Can you afford the world’s most expensive
hard drive of blockbuster advertising
and tested and proven response boosters?
From: Lawrence Bernstein
Tuesday, 10:53 AM
Sonoran Desert, USA
I am writing today to sell you the world’s most expensive computer hard drive of blockbuster ads and response boosters.
And with that sentence, I’ve just broken a cardinal rule of sales letter writing — I’ve told you up front what I’m selling, instead of warming you up first. If you think that’s unusual, in just a moment I’m going to break some more.
Because this is no ordinary hard drive and to be truthful, it’s not for everyone. You’re busy and probably don’t have the time to read this through to the end only to discover the price and content of this unusual offer are out of reach for 99% of those reading this. So, with your permission, I’m now going to break another rule and tell you the price right up front.
It’s the world’s most expensive hard drive for creating winning direct response advertising and…
It’ll set you back a whopping $100,100
That’s £81,056 in pounds… €95,112 in euros.
And finally, let me break one more rule while I’m at it.
Sales letters like this are normally heavy on the guarantee. They promise unconditional and instant money back if you don’t like the product for any reason.
Want to know what the guarantee is with world’s most expensive hard drive?
It’s precisely the same as with ANY print ad insertion, DRTV spot or direct mail drop.
Zip. Zero. Zilch.
That’s the REAL world of high level direct response… and business.
So, if you want a friend, get a dog. And if risk-free “voyeurism” is your thing, stop reading. The Internet is awash with “zero-risk” products and you can download one thousand thirty one $97 e-books instead.
Why have I chosen to break all the rules? Because this drive breaks all the rules as well.
Announcing the 17-pound FedEx laden with
your new direct response SUPER POWERS
for 2017… 2018… 2020 and beyond
- 1,853 HEALTH & BEAUTY print ads. Everything under the sun. (“Health & Beauty MegaBase” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- HIGH TICKET Selling (Part 1): “How to turn $49 investment newsletter subscribers into high ticket buyers… for a $10 Million week. (“High Ticket” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- 634 FINANCIAL ads. DM packages & print with 15,000 fully searchable keywords. Investment newsletters, trading systems and software, options advisories, penny stock pitches and more. (“Financial MegaBase” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- CRIMINAL CLOSER’S Manual: The Feds shut them down… but not before this rogue firm booked $250 million in sales. This 76-page training manual was mandatory reading for employees. (“Criminal Closers” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- KILLER CHIRO campaign grew this franchise from a handful to HUNDREDS of clinics. 29 ads… 134 total chiro ads. (“Killer Chiro” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- 30-page checklist for writing “Story Ads that Sell.” (page 600, Players in Print Volume 3)
- ALT-HEALTH. 320 Direct Mail control packages. (DM Health MegaBase on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- 4-foot-11 marketing GIANT’s fool proof knock-off insurance… and $200 million payday. 52 ads. (“4-foot-11 Marketing Giant” on Million Dollar Hard Drive.)
- SELF-HELP secrets: 209 DM packages and print ads. (“Self-Help” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- Supplement Swipes… 352 proven print ads. (“Supplement Swipes” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- RETAIL COPYWRITING dwarfs mail order… and this treasure trove of 420 long copy ads TROUNCED the competition. (“Retail Copywriting” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
HEALTH INFO-MARKETER’s secret stash. No pills or potions here. The secrets of selling health related books, reports and plans… 185 winning ads. (“Health Info Marketing” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- “Dentorials” that pull. 69 print ads. (“DENTAL” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
PREPPER products. Market of hillbillies, paranoids and cooks? Think again. The survivalist’s market continues to soar… and high ticket products abound. 124-page lesson for selling $10,000 power generators… 84-page “how to” for pitching $500 freeze-dried food rations… a 30-page control for moving cases of colloidal silver kits. (“High Ticket” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- FASCINATION FILES. 134 pages. Ad collection sent unsolicited to direct response legend, Marty Edelston. His friendship worth a thousandfold the check. (“Fascination Files” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- HOT NEW direct response lead for 2017. $8.5 million in sales and 80,000 new customers thanks to this unlikely lead. Working like gangbusters in health and wealth. (“Hot New Lead” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- $1,300 GOLD? The greatest silver and gold print ad swipe file there is… from a 50-year copywriting veteran. 75 ads. (“Silver & Gold” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- Socialist’s SALES SECRETS. He once boasted in a headline: “Do You Realize (blank) is the Largest Book Publishing Enterprise Ever in Existence?” But since he sold HUNDREDS of millions of books, none can quibble. His 223-page title testing manual… and greatest ads collection. (“Socialist’s Sales Secrets” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
Ultimate Trading Swipes. 75 DM packages. (“Trading Swipes” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
Pain Relief 151 winning print ads. (“Pain Relief” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- PICK-UP artist in print. Mild mannered agency-man by day… pick up artist by night. His pioneering print campaign. (“Pick Up” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- WEIGHT LOSS. Many marketers don’t have the risk tolerance for it. But if you do… try this: 1) a good advertising lawyer and 2) this weight loss swipe file of 171 current and recent print ads, including: supplements, weight loss centers, hypnosis, and cosmetic surgery. (“Weight Loss” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- FUNDRAISING fortunes. Ogilvy’s response boosting dynamite (not in any of his books)… British advertiser’s £147.7 million windfall in 2015… Virginia farmer’s formidable fundraising secrets… €278 million raised in 2015 by this monolith. 68 ads. (“Fundraising” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- Unbeatable BIZ-OPs and perfect pitches. 130 long running print ads. (“Biz-Op” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- REAL ESTATE. Greatest “nothing down” pitches in print… TAKE AWAY selling to the tune of $19,000,00 worth of lots sold in a single day (in the 1920s)… Secrets of sight unseen selling… Urban land CRISIS and selling the dream of “small town America”… How B.K. Haynes sold more land per ad than ten competitors combined. (“Real Estate” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- HIGH TICKET Selling (Part 3): From $500 supplements to $5,000 options advisories. (“High Ticket” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
Profiles of “Players in Print”
Players in Print #1: “The agency that hated the agency business… and
bought out its clients”
Tale of the Tape: “4-Day Formula” Creators. 9,232 total retail print ad insertions. (420 ads in “Retail Copywriting Kingdom” on Million Dollar Hard Drive).
Forget the 4-hour nonsense. Here’s the ad agency that built some of the biggest franchises with a 4-day work week and loads of long copy.
Lansdale & Carr founded:
- 4day Tire Stores, one of the nation’s largest retail tire dealerships with sales of $80 million a year (inflation adjusted 🙂 ). 4day relied on powerful “reason-why” copy to dissolve price shopping, train customers for life… and grow the franchise like MAD.
- 4day Golf Clinics and Pro Shops, the biggest chain of retail golf shops on the West Coast that ran some of the most responsive quarter-page verticals in the history of print.
Lansdale bought out former clients:
- Dorman-Winthrop, and turned them into the nation’s largest men’s clothing operation… facing the San Diego Freeway at the Magnolia St. offramp. Their advertising arsenal included: personality in advertising, iron clad “reason-why” copy and “story selling,”
- Standard Shoe Stores… whose 3,348 fractional ads were plastered all over the L.A. Times for years.
For good measure they also owned a mail-order tire company (Teletire), a wholesale truck tire company (Macho Tire Enterprises), and they had a minority interest in a luxury yacht broker, Yacht Sales International of Newport Beach.
They LAUGHED at his 4-day work week idea…
till he sold $80 million worth of tires in one year
Never heard of Lansdale & Carr?
You’re not alone. Search the web for them and you won’t find much.
There are the obits of both founders in The L.A. Times and a trade journal article about the folding of 4day Tire, after the founders passed away — unfortunately commonplace in companies without a succession plan.
Back when they got started in the tire business though, no one gave them a chance.
The landlord at the original West Lost Angeles location on Sepulveda Boulevard demanded a year’s rent in advance before handing them the key. It became one of their busiest locations.
Phil Lansdale was the creative force, while Don Carr was the numbers cruncher and together, they came up with the…
Just as the name suggests, stores were only open four days a week, from Wednesday to Saturday.
Why four days?
Of all the expenses a tire dealership has, labor is the biggest and most of that is due to overtime. The four-day week kept labor costs way down and structured store hours only around peak times. It also made the stores recognizably DIFFERENT from everyone else’s, as expressed in…
4day’s powerful 22-word U.S.P.
“Open only during 40 most efficient selling hours. We can sell at cut prices by developing maximum sales with 1-shift overhead.”
Most important, it allowed 4day to OUTSELL every other chain in the country when it came to top-end radial tires.
The sun has long since set on the 4day chapter and the Lansdale advertising empire, but its lessons are evergreen for any direct response advertiser.
Starting with the most basic one…
How many retail businesses give the customer
a REASON to do business with them?
This is how 4day grew from one shop to industry domination — long copy underpinned by flawless “reasons why” and valuable info in every ad.
There’s not just one but a colossal 39 reasons — many the average tire customer would never fathom — and it’s backed up by 4day’s guarantee and the company president’s contact info if there’s a complaint.
