ad earn him so much money? Youve got to read further. Notice also that thereare no big words,no complicatedlong sen- tences.Hes leading his readerinto the copy slowly and easily, building curiosity as he goes.He tells a story as he progresses. whats more,Im going to ask you to sendme 10 dollarsfor something thatll costme no morethan50 cents. And Ill try to makeit so irresistible youdbe a darned that fool not to do it.198
  • 197. Here Karbo is establishingtrust with his readers.His hon-esty is almost disarming.He tells you up front that he has some-thing he wants to sell you for 10 dollars that only costshim 50cents.Hes also building curiosity.Hes using basic and simplestatements, the copy has you slowly slipping down his slip- and Then note how he justifiespery slide right to the next paragraph.the purchase. After all, why should careif I make$9.50 you profitif I canshow you how to makea lot more? What if Im so surethat you will makemoneymy Lazy Mans WaythatIll makeyou the worldsmostunusual guarantee? And hereit is: I wont evencashyour checkor moneyorderfor 31 daysafterIve sentyou my material. Thatll giveyou plentyof time to get it, look it over,try it out. Note the flow of the copy. Again he builds on the readerscuriosity,justifying the $10 purchaseeven if he hasnt yet toldyou aboutthe offer. Now you arereally curious.He wasnt goingto cash the check for 31 days, which at the time was a novel "satisfactionconviction" becauseapproach.It was what I call ayour reactionmight havebeen,oBo],a lot of peopleare going torip him off. Theyre going to get his book, read it and then returnit and get their uncashedcheck back in the mail." You alreadyknow how important a good satisfactionconviction can be fromChapter 19, and Karbo usesit here,early in his copy.He alsoshowsa degreeof enthusiasm and confidencein his conceptthatraisesyour curiosity evenmore. He continues. If you dont agree that its worthat leasta hundredtimeswhat you invested, send back. it Youruncashed checkor moneyorder will be put in the returnmail. The only reason wont sendit to you and bill you or sendit I C.O.D.is because both thesemethods involvemore time and money. And Im already goingto give you the biggest bargain your of life. Because goingto tell you whatit tookme 11years perfect: Im to How to makemoneytheLazy MansWay. Again, Karbo is justifying the purchasewithout eventellingyou what it is. And he is justifying why acceptingpayment bycheckis the only way hell sell it to you, giving you an economic L99
  • 198. basisfor his decision.The curiosity builds. But insteadof telling you about his offer, he now changes directions completely to establish credibility for his offer by presentinghimself as an exampleof how successfully this programhas worked. o.K.-now I haveto braga little.I dont mind it. And its neces- sary-to provethat sending ten dollars...which keep"in me Ill escrow" until youresatisfied...is smartest the thingyou everdid. I live in a homethatsworth $100,000. know it is because I I turneddownan offer for thatmuch.My mortgage lessthanhalf is that,andthe only reason haventpaid it off is because Tax I my Accountant says be an idiot. Id My "office,"about mile anda half frommy home, righton the a is beach. viewis sobreathtaking mostpeople My that comment that theydont seehow I get anywork done.But I do enough. About 6 hoursa day,8or 9 months year.a The rest of the time we spendat our mountain "cabin."I paid $30,000 it-cash. for I have2 boats anda Cadillac. paidfor. All We havestocks, bonds,investments, in the bank.But the cash mostimportant thingI haveis priceless: time with my family. And Ill showyou just how I did it-the Lazy Mans Way-a secret shared Ive with just a few friendstil now. Here in theselast paragraphs is obviously whetting your he appetiteand telling you what the resultsof his systemproduced for him. But there is anothervery subtle thing he has done as well. He is trying to personally identify with his audience.He doesnt talk about driving around in a Rolls-Roycebut rather a Cadillac. He talks about having a mortgage which most of his readers, they own their own home,probablyhave.He keepshis if wealth to a modestlevel, for if it was too far out of the reach of his readers, they would not be able to relateto Karbo. He is also selling the sizzre,not the steak.He is relating a numberof things,most of which soundpretty inviting to you and represent the results of buying his system-the many material things in life that most of his readersdreamof having.He is iden- tifying with his prospects. And then at the end of the list, he talks aboutthe most pricelessthing his systemhas created,"time with my family." A11of this resonates with the reader,who by now cant stopreadingand might be saying,"What doesthis guy have to offer that can make it possiblefor me to live the life of Joe200 L