Take the big one: #2 on the list of 39 reasons.
“2. Cut prices. We undersell by taking less markup than others take.”
It’s succinct and immediately understandable, but a reason nevertheless… and rightfully tops the list of 39.
Lansdale companies were usually positioned as price cutters, but there was always a CLEAR PRICING METHODOLOGY detailed in the copy, never a “We’ll beat any price” claim.
As anyone who’s been around the block in direct response knows, competing on price alone is a recipe for failure. That’s why it’s essential to acquire the right long term customers to sell to again… and again.
But just as important, is disqualifying the wrong ones who think only in the single dimension of price.
No retail advertising did this better than Lansdale’s.
4day may have sold tires… but they knew how to…
GET RID of Tire Kickers
Some price shoppers can be redeemed, once things are explained to them — the rest are best cut loose.
Here’s one of the best arguments against sleazy retail sales come-ons and it applies to any industry. Every prospect with a brain knows it but nothing beats spelling it out for him.
“Do you fall for the ‘we’ll beat any price’ tire gimmick?”
“Some things never change. Open the newspaper and you’ll see some tire dealer boasting in his ads that he’ll beat any price.
What he really means is that he usually overcharges you. But if you show him our 4day printed price list or one of our ads, he’ll drop his price one penny below ours. After you leave he raises his prices again
Does it make sense to buy tires from someone just because he’ll save you one whole penny?
We don’t think so.
“No pricing tricks at 4day”
You know exactly what you’ll pay at 4day because our prices are posted in plain sight in each of our stores.
Ask the manager for a copy of our printed price list. It’s yours to keep.”
Who’s ever heard of an agency that buys its clients?
The biggest drawback of the advertising business hasn’t changed.
As Lansdale put it: “l was always at the mercy of my clients.”
Most clients were too conservative for his taste. So he developed a peculiar habit of buying them out.
One of his biggest accounts was the discount men’s clothing store, Dorman-Winthrop, whose management passed on to the founders’ offspring.
What did the young heirs to this venerable retailer decide to do?
They immediately went about DESTROYING the very thing that built the company — it’s advertising. And that left Lansdale no choice but to buy them out.
This ad’s from the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 20, 1971. (Click on the thumb to enlarge it.)
Yes, it ran over forty-five years ago, but it’s stocked with all of the WEAPONS of direct response we prize today: personality in advertising, iron-clad “reason why,” targeting objections early and often, “story selling” and more.
But if you asked a random web jock what he thinks of it, he’d likely label it as “stone age” and irrelevant.
He’ll never understand anything about the role of direct response in shaving off years and vast expense in building a thriving business.
But you could make the same claim about many multi-nationals.
It has a market cap of just under $117 billion.
Unilever GOBBLED up more direct response driven companies recently than Pac-Man pac-dots, companies like: Murad, Dermalogica, Kate Somerville and REN… and made their entrepreneurial founders wealthy in the process.
A sensible outsider might ask, “Why doesn’t Unilever just set up their own direct response division — and save a fortune — by creating these kinds of companies instead of acquiring them?”
But that’s the…
“Evergreen arbitrage” of direct response
Unilver and companies like them only know how to acquire, not create.
They’re no more wired for direct response than the Dorman-Winthrop kids were to run a company built on the art of retail copywriting.
Phil Lansdale was a behind-the-scenes retail ad genius who crossed into the rare realm of acquirer.
When once asked if he was “impressed” with his own advertising, he scoffed:
“Ads, shmads. That’s child’s play. I dislike the advertising business and I despise the agency business. The agency business is to make ads and who the hell needs ads? Our job is to take something and make it better.”
Player in Print #2: “Dentist to the (almost) stars
Some advertisers have never picked up an advertising book in their lives, yet somehow they come up with an ad that nails it.
And if you’re a player in print, it’s not just what you say but who hears it.
This Upper West Side dentist stopped advertising 25 years ago — he built up such a vast patient base in a red hot market that he’ll live off referrals till he puts down his dental tools for good.
Here’s a quick test.
Aside from financial types, admen and lawyers, what is there more of in Manhattan than anywhere else? If you thought “waiters,” you’re half right — it’s actors.
And while most of them will never get past a casting call, few are quick to let go of the dream… and they’ll pay anything to keep it alive. And that’s how Dr. X made his bones. He ran hundreds of ads for over ten years in Backstage, the “casting bible” for theater performers.
The headline, “Is your smile holding you back?” seems prosaic enough, but sometimes that’s what works best.
“Stains. Gaps. Uneven teeth. Discolorations. If you’re a performer or model, your smile could be holding you back… spoiling a great audition… undermining a super portfolio. .. or making you self-conscious right when you need all the confidence you can muster.
For nine years I’ve improved the smiles of hundreds of performers, models and others in the public eye. I’m proud to say that several of my “star” patients are appearing on Broadway and in TV series right now.”
Not only is this a perfect message to market match but these fledgling actors — in a city filled with them — are prime prospects for the high end services that make some dentists rich.
(69 print ads in “DENTAL” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- Casino magnate’s 7 MAGIC WORDS heralded the deal of the century. (Players in Print Volume 3, page 471)
- $500 bottle of supplements? (“High Ticket” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- “H-BOMB on paper.” Almost unknown response booster. (page 343)
- TRUMP won. Now watch this response booster continue to soar in 2017. Plays on a combination of disaffection and nostalgia. (Players in Print Volume 3, page 428)
- SHEEP get slaughtered. The investment ad that nailed the sales psychology of winners versus losers faster than any financial print ad in history. (page 500)
- The space to buy NEXT to your ad that can TRIPLE readership… and DOUBLE response (Vol. II Intro, page 7)
- 2 MAGIC words in the health, beauty and diet markets (page 46)
- The headline every fundraising advertiser has thought of… but only one had the courage to run. (page 572)
- BORING BOOKS? 328,099 book club ad insertions in the history of print. And Classics Club offered the most prosaic of titles from the likes of Plato, Aristotle, and Marcus Aurelius. Secrets of BIG IDEA ads that transcend the product for sale. (page 552)
- “The formula” for selling to seniors in print (page 135)
- World’s greatest gadget swipe file (72 pages in “Gadget Swipes” on Million Dollar Hard Drive
- You’re MAD… if you don’t test this offer headline in health and beauty at least once. (page 432)
- BEAT THE IRS. Ad campaign that licked the IRS and saved this advertiser hundreds of millions in tax dollars. (page 587)
- How a copywriting footnote turned into a $500 million business (page 17)
- Print campaign from the fund with $40 billion under management. (page 499)
- 96-year old secret for SMASHING competing retail insertions on the same page. (page 536)
- FORGET Martin Conroy. Everyone touts the billion dollars plus in sales attributed to his “Two Young Men” direct mail letter. But it was these 2,988 “tinytorials” for trial subscriptions to “The Wall Street Journal” that worked customer acquisition like crazy for decades. (page 538)
- Secrets of using time frames to ramp up claims… from Dow Theory Forecasts. 60 years in print and 3,694 insertions. (page 532)
Player in Print #3: “How Evelyn Wood built
the fastest franchise in speed reading”
“I took a course in speed reading. They taught me how to read down the center of the page. At the end of the course I read ‘War and Peace’ in 20 minutes. It deals with Russia.”
But Evelyn Wood’s Reading Dynamics was no joke — it was making money hand over fist. By 1978, when the movement reached its peak, there were 150 franchise locations throughout the United States and many more overseas, charging a respectable $395 a head.
Their print ad campaign was nothing to laugh at either and with 8,220 print insertions, Reading Dynamics knew its direct response.
And you couldn’t ask for a more streamlined business model than Reading Dynamics. Besides advertising, its only expenses were instructors and hotel conference rooms.
How could any advertiser have
a more powerful grabber in 1975 than Jaws?
Reading Dynamics hit it out of the park when it came to “zeitgeist marketing” and there were other films and series in this campaign besides Jaws, like: The Godfather, The Exorcist, and Roots.
Just think of a traumatized Jaws filmgoer coming across this ad. Click on the thumb above and take a look. Imagine it’s 1975. Have you ever seen a more foolproof way of entering the conversation in the prospect’s mind? The 3-word headline, “It sounds incredible,” immediately tackles any objections to the claim in the subhead, “JAWS IN 41 MINUTES.”
Faster reading, better comprehension, 550,000 graduates, and the power of demonstration through an invitation to a free Mini Lesson… what prospect could resist?
This campaign was a win for the franchise, its students, the film studios, the publisher… and literacy itself. Why don’t more advertisers try this?