  • 199. Karbo?" So you readon.You readthe secret that hes shared withonly a few friends. In the next paragraph you find one of the truly importanthighlights of his ad copy. He is very subtly trying to expandtheappealof his offer to the broadestpossiblesegment the market. ofThink aboutit. If he saidthat one personmademillions, 1loumightnot identify with what he is saying if you honestlydidnt believethat you could earn millions. But you might relateto the little oldlady who is now able to travel wherevershe wants or the widowwho is earning$25,000extra ayean Or the guy who doesnthavemuch of an education. As you read the following copy, see how he appealsto themass market-probably the single reason that this ad had suchwidespread appealand was not confinedto just the incomeoppor-tunity area. Also seewhere he agarnbuilds on his integrity whenhe talks about almost declaring bankruptcy-thus relating tomany in his audiencewho may also be facing financial difficulty. require It doesnt "education." a high school Im graduate. require It doesnt "capital." WhenI started I wasso deepin out, debtthata lawyerfriendadvisedbankruptcy the only way out. as He was wrong.We paid off our debtsand,outside the mort- of gage,dont owe a cent to any man. "luck." Ive had more than my share,but Im It doesnt require not promising you that youll make as much money as I have. And you may do better: I personallyknow one man who used theseprinciples,worked hard, and made l1 million dollars in 8 years.But money isnt everything. "talent." Just enough brains to know what to It doesnt require look for. And Ill tell you that. "youth." One woman I worked with is over 70. It doesntrequire Shes travelled the world over, making all the money she needs, doing only what I taught her. "experience." widow in Chicago has been A It doesnt require averaging$25,000 ayear for the past 5 years,using my methods. These last sentences are very important. In short, heappealed to a very broad segment of the opportunity market andeven went beyond it to people who might not be looking for anopportunity but would find this messagecompelling. And Karbocomes across as being incredibly honest. Remember, he told youthe cost of what he was going to send you and he seems to be 201
  • 200. very honestthroughouthis ad, even to the point of being disarm- ing. Remember, honestyis a powerful psychologicalselling tool. Now comesthe closingpitch, with completeand total enthu- siasm for his conceptand his book. Once agarn,Karbo realizes that many of his readershave jobs and at this point in the copy are wondering if they will have to give them up to learn what he has to offer. He usesa little sagewisdom given to him by u wise man he met. And then he wraps up the entire ad with a question that builds the final level of curiosity to a point that compelsyou to respondin order to find out what this man has to offer. Whatdoesit require? Belief.Enough takea chance. to Enough to absorbwhat I11sendyou. Enoughto put the principlesinto action. If you do just that-nothing more, nothing less-the results will be hardto believe. Remember-I guarantee it. Youdont haveto giveup yourjob. But you may soonbe making somuchmoney thatyoull be ableto. Onceagain-I guarantee it. The wisestman I everknew told me something neverforgot: I "Most peoplearetoo busyearninga living to makeany money." Dont takeaslong asI did to find out he wasright. Ill proveit to you,if youll send thecoupon in now.Im not ask- ing you to "believe" me.Justtry it. If Im wrong,all youvelost is a couple minutes an S-cent of and stamp. whatif Im right? But It is interestingto seethe cost of a first classstampback in 1973. Today as I write this book a stamp costs 32 cents, so the cost of his book relativeto the cost of a postagestampwas equiv- alent to $40 in todays dollars. Then you examinethe coupon.But right abovethe coupon you first read a sworn statementfrom his accountant: "I haveexamined this advertisement. the basisof personal On acquaintance with Mr. Joe Karbo for 18 yearsand my profes- sionalrelationship his accountant,certifythateverystatement as I is true."(Accountants nameavailable uponrequest.) He also includeshis bank reference.Once agarn,this really is very convincing as prior to Karbo, nobody had ever put anything like this in an ad. He was strongly establishing credibility by his using the banks nameas an indirect testimonialon his honesty- somethinghis prospects neededin orderto feel confidentto reach for their checkbooksand sendhim their hard-earned monev.202 I
  • 201. The coupon is a summary of the offer. Joe,you maybe full of beans, whathaveI got to lose?Send but me theLazyMansWayto RichesBut dontdeposit check . my or money orderfor 31 daysafter its in the mail. If I return your material-for any reason-within that time, returnmy uncashed checkor moneyorderto me. On that basis, heres ten dollars. my He even has a small box you can check if you want his"material" sent by airmail for only one dollar more. "material" and not just a book. Note that he is sending"Material" makes the program appear much more valuable-more like a courseas opposedto a book. It has much more sizzle "book."thanjust saying If you sent in your money, you received a wonderful bookthat actuallylooked like it cost about50 centsto print. But it con-tained both a motivational messageand the direct marketing "Lazy Mans Way."techniques necessary make money the to Karbo ran theseads for severalyears.I had been establish-ing the fact in my national advertising that there was no suchthing as too many words. By 1913 we were really cranking outour advertising,but mostly in The Wall StreetJournal. One yearlater when we advertised in many national magazines, wenoticedthat Karbos copy was expandingto include testimonialsand more examplesto cover the broad market he was trying toreach.The adsbecamemore wordy with eachpassingyear. But it was Joes very first ad-the first major massmarketadvertisingcampaignto come from the income opportunity areain many years-that was the purestexampleof what I was teach-ing in my seminar. Joe Karbo attended my seminarin l9l9. At my seminarhe sharedhis background and told the story of how he wrote thisone ad. Joe died in 1980from a massiveheart attack.He was being interviewed at a local TV station near his home in California when the interviewer decidedto unfairly attack Joe, thus chang- ing entirely the premiseof the interview.Joesfirst reactionwas a heart attack from which he never revived. Joe was survived by his wife Betty and eight children. 203
  • 202. His work and efforts have been continued in an excellent recently revisedversion of his book including a workbook. Any student of mail order needing some really good motivation should purchaseit. Pleaseseethe listing in Appendix D for this courseas well as severalother good direct-marketing books. The Karbo ad was a classic. was his biggestand bestshot It in the mail order businessand its significancewas felt by the many millions who bought his book and later indeedprofited by it. But if this seemedlike a real fluke-a once-in-a-lifetime expe- riencethat would be impossibleto duplicat"-youre wrong. It is happeningeven as you read this, with other entrepreneurs using direct marketingas a methodto market their products. The next true story tells of somebodywho neverwrote print mail order copy before he sat down and wrote one of the classic long-running mail order ads of the decade,and he did it right after attendingmy seminar.Read on.204 i
  • 203. 25ChaptenA Fluke of Nature A Fluke of A n w gtsPcfruil ctenqe joef eotce?t Frank Lewis Schultz is a farmer who discooery.rtrc! oJ lnut - Nanrre grows grapefruit in the Rio Grande Valley of rdr a,r. uu4 FoG FiNr F, si mr 3rFtrql iM Fr *di r.*E frc i Texas.For yearshe had used a simple letter or ! 6 rr:4 6d v0! aro i4rf inr run | 3r *dad n i llnri ddd h o. direct mailing to build his customerbaseinto a !h;..ril M€nDr nice-sized businesswhich sold grapefruit by how hPAie mail. But somethingalways seemedto elude Ps & r[i F.Yrr Flh rnr0t r,i rrid or g,rF . I "ru n him. He couldnt get print mail order advertis- Yo! ludt.rn st a7 q F! rr e, trd i:dd Bil e*!r t^ . !ir8 ing to work for him. He realizedthat spaceadvertising(the idea Y@d ndE fr€ dcfttrNr .Ai, 9r,d !h pe,.r,4u, rov. of reachingmillions of peoplefor the sameprice it takesto reachthousands mail) sounded by like 9d q,,Ftur blr adom { {7 tJ E,ch F.JF nli Fdd nsigl i Flnd a greatconcept.And along with reaching mil- 3J hi*i riuD lions, he could add credibility to his company ioL i4irtr! ih.r. r rF CALL and more profit to his bottom line. TOLL-FNEE eoo + 531-5346 t2: It all soundedgreatuntil Schultzhired one ,:7p#f,caz+rannza ilodn To*4 RNd aLAMO TEXAS 13516 of the nations most respected direct responseIt was Franks agencies.The first ad bombed. So did the second.In fact, hisfirst ad and it became grosssalesdidnt cover the raw cost of the ad space.Schultzwasa clsssic. discouraged. When I announcedmy first seminartn I9J7 , Schultz was one of the first to sign up. During the seminar, was very quiet, he but he seemedto be absorbingeverything I had to say. I didnt know at the time that he had a degree in marketing from the University of Californta at Berkeley. After the seminar,with the information fresh in his mind, he went to the local Holiday Inn in Minocqua, Wisconsin, and starteddrafting his first print ad. He basedit on both the successful letter that he had run for years and the information I had taught.And the result was sent to me in Northbrook, Illinois, upon my return home after the seminar. The ad was great. It wasnt the very technical style of the JS&A ads,but it had a homespun feel that grabbedyou at the start 205
  • 204. and drew you through the copy all the way to the very end. As Frank later said about the seminarand what he had learnedabout writing copy, "rt was actually pretty easy because suddenly everything was clear. I knew what I had to say and how to say it. I learnedthat you dont have to be a professionalcopywriter to write effective copy." when I receivedschultzs ad,I calledhim on the phoneand told him, "Your ad is great.I only have a few changes suggest to but they are minor. Your big problem is the headline."I suggested "Fluke of Nature" instead of A Stroke of Luck from MotherJa1s1s"-the one he had written. I suggested subheadline: the ,Anew grapefruit discovery may change your concept of fruit." Ialso suggested take out a line, "The zestyflavor of Royal Ruby heRed grapefruitjuice will help start your day with a smile," as itseemedalmost a clich6-something an ad agency might havewritten. And there were several other small changes,but agarn,,they were minor. There were two pictures captionedwith copy explaining theoffer, and of course,all the elementswere designedto get you toreadthe first sentence. Lets examinethe copy as we did with theKarbo ad and see how Schultz capturedthe essence what I oftaught, and in a very simple yet persuasive way. The copy startsout with a first paragraphthat was printed in bold type to actalmost as a subheadline, thus drawing you further into the copy: Im a farmer.And the story I tell you is the absolutetruth, as incredible it may seem. as This is a classic opening for an ad. Rememberwe talkedabout how each word has an emotion and a story attachedto it?What does the word farmer bring to mind? How about honesty,hard work and inte grrty?Simply by stating that he is a farmer,hehas established degreeof credibility right from the start of the aad. And then look at the curiosity he createsright away in thesecondsentence. How could you not continue? It all started a groveownedby Dr. webb, our family doctor. in one of the men who was picking fruit in the doctorsorchard cameup to theWebbhouse holdingsix of the strangest grapefruit anyone had everseen. singlebranchof an ordinarygrapefruit A treehadproduced thesesix unusualfruit. These werebig grapefruit, unusually And theyhada faintred big.