For dentists, chiropractors, cosmetic surgeons,
optometrists, hypnotists, osteopaths, aestheticians
and 22 more professional practice areas
- FORGET AdWords. Use this “leadvertorial” in a direct response “hotbed” instead. Almost no competition. (page 362)
- KILLER CHIRO campaign grew this franchise from a handful to HUNDREDS of clinics. 29 ads… 134 total chiro ads. (“Killer Chiro” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- Harley Street nutritionist and life coach’s AMAZING advertising for selling to the royal family, celebrities and the well-to-do. (22 ads in “Royal Family Advisor” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- HYPNOSIS for Health. (25 ads in “Hypnosis for Health” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- “Leadvertorial” that gets 3-5 times higher readership when it’s NEXT to this (page 359)
- “Dentorial” PULLS more leads than the average dentist does teeth (page 349 plus 69 print ads in “DENTAL” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- This lead helps optometrists across America SEE higher response (page 350)
- Chiro “leadvertorials” that beacon to ideal prospects like a lighthouse in a sea of clutter (page 360)
- Legal “leadvertorials” prosecute the competition (page 369)
- The leadvertorial “double-up.” Pound for pound the best remnant space a professional practitioner may ever buy. (page 361)
- Dentist’s 10-YEAR headline asked this group a simple question… got resounding response… and built a high end practice (page 348)
- How this “tinytorial” in the “A” section of a HOTBED publication outpulls ads 2… 4… even 8 TIMES larger (page 363)
- 2-step ad with a recorded message line. DEAD in 2016? The surprising answer. (page 366)
- Why the newspaper is still king of the hill when marketing to seniors and many boomers… and is the only way to reach many of them (Vol. II Intro, page 6)
- NATUROROPATH’s KNOCKOUT advertorials. (25 ads in “Naturopath” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
Super COSMETIC SURGERY Swipes. (30 ads in “Cosmetic Surgery Swipes” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- Chiropractors can’t stop swiping this Eugene Schwartz headline. It’s been going strong since 1952. Now charting like mad in health and wealth. (page 425)
Player in Print #4: “The Pharmacist Frontman”
He came from a line of pill and potion entrepreneurs. His grandfather immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe — a perennial hotbed of cosmetology — and founded his first company in 1904.
The company then passed to his father, also a pharmacist, and eventually to him in the 1980s. He worked the sales magic of direct response via advertorials for 27 years… and grew the company by multiples. His specialty was the fractional ad and he had over 10,000 ad insertions across North America. His ads sold off the page and promoted his products at retail partner locations.
One ad alone, with a deceivingly “simple” headline, had a whopping 3,059 insertions.
Why were his anti-aging ads so successful?
Because in the age of “Dr. Google,” where anyone can play a doctor at home, the photo of an M.D. in a white coat does not have the power it once did.
But there have been a SLEW of ads featuring pharmacists over the last few years that have had stunning longevity.
Players in Print Vol. 2 is loaded with advertisers who are raking it in with this response secret heading into 2017.
So, next time you’re contemplating a “white coat promo,” consider this:
“Pharmacists were ranked as the second most trusted profession in 2014, according to the results of an annual Gallup poll that asks consumers to rate professions according to perceptions of honesty and ethical standards.”
And pharmacists routinely rank in the top three professions of the annual Gallup poll.
Players in Print Vol. 2 will introduce you to advertisers whose fractional insertions often outpull ads 2… 4… even 8 TIMES larger.
The good old advertorial.
20th Century advertising legend, John Caples, was the first to advocate and rigorously test the advertorial format.
One of his earliest split-run tests, in which one version of an ad was formatted as a traditional ad and the other as an advertorial, resulted in the advertorial format getting 81% more orders.
Little has changed since Caples’ original findings and there’s a greater array of advertorial formats in 2016 then he could have ever imagined: tinytorials, multitorials, leadvertorials, front pagevertorials, Dear Abbytorials and “the ad within the advertorial.”
The advertorial formats you don’t know…
“The tinytorial” or tiny advertorial packs a punch and can be used to sell off the page, push retail, expand brand awareness… or do all three. Large advertisers often ignore them and it’s a pity because they could utilize them to amp up full-page ads or DRTV spots. Smaller advertisers are totally unaware of the selling potential of the space.
The “pharmacist frontman” ran half and full-page ads but the tinytorial was the backbone of his company for decades. The tinytorial just above for Primatene had 14,744 insertions and ran for 28 year without changing a word of copy.
Then there’s the “multitorial” which violates the usual rule of one offer or product per ad. But rules were made to be broken. One player in print’s main ad format is the multitorial which often has up to ten alt-health products per page.
Their insertions run in big national publications like, USA Weekend,Star, National Enquirer and dozens more. An earlier incarnation of the company was devoted to information marketing but today, it’s all about supplements, which can be ordered toll-free by phone and online, as well as purchased at the big three: Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.
The “leadvertorial” is pound for pound the most effective advertising space most professional practitioners will ever buy. But with all the web jocks running around touting everything from conversion rate optimization to funnel creation, everyone seems to have forgotten the power of the free report tied to the recorded message line. Yet, savvy attorneys, chiropractors, investment advisors and more use this as their bread and butter format to haul in leads by the boatload, while their competitors bleed each other dry with pay per click and online display.
The newspaper is still king of the hill when marketing to seniors…
and many boomers and the only way to reach many of them. The benefit of the “free recorded message” is still as compelling in 2016 as it was in 1986. It’s nonthreatening and as immediate as picking up the phone any time of day or night. Unlike the web, the competition’s almost nonexistent in many newspaper markets.
Why do they work so well heading into 2017?
Ironically because over $30 billion of newspaper print ad revenue vaporized since 2003.
Classifieds gutted… retail advertising shrunken… and national ads contracted. The flat-footed advertisers who bailed on print or fled online, hadn’t a clue what they were doing in the first place. Now that all the waste circulation’s been swept away, the rising tide has lifted the boats of all direct response advertisers.
Publications where response was cold… HOT… hotbed newspapers… even HOTTER.
“The front pagevertorial” wasn’t created by Ogilvy but he turned it into a formidable weapon for his marquis client, Helena Rubinstein, whose cosmetics line was one of the biggest and best known in the mid-20th Century. While Rubinstein’s business was structured as a retail cosmetics line, tethered to prestigious salon addresses on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago and Fifth Avenue in New York, she also did a lot of mail order business.
The front pagevertorial is ideal for companies with one or more product lines and since it mimics the front page of a newspaper, it has the benefit of multiple readership paths, which usually lead to higher response.
In 2016, it’s evolved into the magazine “advertorial spread.”
And remember, next time someone says “print is dead” or a magazine is “an Ipad that doesn’t work,” that 204 new print magazines launched in 2015 including websites turned into print magazines like heavyweights, CNET and WebMD. Ask them: “Why these big web brands would venture into a dying medium?”
“The Dear Abbytorial” uses the irresistible appeal of the advice column to win readership. The Athenian Mercury contained the first known advice column in 1690. Advice columnists, like Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers, are known as the “agony aunt” or uncle in the UK. But whatever name they go by, the advice column format is one of the most underused, yet highest attention grabbing formats there is. The “pharmacist frontman” also wielded the Dear Abby with lethal sales power for decades.
Why is the “Dear Abby” the secret weapon
of print advertisers in the know?
Because the advice column mirrors our standard problem-agitation-solution approach. The reader is expecting a problem to be brought up, then addressed and solved in the confines of the column. And like the early advertorial format Caples trumpeted, people are “trained” to read it. While, it’s a natural for health and beauty products, there’s seemingly no end of products or services that can profit from it.
Print publications, and newspapers particularly, are far less crowded than they were ten years ago. This has helped not only loosen advertising departments’ regulations but made remnant space more readily available… which segues into…
The “ad within the advertorial.” It was a no-no for many years with most advertising departments because of its slick A.B.A. (anything but advertising) camouflage. Is it an ad? Is it an article? No one can tell. And because of that, response can often fly off the charts.
As publications grope for revenue in 2016, the tables have turned… and the ball is in the advertiser’s court. Mark O. Haroldsen ran these ads across the country in big market publications in the late 1980s and filled hotel rooms with anxious would be money makers.
Joe Karbo also ran this format in the late stages of his “Lazy Man’s Way to Riches” campaign. One of the perks of this format that Karbo jumped on is the ability to trumpet:
“The Lazy Man’s Way lo Riches” has appeared in Fortune, Newsweek, Time, Reader’s Digest, Barron’s, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Dun’s Review, Money Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, New York Times … in hundreds of magazines and newspapers in the United States, England, Canada, and Australia.”
Readers had surely seen Karbo’s ads before but didn’t take the bait. But after reading the above caption, they’re forced to ask themselves: “Why didn’t I order?”
“Players in Print” Volumes 1-3 deliver HUNDREDS more ideas and response boosters for ramping up print ads:
From a 7-second format change that can automatically bump response by 10%-15% for ANY print ad… to the space to buy NEXT to your ad that can TRIPLE readership… and DOUBLE response… to MAGIC words in the health, beauty and diet markets that ignite readership and response… to hundreds more.
Player in Print #5: From London lawyer’s underground epiphany
in 1960 to €278 million in funds raised in 2015
Pills, potions, investment newsletters and self-help courses: the stuff sales letters are made for.
It helps a copywriter now and then to step out of his own arena.
And London lawyer, Peter Benenson, had a copywriter’s blood.