  • 205. blush on their skin. When Dr. Webbslicedopenthe grapefruit, the fruit wasa brilliant ruby red in color. Dr. Webbdecided tastethis strange to new grapefruit.The fruit wasperfect, juicy andluscious. wasntsourlike othergrape- It fruit either-it wasnaturallysweetwithoutsugar. For somereason, well neverknow why, naturehad chosento produce entirelynewkind of grapefruit an herein our Magic Rio Grande Valley.It was incredible-men had laboredfor yearsto producethe ideal grapefruit, and had failed. But suddenly a on singlebranchof onetreein one grove,MotherNaturehad done it all by herself! The copy reads almost like a fairy tale with the use of theMagic Rio GrandeValley name and the story of this unexpecteddiscovery.Schultz createdthis environment-all woven througha compelling and interesting story that holds your attention andkeeps you reading.You cant stop now. Youve got to seewherethis all takes you. Schultz now goes into more detail on the fruititself. And he uses one technique that you would never believecould be applied to fruit. He makes his product a ranty-a lim-ited edition to be sharedby very few people. Read the followingand seewhat I mean. YOUCAN IMAGINE THEEXCITEMENT From the fruit on that one branch,grove after grove now produces "not one man our own Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit. When I say, in a thousand has ever tasted this grapsfmil"-you can easily understandwhy. To begin with, Ruby Reds are rare. You can look for them in storesbut I doubt if youIl find one.You may find pink grapefruit, but seldomif ever do you seethe genuineRuby Reds. So you start with the rarity of Ruby Reds, and to get to ROYAL Ruby Reds you have to get rarer yet. Only 4 to 5 percent of the "Royal Ruby Red." entire crop will qualify as a Schultz graphically brought out the true rarity of what hewas selling. You can certainly do that with a collectible, but thesimple way Schultz made his fruit rare was ingenious. After he "nottold you that one man in a thousand has ever tasted thisgrapefruit," you might have thought he was going to pitch you onthe fruit. Instead he started to explain what makes it even morerare. And it got so rare that it seemed quite plausible that fewpeople indeed have tasted this fruit. 207
  • 206. In the next passage, Schultz continuesto build the story but now he makeshis message very personalone. It almost sounds a like he goesright into the grove with his men to pick the fruit. He is personally involved in every step of the growing and picking process, and he usesthis approach make his message to personal. Secondly,he even uses a technical explanation-something that really builds confidencein the expertisehe brings to his farming. A technicalexplanationin selling electronics would make sense, but see how he does it here with a very nonscientific product- grapefruit. And he also gets you totally involved with the fruit itself. Your tastebuds are activatedand you can almost savor the grapefruit as you read the copy. He is actually using your senseof taste as an involvement device. Insteadof turning the knobs of a TV set or clicking on the keys of a calculatorto involve you, hes gettingyou to salivate. The copy continues: EachRoyalRubyRedweighs pound-or more!Eachhasa rich a red color,flowingjuices,luscious naturally sweet flavor,andthe abilityto staythis way for manyweeks. Why, we wont even considerharvesting grove until Ive a checked the fruit for tree-ripened out maturitymyself.I checkfor "naturalsugar," acidbalance low andhighjuice content. check I to seethat the fruit is plump andmeaty,andI evencheckto see that the skin is thin. Not only doeseachfactorhaveto checkout, but all the factors haveto be in a properrelationship eachother to before harvest grove. Ill a And whenwe pick the fruit, werejust asfussy. Everyoneof us takes pickingring whenwe harvest. thefruit is smallenough a If to passthroughthis ring-we dont pick it! It simply isnt big enough qualifyasa RoyalRubyRed! to Even after picking thereare othercarefulinspections eachfruit mustpassbeforeIll accept I sizethe fruit. And I grade for it. it beauty. Sometimes fruit will be wind scarred. wont accept the I it. Or sometimes will havea bulgeon the stemandthatwe call it "sheep nose." wont accept YoucanseeI reallymeanit when I it. I sayI accept only perfectRoyalRubyReds. By now you canjust picture Frank Schultz out in the grove with his picking ring rejecting wind-scarred grapefruit or fruit that has sheepnose.By now you are actually convincedthat this fruit is very carefully selected-not only chosenfor its juice con- tent but also for its beauty.Beauty?Yep, beauty. Probably the one thing that he uses with great skill is the208
  • 207. personalnatureof his presentation. companysoundssmall- Hisas if it is made up of just Schultz and a few other pickers.Andthey all go out with their picking rings, spendthe day gatheringonly the prettiest and juiciest grapefruit, and then return withtheir harvestfor shipping to just a few of their customersthe nextday. It is a beautiful exampleof the personalone-to-onesellingtechniquethat you want to capturein print, and Schultz has man-aged to do this in a very simple and masterful way. Think also about the nature of grapefruit. This is unques-tionably a simple product and this chapteris a good exampleofmy "simple vs. complicated" rule. When somethingis simple,like a grapefruit,you make it complex.If its complex,you makeit simple.What could be more simplethan a grapefruit?But lookat how Schultz has brought out all the featuresand the complex-ities of his selection process and even his own expertisebytelling you more than youve ever wanted to know about grape-fruit. Schultzis now ready for the pitch. The grapefruitcould notget any better.It is rare, it is delicious,it is beautiful and it hasvalue. Its now up to Schultz to make his customersreach intotheir pockets and exchange their hard-earned dollars for hisgrapefruit,and he makesit as simple as possible. Frank does this by offering a sample shipment-a low-priced no-risk opportunityjust to try his product.He makesit so simple that you begin to wonder if hes going to be ripped off. And what doesthat signify? Thats right-a satisfaction convic- tion-something that is so compelling, you wonder if peopleare going to take advantageof him. WhenIrealizedthattheRoyalRubyRedsweretheultimatefruit, I decided form a clubandsellonly to my clubmembers. this to In manner, can control I my production insurethat nobodywill to be disappointed. But beforeI askyou to join my club,I wantyou to sample my RoyalRuby Redsfor yourself,at no costto you whatsoever. Let me sendyou a box prepaid 16 to 20 RoyalRubyReds. of Place four of themin your refrigeratoruntil they arethoroughlycool. Thencut themin half andhaveyour family sample unusual this fruit. Youdecide whether not RoyalRubyRedsareeverything say. or I You determine whetheror not eatinga Royal Ruby Red is the fantastic taste experiencepromise. I 209
  • 208. You decide. Im confident that you and your family will want more of this superb fruit and on a regular basis, too. If the four Royal Ruby Reds make you say "y"r," then keep the remaining fruit. Otherwise return the unused fruit (at my expense)and you wont owe me a single penny. But you are never going to know just how wonderful genuine Royal Ruby Reds are unlessyou place your order right quick. This way you are sureto receiveyour packagecontaining 16 to 20 Royal Ruby Redsfor you and your family to sample.But sincethe supply is strictly limited its important to place your order now. right Note the use of the words quick. Thats the way farm- ers talk, isnt it. And it is this homey-sounding copy that capti- vated his audience. In fact, Schultz asked me if he should leave it "It "By in. isnt really good English" was his concern. all means, "It leave it in," I suggested. sounds great to me." His offer then went on to give the terms of the purchase. The first box was going to cost $5 less than the standard shippsnf- a further incentive to at least try his grapefruit. In fact, you actu- ally didnt pay anything up front, as he also included a bill for $9.95. You only paid if you wanted to keep the shipment and you then were enrolled in his monthly club. His copy continued: Now supposeyou do like Royal Ruby Reds-suppose you love them-can you be sure of getting more? You surelycan.By saying"yes" to my first shipmentyou havethe privilegeof automaticallyjoining my Winter Fruit Club. Pleasebe assuredyou pay nothing in advance.But each month during the winter, Ill ship you a pack of 16 to 20 orchard-fresh, hand- selected, hand-pickedRoyal Ruby Reds. Every Royal Ruby Red you receivewill passmy tough tests.Each will weigh a pound or more. Safe delivery is guaranteed. This fruit is picked, packed and shipped each month, December throughApril. You pay only after you havereceivedeachshipment. And you can skip or cancelany shipment,simply by telling me your wishes. He summarrzed his offer. He restated most of the points he told you in the previous copy at the very end of the ad. And then he goes into the close: Remember, obligatesyou to nothing exceptmaking a tastetest it of the best grapefruitthat has ever beengrown. And this tastetest is on me!210
  • 209. Of course, you canwell imagine, as whenI saysupplies lim- are just I ited-Im not kidding!Theres so manyclub members can accept beforeI mustclosemy membership year. this In this statement, is giving you a sense urgencythat is he ofboth believable and true. Production is limited and getting yourorder in quickly is very important to ensurethat youll be part ofthe membershipprogram. He also makes it sound risk free andeasyto test. So to tastethis miraclegrapefruit and havethe opportunityto savorit eachmonthduringthe growingseason, sureto place be your orderat no obligation,today. Frank was pleasantly surprisedwhen he ran his test ad in "Our cost per order was the lowest ofThe Wall StreetJournal:any outside list weve ever used, and I realized that a singleadvertisement held the key to the rapid growth of our company." But Frank Schultz dtdnt stop there. He continued to adver-tise in The Wall StreetJournal, The New York Times,Parade and "When youre a farmer you alwaysW Guide to nameonly a few.wolry about the crop. Its growing too slow-you worry. Itsgrowing too fast-you really worry," said Frank later in a letterto me. "I find it to be about the samewhen a farmer gets into spaceadvertising.The orders are coming in so good from our spaceads,Im beginningto worry. A high-classworry, I11admit." In December1980,an article on Schultz appeared Texas rnMonthly magazine.The story talked about his wonderful copyand how the copy made his businessseem small and personal.Yet it also explainedthat the business was quite largeby then.Heharvested 26,000 tons of grapefruit tn 1979 with only 47o pass-ing Schultzs rigorous standards Royal Ruby Red grapefruit. forThe rest were sold to the grocerychains.And he now had 80,000customers the 48 continentalstates. owned 14,000acresof in Heorchardsspreadout from Brownsville to McAllen, Texas,andhad hundredsof employees.He truly was a successstory-allcreatedfrom the power of his pen. And yet, his customersvisuahzedFrank with his pickingring out in the orchard picking those perfect Royal Ruby Red grapefruitfree of sheepnoseand wind scarring. 2tl
  • 210. From time to time, Frank would sendme someof the letters he received complimenting him on his copy. One came from Stanley Marcus, then the chairman of Neiman Marcus. Some were from other copywriters who rccognizedhis ad as brilliant. And for many years Schultz ran the ads until they finally wore out. I myself was in Schultzs grapefruit club for many years. And from my orders alone,he probably made back all the money he had spenton my seminar. youd like Royal Ruby Red grape- If fruit sent directly to your door, call Frank toll free-(800) 477- 4113 between 8 AM and 6 PM Central time. But do it "risht quick." 212- -!