Peter Benenson set up Amnesty International humbly enough. He got on the London Tube one morning to go to work as usual with the Daily Telegraph rolled under his arm, when he came across an article about two Portuguese men jailed for drinking a toast to freedom in a Lisbon cafe. He persuaded hundreds of people to write to the Portuguese dictatorship of the day, demanding their release, and the plan worked.
Today, Amnesty has 7 million international members and supporters with monthly memberships beginning at $10.
How could any newspaper reader ignore: “Write your own bloody headline?”
(26 ads in “Amnesty” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
ANTI-AGING Swipes (96 ads in “Anti-Aging” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- Men’s Health Swipes (116 ads in “Men’s Health” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- Men’s health advertiser’s “DECOY ad” — a bikini-clad woman in a tanning bed — runs next to the actual ad. Known to the cognoscenti of print players… but this is far more powerful (and legitimate) at consistently landing attention and readership (Player In Print, Vol. II Intro, page 7)
- 7-SECOND format change can automatically bump response by 10%-15% for ANY print ad… once you know this (Vol. II Intro, page 4)
- He made a KILLING in direct response before getting killed in the mutual fund business… just before the Crash of ’87. (page 506)
- 2,653 insertions by the original “GET RICH in real estate” promoter (page 561)
- FLORIDA LAND FRENZY: $19,000,00 worth of lots sold in a single day… in 1926. But promoter dies under mysterious circumstances aboard the RMS Majestic only months after full page ads ran. The earliest known TAKE-AWAY advertising in print. (page 549)
- How a macabre attack by two goons on a Midtown Manhattan street turned into the most dramatic proof element ever dared in beauty advertising (page 342)
- You may never offer a lifetime subscription… but if you do… (page 564)
- These 14,744 “tinytorials” ran for 28 years… without changing a word of copy (page 358)
- When bubbles burst… how nothing down hustlers profitably change course when their promise falls on deaf ears. (page 479)
- How to create an impregnable MARKETING MOAT around your brand or product (Vol. I Intro, page 13)
RATE CARDS: $48,400 for a full color page in The National Enquirer… $199,000 in USA Today… $576,500 for Better Homes and Gardens… $784,900 in Parade. Players in Print NEVER pay the rate card. And more importantly, they ALWAYS test in cheap direct response hotbeds like these first. (Vol. II Intro, page 5)
- Secrets of the “NO SALE” and “No Sale Held Over” (page 454)
- 2 MAGIC WORDS in this headline formula turned these 6 ads into multi-year controls (pages 462)
- Why “cerebral” ads are the kiss of DEATH in biz-op (page 175)
- The 4-foot-11 marketing GIANT who created the perfect knock-off… and devised a fool-proof way to foil knock-off artists (page 293)
- Why green products are destined to make a mountain of greenbacks (page 181)
- Not enough advertisers test this 1-word headline. How good is it? A full page didn’t cut it heading heading into 2017… now it’s up to two-and-a-half pages. (page 458)
- Book from the remainder bin saves company from extinction (page 188)
- Measly million a year in mail order? Or a brand that sells for $200 million? (page 329)
Player in Print #6: From penny-a-word science-fiction writer
to $600 million net worth
L. Ron Hubbard is quoted as saying in 1949:
“Y’know, we’re all wasting our time writing this hack science fiction! You wanta make real money, you gotta start a religion!”
Five years later, he did just that.
There are more than a few copywriters who can relate.
Thanks to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, it’s remarkably easy to start a religion.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof .”
So if you wanted to start a religion based around resolving past-life traumas due to the tyrant ruler Xemu’s interstellar shenanigans of 75 million years ago… you’d be free to do so… and to convert as many followers as you wished.
Here’s why some might consider it.
It’s all about:
The World’s Most Coveted Business Status…
No, it’s not the Forbes List, it’s TAX EXEMPTION… and Hubbard’s organization achieved it TWICE.
It gets more interesting.
Someone with the inclination could spend the better portion of a month watching Scientology exposés and documentaries online … and never come by it. And few would even think to look.
It’s the advertising secret Scientology used to REGAIN tax exempt status after losing it due to “Operation Snow White.”
That was Scientology’s internal name for the mass infiltration of 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates with the attempt to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
By the time the government caught on and came after them, Hubbard went on the lam while his wife took the fall for the mountain of criminal activities.
The kind of moxie demonstrated by “Operation Snow White” combined with widespread public antipathy toward Scientology made anyone wonder:
How in the world could Scientology regain tax exempt status?
Of course, it’s advertising that holds the answer.
And advertise Scientology did.
They spent untold millions on multiple insertions of 26 full-page ads in The New York Times and The Washington Post and their target was the German government and its treatment of the Church of Scientology in Germany.
The fight against the common enemy, or the common perceived enemy is blunt, yet remarkably effective and it’s been the go-to advertising theme for Scientology over the years, whether the foe was the IRS, the German Government or the War on Drugs.
The ads in the German campaign compared the treatment of Scientologists in Germany to that of the Jews before the Holocaust. And even though these were advocacy ads, they were direct response in nature.
Readers were encouraged to write to a list of names in every ad, usually including President Bill Clinton, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the U.S. Secretary of State and the German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The campaign worked. The landmark reversal shocked tax experts and saved the church hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes over the last 23 years. After the IRS ruling, the State Department jumped on board and formally criticized Germany for discriminating against Scientologists.
Beating the IRS and regaining tax exempt status is impressive work for an ad campaign. Makes finding the next “Snuggie” look like child’s play.
- FORMIDABLE FUNDRAISING: This secret — learned by David Ogilvy in his twilight years — ensures higher response across the board. Not in any of his books. (page 569)
- 2 MAGIC WORDS sold these relationship books by the boatload. (page 565)
- Brand building ad format almost every health and beauty advertiser is overlooking (page 291)
- Secrets of peripheral products that cash in on insane trends (page 170)
- £147.7 million annual budget… Royal National Lifeboat Institution was founded in 1824. Secrets of their success. (page 571)
- Classic direct response + brand building = $1 billion in sales (page 22)
- UNBEATABLE BIZ-OP: Energy Group of America had the dream pitch. Power proof elements via the U.S. Government’s oil lottery, a mail drop in the Empire State Building, and a 1-800 number. This ad has everything… including this timeless truth about biz-op seekers. (page 597)
- The “tiny pill” response booster (page 333)
- “Good cop-bad cop” advertising (page 247)
- 2,411 word lesson in the power of origin marketing (page 189)
- ZIKA virus: it was the 4-letter word on every athlete and attendee’s mind at the Rio Olympics. Now it’s gained a foothold in South Florida and spreading. Demand for this high priced specialty product could be insatiable come Spring. What it is… and how to sell it. (page 87)
JOINT PAIN. 104 print ads. (“Joint Pain” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
“SEX That Sells” series that turned heads and opened wallets. (page 449)
Secrets of the “reversed Trojan Horse” (page 25)
to direct response superstar”
On February 12, 2009, the New York Times published a half-page exposé about his company but the founder’s name is conspicuously absent from the article. Now that’s deep cover… and it’s by intention. Little’s changed since.Here are a few of his achievements.
- Turned a copywriting footnote into a big idea that sold over $500 million worth of a product.
- Founded a numismatics company that sold $365,290,090 worth of products. (This is a dated company figure from his list rental division from September 2012.)
- Grew a supplements company from start up to maturity in short order and sold it to Twinlab in 2012 for a giant payday.
- Devised a NEW response booster that shifts the sales equation from “yes or no” to “Am I eligible?”
- Is the player in print who sells off the page while building brand awareness and pushing retail. His understanding of retail as the endgame of direct response helped rapidly get his products on the shelves of thousands of chains stores.
- Uses CTAs (calls to action) that pack a punch like none other… and genuinely employ urgency, specificity, scarcity, social proof and greed. Direct response on this level demands only one means of response: the toll-free order hotline plus overflow hotlines.
- Is a master at turning freemiums into fortunes.
- Packs more selling power into a caption than some writers do in an entire ad. How? First, start with visually arresting, boldly emotional images. Then jam a laundry list of direct response elements into the caption, like: scarcity, overcoming objections, social proof, restating deadlines, order options, event marketing, satisfaction guarantee and pushing retail.
Players in Print Vol. 1 highlights his complete direct response advertising methodology with products in DOZENS of markets. Because newspapers account for most of his full page ads — some with 2,000 words — the manuals are printed in high-resolution giant tabloid formats, so you can easily read every word of copy, take notes and liberally use your highlighter.
(365 ads in “Ex-factory Floor Worker” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
Player in Print #8: ” Mild mannered copywriter by day…
pick up artist by night”
Weber was a timid young copywriter working for Prentice Hall who wasn’t having much luck with love, when he decided there had to be a better way to meet women.
So, he took tape recorder in hand and spent his weekends approaching women and asking them what a man could do to pique their interest.
At night, he’d transcribe the tapes.
He realized he was onto something when he met the woman he’d later marry. Eventually, he had enough material for a book, but no publisher would option “How to Pick Up Girls.”