  • 211. 2$Ghailen Lingerie Vctorias Secretis now a major chain with 800 Lingenia Men for stores, $569 million in sales and a major catalog How a Group of Very SpccialMcn Madc lt All Possiblc division.But back tn 19J9,it consisted just three of small storesand a catalogrun by a gentleman the by nameof Raymond.And that is when BarbaraDunlap attendedmy seminar. The ad she wrote helps illustrate many of the points youve learnedin this book and also points to a few she overlooked.Lets start with the headline and subheadline.If you were a man or a woman readingthrougha newspaper, might stop deadin you your tracks if you saw the following: Headline:Lingeriefor Men Subheadline: How a Group of Very SpecialMen MadeIt All Possible Note that the headline was just three words- short,conciseand certainlyenoughto get you to read the subheadline.Then noticethat the subheadline didThe ad drew a lotof attention but not give away the premiseof the ad; you still dont know what itmisseda few is. In fact, it might soundlike some men got togetherand mademajor points the wearingof lingerie possible. You just dont know, so you keepat the end. reading. Now read the first parugraph,which is in large type and actually draws you into the copy. Also note the storytelling feel of the first few paragraphs. WB wene ASTOUNDeo! When we openedthe doors of our new busi- ness, thoughtmost of our customers we would be women.After all, beautiful designerlingerie is the kind of luxury a lady cant resist. How wrong we were. That first ValentinesDay, the men came in droves!Hundredsof men, who had secretlybeen dying to visit our boutique.At last, they had the perfect excuse-Valentines Day gifts for their favorite ladies. 213
  • 212. They loved the merchandise. can you imaginehow shocked were? thosemen-milling we All about our Victorianboutique.Admiring the silk stockingsand lacygarterbeltsfrom France. Totallysmitten theluxurious by silk and satinkimonosfrom London.Crowdingaroundthe bra and bikini setsfrom Italy.They couldntwait to surprise their wives or girlfriendswith somethingtruly special. once again as the story is told you can visualizethe scene. You can almost seethe merchandiseand appreciatehow the vari- ety of merchandiseis woven neatly into the story. But now a questionmight pop into your mind as you are reading this. And this very question is brought into the copy at precisely this moment. Werent they embarrassed? The truth is, theywere.But not enough keepthemaway!They to hadseen exciting, our full-colorcatalogue. breathtaking A picture book of beautiful women, wearing enticing creations. Besides,a few menbecame first satisfied our customers. in a shorttime, And theyhadmanaged spread goodword.victoriasSecret to the was- nt like shopping lingeriein a department for store. matronly No saleslady make a man feel uneasy. raisedeyebrows to No or pursed asking lips aboutsizes. racksof flannelandterrycloth No to wadethrough. And no clunky,plasticboxesoverflowingwith boringwhitefoundation garments. Therewere a numberof good issues just covered. First, Dun- lap comes acrossas being truthful when she admits that the men were embarrassed. short, she raises an objection in the para- In graphheading("Werent they embarrassed?") then answers and it honestly.But then she brings in the fact that they were motivated by a full-color catalogthat sherefers to as a "breathtakingpicture book." Here she very subtly brings in the catalog as the motiva- tional factor that prompted all thesemen to come to the store. Another objection you might raise if you decidedto go to the storeis the storeenvironment itself and the humanelementin the stsle-the salesclerks. you were a man, would you be If embarrassed? Here in this same parugraph (which really should havebeen a new paragraph) raisesthe objectionand resolves she it by pointing out that the storehas none of the embarrassments found in a department store.In short,this is a storethat would not embarrass man at all. a214 i L
  • 213. In this ad, Dunlap first got your attention and raised all theobjections that you might have if you were a man and wanted tobuy lingerie for your wife or girlfriend in a womens lingerie store. In the next paragraph, Dunlap broadens the market fromjust a few men to all men, similar to the way Karbo broadenedhis income opportunity ad to include anybody interested in bet-tering his or her life. Heres what she said. The men in our life. Since that first ValentinesDay, weve learned a lot about our male customers. Someare con- Mainly, they cant be stereotyped. servative,some far from it. Some are rather old, while others are much younger. Whether doctors, accountants, salesmen or bankers. . . they all haveone thing in common.They aretrue con- noisseurs beauty.They know how sensuous of and lovely a lacy camisoleor elegantgown looks on a woman. And whats more, they know how wonderful a woman feels to receive something beautiful and intimate from a special man. And it takes a very specialman to shop from Victorias Secret. Not only does Dunlap include a broad range of men but shethen compliments the men on their taste and understanding ofwomen in general. In the next paragraph we finally get the real pitch of the ad.Since the only Victorias Secret stores were located in northernCalifornra at the time, the real purpose of this ad, which rannationally, was to attract catalog customers from the other 49 "Ourstates. So after the paragraph heading luxurious photoalbum ." comes the pitch. Note the colorful and sensuouslan-guage which only helps to create the environment for this ad. If youre like our male patrons-sensuousand fashion-conscious in your own righl-youve beendying to find a place like Victo- rias Secret.However,if you live outsideof northern California you wont find it. But for $2.00you can havethe next bestthing. Our luscious, full-color catalogue alluringdesigner of lingerie. What if you dont like our style? We guarantee youll be the first man who didnt. But . . . if after you receiveour catalogue, you find our fashionstoo sensuous or too luxuriousfor the lady in your life, you haventlost a thing. Our lush, full-color catalogueis an elegantcollecto1silsrn-2 conversationpiece your friends will adore! (Already, our cus- tomers are requestingprevious editions of the Victorias Secret catalogue.) 215
  • 214. To receiveyour own personalcopy, send $2.00 to Victorias Secret,dept.W500 faddresswenthere]. Well sendyou our col- orful catalogue fashion of romance first class via mail. There was one main problem with this ad and unfortunately it came at the most critical pafi-at the end. The objection some prospects might raiseis, "What if Im not pleased with the $2 cat- alog or any of the merchandise?" Nothing was indicated about their returnpolicy.And a nice hook could havebeento allow cus- tomersto usetheir $2 investment buying the catalogtowardthe in purchaseof their first order. Or even allowing them $ 10 toward their first order. From what I understand,the first ad was moderately suc- cessfulin bringing in catalogrequests, which in turn brought in sales. This was a two-stepprocess-to scanthe marketfor possi- ble customersand then make them customersthrough the catalog. This is a very good applicationof a print ad and a good example of many of the principles. The principles that you should particularly pay attentionto are the excellent timing of the objections and how they were resolvedand the beautiful use of words that told a story and cre- ated the perfect environmentfor the offer. The real offer was the catalog,but the story that was told gavemen permissionto get the catalogand buy from it-a lot less embarrassing than going into the store. "Lingerie for Men" was brief, interesting and flowed quite nicely.And althoughits endingcould havebeenmore compelling and more effective, it brought you through the copy like a slip- pery slide all the way to the very end. I would have also addeda byline to the ad to make it even more personal. The catalogMctorias Secretpublishedback in 1979was a lot more sensuous than the catalog they put out today. If I had to classify it, I would say it was an upscaleversionof a Fredericks of Hollywood lingerie catalog.And indeed,they were quite pop- ular with the men. Two advertisingpeople from Victorias Secretattendedmy seminarbefore the franchisewas sold to The Limited. The two women used their copywriting skills to write the colorful cata- logs. They both claim that the seminarwas one of the turning216
  • 215. points in their careersand a major factor in the early success ofVictoriasSecret. The lessonto be learnedfrom this exampleis that you canwrite a greatad but then miss some greatopportunitiesat theend.And the end of the ad is when the buying decisionhas to bemade-its a critical point in any advertisement. In the next chapter,I give you an example of a companytrying to resolvea problem without first raising it. It will clarifythe important method of always raising an objection and thenresolvingit. 2t7
  • 216. Ccccchailen27 Tirir is a good example of an advertising message that could have been quite powerful if it werent for one fatal flaw. Let me explain. rhnd!9hiyr-aslorllrl,..r Ocvcr.r.[nr .dill:caron I was flying back from Rockford, Illinois, in 3!er bli! lhe OC 1q has tas.ea alonF $lh L 5 srf rsrr€9 r+5rc jrsl as dollndiiq r th. r.r$1r rray z! rhc5. TF OO l|ytrr! nrtrr requi.ed my own private plane. I was about 50 miles from or u s A r Fortr 0 loc{ dDnr..rtrl-. ll,ar r lni I on dnla 170. tcs in 90.e!rlrn x.!nd f4i:ier i dzy i^4 lhe q.Jhe rlrrcs ri5 dipcrlabr ily srrtu n! 1! the Pal-Waukeeairport where I was scheduledfor r. 4ar. ra.c rbqll in€ t)fil! ^.ik T)c B..orr!: grr 14b28. UcDonndl Dlrgl2j ^/ MCDONHELL D<>uGLAs 7-- an instrument landing even though the weather was perfect for flying. The air traffic controllers were unusually quiet as I approached Pal-Waukee. It was a bright clear day-one of those rare days when you could seefor miles. As I got closerto Pal-Waukee, could seeoff I in the distancea big fire near Chicagos OHare airport. I landed my plane, parked and walked into the airport office where I learnedfrom a television broadcastthat American Airlines flisht 191 hadThisad had a just crashedon takeoff from OHare and that all its passengersmajorflaw. The had died.That was May 25,1979, and it was one of thosemem-entireftrst partwasmissing. ories that remains indelibly etchedin my mind. The plane that crashedwas a Dc-lO-one of McDonnell Douglass largest and most popular aircraft. Immediately after the crash, it was determinedthat there was a hydraulic problem that, under certaincircumstances, could causeloss of control and consequently crash.McDonnell Douglas quickly correctedthe a problem,but for a while all DC-10s were grounded. If that werent enough,the DC-10 was involvedin two more crashes within a relatively shortperiod of time. The last two were unrelatedto any fault of the airplane,but the stigma of the Amer- ican Airlines crash was still on the mind of the public. McDon- nell Douglas realized that it had to do something to offset the negativepublicity. They picked Pete Conrad to act as spokesman an adver- in tisementto address publics concern.But insteadof raising the the 219
  • 217. objections of the plane crashes and then resolving the problem with the excellent copy that was written, the objection was totally ignored. The resulting ad was hollow. The following is the copy as it was written: Headline: "The more you learn about our DC-10, the more you know how greatit really is." Byline: Pete Conrad, former astronaut, Division Vice President, McDonnell Douglas Copy: Ive watched airplanesand spacecrafttake shapefor much of my adult life. Im certainthat nothing madeto fly haseverbeen designedor built to more exactingstandards than our DC-10. Eighteen million engineeringman-hours were invested in this planes development. That includes 14,000hours of wind tunnel fatigue testing for the equivalentof testing,as well as full-scale 40 yearsof airline service. Im convincedthat the DC-10 is the most thoroughly-tested jet- liner ever built. Along with U.S. Governmentcertification, the DC-10 has passedstructuretestsjust as demanding,in