One day Weber was sitting on his psychoanalyst’s sofa complaining that he’d worked thousands of hours on his book, but couldn’t get it published. His analyst replied, “You’re in advertising. Promote your own book and sell it yourself by mail order.”
That’s exactly what he did and he went on to sell millions of copies of his books and became the first “king” of the dating market.
- CLANDESTINE advertising cabal. Letter drop at Kent House, 87 Regent Street, London was their only calling card. Their print ads were thorns in the sides of governments on both sides of the Atlantic. (page 592)
- From “freemiums” to $500 million in sales (Players in Print Vol. I Intro, page 15)
- Was Gene Schwartz wrong? Commodity product that created its own demand… and sold for 10 TIMES the competition. The difference? World class copy and positioning. (page 12)
- Going, Going Gone! B. K. Haynes employed urgency and powerful proof elements to sell more land per ad than ten competitors combined. 2,430 space ad insertions. (page 539)
- $3 MILION A MONTH operator… in the 90s. His litmus test for all successful BIZ-OP promotions. (page 599)
- 2,803 ad insertions from 1966 to 2008 built one of the largest retailers of its kind in North America (page 242)
- BANNED for 30 years — now viable again. Most ad departments prohibited this format because of its slick A.B.A. (anything but advertising) camouflage. But with many publications now groping for revenue… “the ad within the advertorial” is fair game. (page 197)
- 89 year-old antidote to discounting… from the world’s second highest paid copywriter… after Claude Hopkins. (page 535)
- How to knock-off a successful product with better story, better copy and better marketing… and sell a half-BILLION dollars of product in the process (page 2)
- WINNING financial advertising… from the winner of the World Cup Championship of Futures Trading. (page 504)
- Financial copywriters know Louis Engel’s epic ad… ten thousand responses from a 6,540 word ad and a buried offer. Here’s the follow-up ad that kept the momentum flying high for Merrill Lynch. (page 511)
- Print ad secrets from the UK’s leading Independent Financial Adviser. (page 501)
- They swiped Caples… but no one LAUGHED at American Educational’s sales. 30 years of “story selling” ads (page 378)
Players in Print #9: “Nordic Invaders”
Some supplement sellers push products for decades by mail order… chug along but never seem to grow.
Meanwhile, another group focuses on retail distribution and remote selling. They start company after company and eventually sell to whale sized acquirers, the likes of Unilever, who recently swallowed up direct response driven companies: Murad, Dermalogica, Kate Somerville and REN.
What makes the difference?
Two of the keys have nothing to do with copywriting or marketing. What are they? They’re pharma style packaging and top graphic design.
And few are doing it as well as the “Nordic Invaders” who rate high on any takeover target list.
The Health & Beauty MegaBase (jammed with 1,853 print ads) holds their complete advertising campaign running on two continents. While many copywriters would be quick to label their leads as testimonial headlines, they’d be completely missing the nuance that’s kept these Vikings on a tear.
Players in Print #10: “4-foot-11 marketing giant”
and the “natural born hustler”
They ran one of the most successful ad agencies in Washington D.C. before embarking on one of the biggest “heists” in direct response. One was a born hustler.
What makes a “born hustler?”
“Born hustlers can see the real reasons people want things; they are not fooled by the reasons people give for wanting things. The born hustler learns how people pretend, and he knows that lust and greed and conspiracy and other censored feelings are what make people want things as much as love, charity, virtue and other feelings sanctioned by preachers and the newspapers. They do not have to study at any school to learn these things, and the born hustler like Mac knows, by knowing himself, exactly how much wanting is and is not free from certain ideas of sin.”
One day, a friend tipped the duo off about a potentially lucrative market that was open, but warned other investors had lost money in it. Who better than two advertising pros to test it? They spun off some prototypes and placed a small ad in a home and garden magazine. Within a few weeks, their secretary was filling 3,000 orders.
They were onto something big. The only problem was 2,800 of the 3,000 people who ordered demanded refunds within 10 days because the original product was junk.
Back to the drawing board.
It wasn’t long before they had a vastly improved product. They placed a half page ad in the same kind of magazine; the ad said the same thing as the first one did. This time 4,600 orders came in and the nervous secretary didn’t have a single refund to handle.
There were some more speed bumps and further tinkering with the product, but they ended up with the ultimate mail order product — one with demand as vast and margins as high as it has today. They next turned their attention to retail while the mail order business blazed on.
Ironically, theirs was a knock-off product (albeit a “legitimate” one) and with all their advertising brilliance and mounting success they now faced being knocked off themselves.
“I needed something they couldn’t steal.”
“But as with anything brilliant, people will steal it if they can. It was not long before people [the hustler] calls “the pirates” came along and changed a word here and there in his copy and used it to sell their own fakes. [He] was outraged and his face still turns an unhealthy red color when he talks about pirates and how the copyright laws do not protect ad copy, not even great copy like his. He was so afraid of the pirates that one day he invented [the ultimate knock-off defense] “I needed something they couldn’t steal,” he said.
Their case study is one of the most powerful any marketer will see and one of the cleanest “Zero to Sixty” businesses in direct response history.
Players in Print Vol. 2 contains the complete case study, as well as their longest running control ads from 1969-1991. In 1992, QVC bought the company for over $200 million.
(51 ads in “4-Foot-11 Giant” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- How the PROS test for “brand rollout” when they’ve got a winning product name. (page 56)
- Why a unique column that originated in 1690 could be the HOTTEST advertorial format in 2017… 2018… 2020 and beyond (page 211)
- SIGHT UNSEEN SELLING. The biggest and best real estate pitches coincided with bubble bursts, whether it was Florida land in the 1920s or Florida condos in the 2000s. Cialdini-like persuasion packed into this land boom spread… just as the bottom fell out. (pages 550 & 551)
- The original “How to Rob Banks Legally” ad (page 505)
- Selling nutritional drinks by the truckload with “story selling” (page 388)
- How to WEAVE an irresistible origin story that transcends the rug for sale (page 257)
- How PROS use direct response to sell cars (page 219)
- The case against origin marketing (page 210)
- 3 MAGIC words headline and a multi-year control for Yale Hirsch’s “Smart Money.” Begging for insertions in 2017. (page 514)
- Hirsch headlines were heavy on alliteration and powerhouse lead gen (page 517)
PROPHETS IN PRINT: This advertiser’s empire ran into the billions… with large global holdings in securities and land. How he used print to capture the attention of a sitting U.S. President… every day of his tenure in office. (page 589)
- FANTASTIC FINANCIAL advertising from a Broadway singer-songwriter… 1,169 insertions for Indicator Digest. (page 518)
Player in Print #11: “The man who called Black Monday on live TV”
Nothing beats being right… especially when everyone else is so wrong. And if you’re a financial newsletter publisher that does so on live TV, you can certainly count on a bump in subscriptions.
Martin Zweig called Black Monday on Lou Rukeyser’s Wall Street Week, on the October 16, 1987 broadcast.
He was a larger than life character who vowed to become a millionaire after buying his first stock at the age of 13. He later lived atop the Pierre Hotel on 5th Avenue, at the time, most expensive residence in the U.S.
Zweig was a prolific print advertiser who walked his talk. His newsletter, the Zweig Forecast, delivered a 16 percent per annum compounding return, the highest risk-adjusted return of any market advisory service between 1980 and 1995.
(33 control ads in “Martin Zwieg” on Million Dollar Hard Drive, 634 total FINANCIAL ads. DM packages & print on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
Player in Print #12: “The Old Lion”
He’s now in the last chapter of his career and on the cusp of a massive new breakthrough with “clean green products.” Here’s why he’s likely to succeed.
- The old lion’s company, founded in 1968, was estimated by Business Insights to have gross billings of $573,000,000 in 2004 with 750 employees. This is the last reported year in the database.
- He took an indebted, basement run company to 4,000% growth and turned it into an industry leader.
- He pulled off an act of advertising alchemy no one dared try in direct response before. He reinvented a commodity product in 2004 that sells for 10 times that of competitors. He’s sold over 3 million of them through print, direct mail and TV for gross sales of over $1 billion.
- He mailed hundreds of millions of direct mail promotions in North America and had tens of thousands of display ad insertions.
- The old lion has a 40+ year track record as one of the most successful and prolific print ad copywriters with products in categories including: supplements, health devices, weight loss, exercise equipment, golf, flags, numismatics, heaters, coolers, air purifiers, costume jewelry, information products, business opportunity, horoscopes, beauty and rejuvenation, memorabilia, specialty products, home study courses, gadgets, cleaning products, cruises, art work sweepstakes, gourmet food and politics.
- He devised the campaign that pulled $262 for every letter mailed and got between a 3% and 5% response rate (depending on the list) for an average order of $6,000 to $8,000. By all accounts, the highest known GPP (Gross profit per prospect) of any promotion ever mailed.
- The old lion is a master at marketing and selling $500 specialty goods off the page. After 40 years of plying his trade, he remains one of the foremost print ad copywriters and the greatest exponent of “Q&A copywriting.”
(365 ads in “Old Lion” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- 36 years of clobbering competitors in this ultra-competitive market… thanks to the outrageous challenge. (page 474)
- The ONLY classified ad in Players in Print… from this financial advertiser with a $600 million net worth. (page 522)
- Tales of an ex-factory floor worker who built a BILLION dollar direct response empire… sold over $500 million in specialty products… sold over $500 million in coins and currency… and sold a supplements division to Twinlab for over $100 million (Players in Print Vol. I Intro, page 4)
- HOTTEST headline and photo combo in biz-op history. Begging to be re-purposed in a proper market. (page 422)
- 70’s Sales Secrets. These financial advertisers milked this lead for all it was worth. (page 520)
- Secrets of advertorials with MULTI readership paths (page 276)
- Art of “Question & Answer copywriting” (page 49)
- How a Hungarian Uprising refugee used origin marketing to build a chain of upscale salons and a booming mail order business. (page 203)
- Premiums that PULL financial newsletter subscribers like crazy (page 516)
- Recession advertising that sells (page 413)
- BILLION dollar direct response dynamo that can’t sell in print (page 375)
- Stuart Berger’s “Southampton Diet” was the celebrity diet du jour of the early 80s. He had no training in nutrition and died of heart disease 12 years later… at a weight of 365 POUNDS. But not before making millions… how he did it. (page 533)
- How the world’s first heart transplant surgeon became the “world’s weirdest” frontman in anti-aging (page 338)
Players in Print #13: “The Carpet Kings”
They spent more on advertising than many competitors tallied in net sales and built one the largest carpet chains on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Their full page ads filled New York metropolitan newspapers and magazines for 42 years.
Copy underpinned their long running success and if you haven’t seen a Carpet Kings’ ad, you’ve yet to know some of the most successful retail copywriting ever printed.
Above all, their retail advertising always transcended the rug for sale… with lines of copy like:
“It is here in the mountains, among the virgin forests of fir and pine that descendants of Aryans and Mongols weave rugs exactly the same way their ancestors did. Malting dyes for the clean, clear reds, blues, greens and yellows of their designs from the trees and.flowers around them.”
While their copy trumped everyone in the space before or since… it’s in the art of turning a sale into an event where the the Carpet Kings shone.
“It’s monumental. It’s larger than life. And it’s here. Presenting [Carpet Kings’] 4 1/2 day Warehouse Sale, a sale of such grand proportion, it could only fit in our warehouse. Your home will never be the same after the immense savings on our hand knotted Oriental rugs, area rugs, broadloom, fine furniture, and remnants. It’s everything from sunwash to saxonies, Bijars to berbers, Persians to pindots and from living rooms to lamps. When it comes to these savings, bigger is better.”
Their ad campaigns were so powerful they dug into Tri-state area consumers’ psyches like deer ticks… and more than enough dropped what they were doing and headed across the George Washington Bridge to keep the Carpet Kings going for over four decades.
And if that isn’t enough, the contrasting characters of the Carpet Kings is the textbook example of personality in copy. They were masters of “good cop-bad cop” advertising, with one founder serving as the customer’s adversary and the other as his advocate.
(66 ads in “Carpet Kings” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- CROOKS, thieves and liars… a.k.a. 2016 retail banking. But not at the Bowery Savings Bank. Long copy was their trust winning cornerstone. (page 530)
- 1920s copywriting legend: Frank Irving Fletcher. From $10 a week at an artificial flower company to $200,000 a year in salary ($2.7 million in 2016 dollars). Retail advertising success that transcends time. (page 537)
- Contrarian claims. The original “Get Rich Slowly” ad. (page 529)
- What the PROS test in print when there’s potential: headlines, price, photos, offer and celebrity endorsement (page 57)
- “Will a dolphin save your life?” Virginia farmer’s fundraising success secrets. (page 573)
- BANNED: Mark O. Haroldsen’s “ad within the advertorial” filled seminar rooms from coast-to-coast with anxious would-be-money-makers. So devilishly clever, most ad departments banned it for decades (page 195)
- Hitting a hole in one with golf advertorials… to the tune of 472 insertions (page 221)
- The art of book club copywriting from the adman who crossed the $100 million threshold in sales. (page 557)
- Fine furniture advertorial drove prospects down a pothole ridden New Jersey street for years (page 223)
- Breakthrough + money saver lead (page 138)
- The Surgeon General response booster (page 114)
- “Traveltorial” sent unwitting thousands of respondents into discount travel clubs (page 224)
- € 278 Million raised in 2015. Fundraising copy doesn’t get any better. (page 579)
Player in Print #14: “Bet-A-Million Bob’s Deal of the Century”
“Crazy Bob,” “The Polish Maverick” “Bet-A-Million Bob”…Bob Stupak had more monikers than anyone could keep track of.
But his list of sobriquets is easily outdone by job titles: casino magnate, world-record motorcycle racer, professional poker player, mayoral candidate and Harlem Globetrotter for a day.
Not on this list is, perhaps, the thing he was best at — marketer.
Stupak wasn’t a shy promoter. Vegas World boasted the worlds biggest sign in addition to the gambling industry’s largest direct mail campaign.
His hotel occupancy rate was locked at 100% year round thanks to his press ads and direct mail. He thrived off the “low rollers” — those who wagered little or nothing in Las Vegas — the Uncle Leroys and Aunt Mildreds of the heartland who headed to Vegas World in droves.
And how could they resist?
One line of copy alone hauled them in like a tuna trawler on a banner day: “Two chances to WIN $1 MILLION instantly.” Mind you this was back in 1983 when a mil was worth a bit more but there’s nothing like getting a prospect’s pulse pounding right from the subhead.
Stupak’s DM packages mailed for over 10 years without changing a word of copy. Ditto with most of his space ads.
When “Crazy Bob” Waved
His Magic Wand…
When you pick up a Bob Stupak ad, you’ve left the mere mortal’s advertising realm and entered the world of the irresistible offer.
“Act now, to receive a virtually free Las Vegas vacation. For $198 per person or $396 per couple:
1. I will put you up in a luxurious mini-suite in an exciting Las Vegas hotel right on the famous strip.
2. I will give you free tickets to a show with name entertainers.
3. I will put a chilled bottle of Champagne in your room for free.
4. I’ll let you drink as much as want for free, whether you’re at the gaming tables, playing slots, or in one of the lounges.
5. I’ll hand you $1,000 of my money to gamble with for free.
6. I’ll let you keep all your winnings.
7. I’ll guarantee you’ll win a color TV, VCR, or a faux diamond ring.
Obviously, I’m not going to give this incredible deal to everybody in the whole world. There can only be [a small number] of these vacation packages available. First come, first served.”
When “Crazy Bob” waved his magic wand, they couldn’t say no. Customers happily gave him their money months to years in advance to nail down a Vegas World vacation package.
Of course, the magic didn’t last forever.
Stupak sold his interest to another corporation and had a near fatal motorcycle accident. The corporates came in and killed Bob’s beautiful direct response. But the country’s tallest freestanding observation tower, the Stratosphere, remains a testament to Bob Stupak’s irresistible offer.
- $180,000 raised in a single hour on a rush hour train out of Grand Central… written by David Ogilvy — not in his books. (page 580)
- How any chiropractor can adjust response with this leadvertorial (page 363)
- Dead plastic surgeon who became the frontman for one of the biggest selling diet pills in print (page 98)
- Irresistible offer headline from KCI (page 493)
- Most shoppers HIDE it at the checkout counter — but there’s no hiding the success of this product’s sales — 3,495 ad insertions. (page 602)
- Charlie Allen’s AMAZING advertorials in the golf market (page 222)
- Most persuasive “power of demonstration” campaign ever seen in print (page 228)
- Secrets of selling the excitement of “investment boredom.” (page 495)
- Potent combination of origin marketing and “story selling” propelled Featherspring’s sales for years (page 198)
- The FDA response booster (page 403)
- Little known response booster in the “A” section of The Daily Herald gave this “leadvertorial” a NIAGARA of readership and response (page 346)
- The GREED lead that siphoned $365 million out of the numismatics market (page 150)
- NEW response booster shifts the sales equation from “yes or no” to “Am I eligible?” (page 149)
- “Crisis copy” that sells. (page 496)
Player in Print #15: “Grizzled old goldbug’s
amazing advertising alchemy”
It’s no accident Dan Rosenthal was mentor to many of today’s copy legends, including Gary Bencivenga and Clayton Makepeace.
He’s known as the “copy ogre.”
Dan’s been writing about, promoting and investing in silver and gold for a stunning half-century.
He lives in the Far East these days and still has plenty of projects in the pipeline. His sales letters are spartan in the design sense, but name a writer who can match his knowledge, iron clad logic and white hot persuasion in the precious metals market.