their own way, as thoserequiredof U.S. Air Force fighter planes. The DC- l0 fleet demonstrates dependabilityflying more than its a million miles a dav and servine 170cities in 90 countriesaround the globe. The ad then ended with a place to write McDonnell Douglas to get more information. The copy was good copy-very persuasive in terms of build- ing confidence in the plane. And all this was presented by a former astronaut to add credibility. But it lacked an important opening that would have made the copy many times more effective. What if the ad had started out differently? If I were given the assignment of writing the ad it would go as follows: Headline: DC-10s Big Secret Subheadline: Youve heard a lot of bad publicity about the DC- 10. But heres somethingyou may not have known. Byline: By PeteConrad Copy: It was horrible.When AmericanAirlines flight l9l crashed at OHare in Chicagolast May 25th,hundreds peoplelost their of lives in what was consideredone of the worst plane crashesin American history.The plane-a DC-10. But as the facts emerged,it was learnedthat a seriesof coinci- dencesresultedin a hydraulic malfunctionwhich in all likelihood220 t L
  • 218. may neverhappen again.But it did happen. And in the subse- quent weeks,a series of fail-safesystems were installedthat makethe DC-10shydraulic system among safest anyjet- the of liner. In addition, otherrecent two crashes DC-10s of weredetermined to be totally not the fault of the airplane of the pilots.But but because thenegative of publicitygenerated theAmerican by Air- linescrash these and othertwo crashes, havebeenevenmore we diligent. airlines required giveeachDC-10a complete All are to inspection every50 hoursinstead the required100hoursof of flying.Theplanes hydraulic system checked is beforeeachflight instead waitinguntil a required of inspection. And the planes structural system checked only by eachmechanic by is not but thepilotsthemselves. couldntfly a safer You plane. Then I would pick up the copy from the existing ad so itwould continue, Ive watched airplanes spacecraft shape muchof my and take for adult life. Im certainthat nothingmadeto fly has ever been designed built to more exacting or than our DC-10. standards [Then I wouldput therestof his copyhere.] Do you seethe difference? What I have done is to raisethereal problem (or as I call it, the "objection") and then resolveit.Conradscopy, which could easily go at the end of my ad, wouldthen contributeto resolvingthe problem. After reading my version of the ad, you would leave witha positive,good feeling about both the companyand the mes- "That was a sincere effort to dispelsage.You would think,thosefalse impressions the safetyof the DC-10." The mes- onsage is an emotional presentation which shows concern,integrity and leadership. Now comparethat with the way the ad was originally writ-ten, which might have left you with the sarcasticimpression,"Sure its a safe plane. . . ." Or maybe, "They are just trying tocover themselves from all the heat theyve been taking." Keep in mind that the copy they had was very good. Theyjust left off the entire front end of the ad and were avoiding thereal issue-the eventsthat actually happenedthat prompted their ad. They just spent most of their copy resolving the objection it without acknowledgingand addressing directly. 22r
  • 219. The lessonto be learnedhere is to reahzethe importanceof raising an objection, regardlessof how embarrassing detri- or mentalit may seem,and then doing your bestto resolveit. Youll find that the public really appreciatesyour candor, honesty and franknessand will respondto your messagein a positive way, whether it be to buy your product, to develop a good feeling about your company or, as in the case of the DC-10, to restore confidencein an airplane.)))
  • 220. 28Ehapten Stimulating Eu"n if you never wrote a piece of copy in your life, one look at this ad from Sony Video Communications and you would feel pretty much like the cartoon character shown in it. Youd feel like falling asleep. The advertisingagencythat createdthis ad probably thought they had a very clever idea. Their concept-show the contrastbetweentyp- ical typesof boring communications a new, and more stimulatingvideo presentation (new back 70s when this ad appeared). in the mid In keepingwith the theme,the headlinein the ad was inadvertentlyboring in that it was hard to read with its bold capttahzed type. The ad layout was boring.And finally, the copy was monotonousand did not follow many of myThe theme of principles. So whoever createdthis ad was certainly being con-this ad was"boring." They sistentwith the theme in their presentation. was boring. Itaccomplished But being consistentwhile going in the wrong direction istheir goal. not a greatstrategyeither.Very few people would want to read a boring ad. There are thousandsof ad messages out there on a daily basis,and to standout you need a message that grabspeo- ples attentionand causes them to readyour entire ad. And to get them to read your entire ad, you must usemany of the techniques Ive presented throughoutthis book, evenif the ad you are creat- ing is not a mail order ad. In the Sony ad they are first trying to sell the concept of using video and then of using Sony video, once they have con- vinced their reader to try this new medium. My approachwould have been to createa story of somebodywho switchedto video and saw a dramaticbenefit-more sales,greaterproductivity or more awareness. Here are the first few paragraphsto give you the senseof 223 -- 1
  • 221. how the copy flowed. The ad had no subheadline, cartooncap- no tion and startedout with a very long and boring first sentence. Every day, Americanbusiness spewsforth a virtually endless stream inter-office of memos, conference reports,trainingmanuals, brochures, telexes,phonecalls, slide shows,letters,telegrams, directmail pieces, annual reports, press releases newsletters. and The average employee deluged is with communication. And thereis no way of tellinghow muchof it is eitherignored, forgotten,misplaced summarily or disposed of. In short,