His is not only the greatest silver and gold print ad swipe file there is but it’s loaded with Rosenthal’s hard won copywriting secrets like:
- The “magic tense” tested in thousands of insertions. (page 485)
- Fantastic freemiums. Offer as lead gen or just give it away? Dan Rosenthal’s surprising solution in the silver and gold markets. (page 482)
- The case against big benefit headlines (page 492)
(75 ads in “Silver & Gold” on Million Dollar Hard Drive, 634 total FINANCIAL ads)
- Space ad counterpart of the most successful financial direct mail package in history (page 507)
- 1-WORD headline winner for Pat Garrard’s “Capitalist Reporter” (page 513)
- “Four Honest Mechanics” and 895 “tinytorials” sold Esquire subscriptions like mad (page 601)
- Distasteful? Maybe. 9/11 and “negative event marketing.” (page 168)
- Revlon’s irresistible headline GRABBED readers’ (and regulators’) attention at the dawn of the anti-aging market (page 339)
- Selling an orchard full of fruit with one “story selling” ad (page 392)
- Black Monday sales secrets (page 255)
- The golfer that was struck by lightning and struck millions in mail order (page 26)
- FIELD RECON: you could have the best boat and fishing tackle but if you’re in a lake where the fish aren’t biting, or worse, where there are no fish, it’s for nought. The resource worth a FORTUNE to any direct response business. Let’s you know where the fish are biting… and who else is fishing. (Vol. II Intro, page 4)
- After you’ve sold 3 million units of a product… try this lead (page 16)
- MAGIC metaphors make the mechanism instantly understandable to the target market (page 402)
- New York socialite’s origin marketing success story turned bee pollen into an anti-aging sensation (page 200)
- What to do with the space you buy next to your fractional ad. Readership tripling potential. (Vol. II Intro, page 7)
and the last man standing in nothing down real estate”
Through the lens of 2016, this ad’s copy might not be up to snuff. But it wasn’t scintillating ad copy alone that kept Robert Allen’s ads and spots going strong for decades.
Allen had countless competitors in the “nothing down” real estate market as late night TV junkies during the 1980s are sure to recall.
* The avuncular Carlton Sheets with his trustworthy Midwestern accent. (Now retired.)
* The rags-to-riches Vietnamese immigrant, Tom Vu, usually surrounded by bikini clad women. (Now a poker player.)
* And the gritty salesman to the masses, Dave Del Dotto. (Now a winemaker.)
But of all the “nothing down” pitchmen, Robert Allen is the last man standing after 36 years. And if the next real estate boom hits, Allen could challenge the father of “make money in real estate,” William Nickerson, for lifetime number of print ad insertions.
Allen’s breakthrough ad hit the press on June 8, 1980 in the Los Angeles Times.
“Send me to any city in the United States. Take away my wallet.
Give me $100 for living expenses. And in 72 hours I’ll buy an excellent piece of real estate using none of my own money.”
You don’t have to care for “nothing down” to appreciate the sales method. Strangely, Allen’s outrageous challenge been out in the open for decades and is viable in countless markets, yet few marketers have had the guts to try it.
It was almost too good to be true. The very newspaper that was feeding him leads and sales took the bait and challenged him.
In response to “Send me to any city… take away my wallet,” The Times fired off a letter to Allen.
“The Los Angeles Times financial section challenges you do to just that.” A formal answer from the author of the best-selling book was not long in arriving from his home base of Provo, Utah: “This letter is to formally accept your challenge … We’re going to have a great time.”
The sprawling 3-page article, “Buying Home Without Cash: Boastful Investor Accepts Times Challenge–and Wins” appeared in the 801-page Sunday edition of the L.A. Times on February 1, 1981.
No one could have predicted The Times article would be
worth tens of millions of dollars to Robert Allen
Under the conditions of “take away my wallet… give me 72 hours and $100 in pocket money” Times reporter, Martin Baron, shadowed Allen’s every move from Monday, January 12th starting at 6:00 am through Wednesday, January 14th at 5:15 pm. This included bunking at the same cheapie hotels to ensure Allen didn’t acquire any midnight financing.
The article covers the two days in glorious hour-to-hour detail, from scoping the real estate ads to the numerous calls from pay phones to negotiating with counter parties to entries like this:
“12:45 pm: In this city of fine restaurants, Allen chose to have lunch at Burger King. He spent a princely $1.60 for a cheeseburger and strawberry shake. I splurged with a Whopper, orange drink and large fries for $3.02.”
But when all was said and done, Allen had won the challenge and Baron gave him back his wallet. The Times article became Allen’s evergreen proof element, set him apart from every other nothing down pitchman and helped him fill hotel seminar rooms for decades.
Player in Print #17: “Wrinkles FEARED Her”
Helena Rubinstein came to the United States as a penniless Polish immigrant who went on to build one of the largest cosmetics empires in history.
And direct response advertising played a key role in pushing her products at retail stores from coast to coast.
She was not an easy client to work for.
One day, she phoned David Ogilvy and complained that his ad agency was ignoring her account.
Ogilvy responded by taking the 30 employees devoted to her account and marching uptown to her Park Avenue apartment. When they went upstairs, Ogilvy ushered them into her bedroom to confront the prone Rubinstein: “these are the people devoted full time to your account, don’t doubt us again.” It took someone with the gusto of an Ogilvy to get her to acquiesce.
Granted, there aren’t many 30-somethings walking around with daily newspapers rolled up under their arms today, but there sure is a large universe of magazine readers.
Take a look at this magazine spread. You can click on the image to enlarge it. At a glance it looks like an article or product review spread. Of course, it’s an ad that pushes multiple products and it’s designed to flag any health and beauty reader.
How else could one advertiser squeeze products in anti-aging, diet and memory improvement into one ad?
Even the most hardened copywriter would admit the layout is vital here.
1,853 HEALTH & BEAUTY print ads. Everything under the sun. (“Health & Beauty MegaBase” on Million Dollar Hard Drive)
- Secrets of the “3-prong” headline template (page 21)
- DARK SIDE of direct response… and the surest advice for preventing your ads from becoming exhibits in an FTC or FDA proceeding (Vol. I Intro, page 5) [Yes, I’ll invoke the usual disclaimer “I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the Internet.”]
- Housing market meltdown transformed into “income opportunity” (page 480)
- Who’d be CRAZY enough to run full-page ads for $700 golf swing trainers in general circulation newspapers? Or not. (page 29)
- Translate the success of a 38-page mailbox control into print? (Vol. I Intro, page 17)
- The marketer responsible for more “cheap weekends” than any other in history (page 298)
- The pharmacist’s response booster (page 281)
- How to translate the “tiny pill” response booster into other markets (page 20)
- One promise every successful golf ad MUST have (page 30)
- 4,828 “tinytorials” packed a selling punch in the anti-aging market (page 287)
- How players in print use HOTBEDS to test ads and products (page 53)
- Coupon used in THOUSANDS of insertions for over 20 years (page 28)
The Million Dollar Hard Drive… fits in your pocket…
More fire power than a skyscraper
full of the ablest ad agencies
Plug the 3.0 Secure Portable External Hard Drive into the USB port of any computer (Windows, Mac or Unix.)
Once the Million Dollar Hard Drive whirls to life, the magic begins.
4,607 print and direct mail ads are at your command and you have the 10,000 foot view of direct response past and present. The PDFs range from 1-page space ads to 124-page bookalogs — the biggest, most actionable collection of ads on the planet!
But these are no ordinary PDFs.
Every keyword has been squeezed out of each promotion so you can search the individual folders… or the entire drive for any search term under the sun.
Search the Direct Mail MegaBase for a giant category like “arthritis” and you’ll find 160 DM packages that deal with arthritis. The Health & Beauty MegaBase has a colossal 280 print ads in which arthritis is mentioned.
Now take an obscure term like “pumpkin” and see the Million Dollar Hard Drive shine. There are 33 results from the direct mail database and 19 from the print ad database.
You can immediately see:
- Which products are selling.
- What claims other advertisers are making.
- What studies are cited in the ads.
One piece of copy that jumps out is: “German Study of 2,245 Men Reveals that Pumpkin Seeds Are ‘Effective’ in Helping to Reduce Prostate Symptoms.”
Imagine how many hours the average copywriter
will save on research alone.
And when you factor her ability to instantly survey what hundreds of advertisers have run on almost any product or subject imaginable, she’s in a class by herself.
The tales of marketers burdened by enormous ad archives are numerous.
* European home study course marketer, Axel Andersson, had an entire house filled floor to ceiling with direct mail that he was trying to pass on ten years ago.
* Biz-op promoter extraordinaire, T.J. Rohleder, needed an 18-wheel, semi-trailer truck to haul away his mountain of swipes.
* And a top flight copywriter with a beautiful 2-bedroom apartment in Manhattan had one of his rooms stuffed with his ad archive.
The Million Dollar Hard Drive has the advantage of fitting in your pocket and delivering exactly what you need… when you need it.
Take this 88-page bookalog. The product was promoted heavily by direct mail and long-form TV spots in the mid-2000s and typifies the numerous real estate investment pitches of the time.
Take a look at it.
At first glance it looks like any bookalog you’d receive in the mail… and eventually throw into a box or drawer, likely never to see again.
Not so with the Million Dollar Hard Drive!
Since this promo deals with promissory notes, when you open the PDF and do a Cntrl+F, you can enter “promissory” (without quotes) and find every instance of the term in the 88-page bookalog. Do it with any keyword you like.
And you’ll use the Million Dollar Hard Drive of 16.92 GIGABYTES just as simply as you opened and searched this PDF… whether you’re searching through one ad or all 4,607 of them.
“I love receiving packages from you. You’re like a Direct-Response Santa.”
(Dr. Karl Blanks, Chairman and Co-Founder of Conversion Rate Experts with clients including: GE, Lloyds, Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Sony, Vodafone and PayPal)
“Thanks to your guidance, my business is booming. I literally have more clients than I can handle.”
(Financial copywriter, received 1/18/13. Awaiting permission to use his name.)
“If I told you how many times I made my investment back I would lose all credibility.
Lawrence, I really have to thank you for your very clever and powerful marketing tool. The tool responsible for our surge in sales!
Every company — direct response or not — should get their hands on it. If you don’t make at least 25 times or more on your investment I don’t think you opened the package and followed the step by step instructions.
(Direct response founder, Anonymous)
“God, Lawrence, I really appreciate your stuff, so here’s a testimonial:
If you want to succeed gloriously in this business (assuming you have any talent, of course) sit down for a month and read, learn and practice the principles you unearth in this treasury of great stuff. Marvelous!”
(Drayton Bird, Direct marketing legend, London)
“You’re one crazy dude to do all this work, but until you get therapy, I’ll take advantage of it with glee!”
(Dr. Jack Booman, Leading Chiro copywriter, Spring Grove, Minn.)
“As a marketing enthusiast and dedicated student of the craft, I’m constantly searching for valuable insight and information. And once I found YOU (many years ago) I felt like I had finally found what I was looking for.
I was right.
Since that day, EVERY marketing strategy, sales system, retention model, acquisition model, process, advertisement, etc., that I have executed started with FIRST referencing one or more elements from you,
your website, or your partners. From my own house ads to ads for my clients, the foundation of everything I have done began with listening to your teachings, or the teachings of those that you reference/endorse. Dead or alive.
I now own and operate a successful digital ad agency with over 50 employees (give or take a few employees depending on economics 😉 and feel as though I owe you more than a bit of gratitude for my success.
(Digital agency founder, received 1/7/14, prefers anonymity)
“I get loads of emails from online marketers looking to sell me stuff to improve my marketing, but I trust Lawrence to deliver quality every time.”
(Jamie Sylvian, London)
“By the way, Lawrence, I should thank you directly…
Back in early November, Michael Masterson and I gave a speech at the AWAI Copy Bootcamp in Delray that dealt, in part, with the value of focusing on one theme rather than many in headlines and leads.
And the example I threw into our Powerpoint came directly from your website (attributed) where you compared two products for better vision. Naturally, I don’t remember much about the convoluted example. But the better version came from Gene S., “Your Eyes Can Heal Themselves…”
I don’t know where you find this stuff, but the examples were invaluable at making a strong point quickly.
I hope some of the 300-400 people present took my advice during the talk and went looking for your site.”
(John Forde, A-List copywriter and Parisian)
“Lawrence is the world’s greatest direct response researcher.”
(Gary Bencivenga, Copywriting legend)
This is REALLY GOOD STUFF! Also, GREATLY, appreciate the fact that you blew up the examples and published them in a Tabloid format.
Not everyone would go to the expense of doing that, but its the BEST way to see these examples. Thanks, AGAIN, for making this course available.
(Real estate marketing guru, Name withheld)
“Your manual has been instrumental in me writing an ad that generated over $20,000 in just two weeks, so cudos to you Lawrence.”
Dr. Ivan Carney, Temecula, CA
“My jaw is literally black and blue from hitting the floor over and over again as I got to see the techniques you’ve uncovered. I never dreamed many of these things were even possible, let alone how easy you’ve made them. The word ‘miraculous’ comes to mind.”
(Ken McCarthy, System Seminar Founder)
“If you want to learn what it really takes to sell – well, every single thing he shows has a lesson. I got two ideas this morning for something I am working on, which is actually a get-rich-slowly-but-surely educational service for marketers.”
(Drayton Bird, David Ogilvy said of him: “Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world.”)
“I want to take a moment to thank you for providing these updates. You are one of those rare marketers who supports his customers LONG after the sale.
(Karl Barndt, Kuncketown, Penn.)
“I want to thank you very much for coming out to Paradise Valley. It was a great day together with you. We very much appreciate your deep knowledge, insight and love and passion for the history and present of our industry.”
(Norman Rentrop, Founder Rentrop Verlag, Bonn, Germany)
“Lawrence, you are probably the most dedicated direct response scholar I’ve ever met.”
Tony Flores, Financial Copywriter and longtime #1 to Clayton Makepeace
“I think you’re a genius.”
(Christian Godefroy, European direct response legend)
“I saw you on the Gary Bencivenga retirement DVDs that I purchased. Great publicity for you.
I have to tell you, combining Gary’s wisdom with your swipe files is a lethal weapon.
Confidentially, because I’m not a braggart (in fact, you’re the first person I’ve told this to), my design partner and I have beaten A-list, world-class copywriting and design competition – 4 straight times. That’s how much I’ve benefited from–and appreciate – your material.”
(Rich Silver, Crow Moon Marketing, Dahlonega, GA )
“Brilliant examples, great commentary. This one just gave me an idea for a newsletter we’re about to launch that I think will hit large. I don’t know where you find this stuff, but I’m glad you do.”
(John Forde, Paris)
“If Lawrence has got a product for sale, you should get it!”
(Marty Edelston, Direct response legend and Founder of Boardroom Inc.)
You get what you pay for…
Sometimes you get much more. That’s the promise of direct response, isn’t it?
Because direct response is all about achieving what outsiders consider the impossible.
Whether it’s building a company in record time compared to conventional businesses… achieving tax exemption for the second time — after losing it… or devising a brand that can’t be knocked off by competitors.
You’ve likely read and written your share of sales letter closes.
The copywriter uses a typical value build, usually with references to products and services with defined prices, ranging from a cup of Starbucks to an Ivy League education.
But that’s tough to do here.
That’s because there’s never been anything like the Million Dollar Hard Drive.
The price is $100,100 — the cost of a 1/3-page color, Mon-Thurs insertion in USA Today.
Now, let me explain why $100,100 is the deal of the young century.
Take just a fraction of the Million Dollar Hard Drive, the Financial MegaBase. I could tell you it cost over a million to acquire these swipes… through trading, product purchase and subscriptions. I could tell you I’ve got the wash sale record, as well as stacks of bankers boxes filled with newsletters (that I’ll never read) to back up that claim. But at the end of the day, none of that matters if you have a house stuffed floor to ceiling with paper-and-ink swipes you can never use.
Moreover, as rate cards go, even a full page in USA Today at $199,000 hardly raises an eyebrow compared with $576,500 for Better Homes and Gardens… and $784,900 in Parade.
Take just a portion of the know-how in Players In Print… use a mere fraction of the ads in just one folder of the Million Dollar Hard Drive… and they’re worth many multiples the 1/3 page rate card in USA Today.
Now… combine the lightning speed of the Million Dollar Hard Drive — the biggest money making “search engine”of winning direct response advertising — with the greatest collection of response boosters and the arsenal of persuasion in “Players In Print” and you’re in a class by yourself.
Claim your package today.
Yours for bolder response,
P.S. Claim your Million Dollar Hard Drive now and get access to the Million Dollar Monitor with quarterly updates throughout 2017 to add to your hard drive.
|Health & Beauty MegaBase: (1,853 Print Ads)||$50,000|
|Financial MegaBase: (634 DM & Print Ads)||$50,000|
|Retail Copywriting Kingdom (420 winning print ads)||$30,000|
|High Ticket Selling Secrets||$25,000|
|4-foot-11 Marketing Giant: Case Study & Campaign||$15,000|
|Self-Help Swipes (209 DM packages and print ads)||$25,000|
|Event Marketing Magic||$5,000|
|World's Greatest Silver & Gold Swipes (75 print ads)||$15,000|
|Supplement Swipes (352 proven print ads)||$15,000|
|Killer Chiro Campaign (29 ads, 134 total Chiro ads)||$20,000|
|Dentorials That Pull (69 print ads)||$15,000|
|Origin Marketing Magic||$5,000|
|World’s Greatest Story Sellers||$5,000|
|Secrets of Selling $1 Billion of Specialty Products ||$10,000|
|From Start Up to Sale: The Endgame is Retail ||$10,000|
|"PhD" In Product Naming ||$5,000|
|Masters of the Tinytorial: Amazing Anti-Aging Ads ||$5,000|
|“H-bomb on Paper” Response Booster||$25,000|
|Health Info Marketer’s Secret Stash (185 print ads)||$15,000|
|Direct Mail MegaBase (320 Alt-Health DM Packages)||$50,000|
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