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Secrets of the Greatest Advertising Geniuses Who Ever Lived and How You Can Learn From Them

Copyright © 2008, 2017 by Carl Galletti

Chapter 1

Hi. My name is Carl Galletti and what I am about to present to you is some of the best advertising knowledge assembled from the works of the greatest advertising geniuses of all time.

You will learn the secrets that made their advertising the most successful ever. And then, you can use these secrets in your advertising, marketing, and promotion to make your own business successful.

A few of these advertising geniuses are still alive today but most are not. Many of them were at the height of their expertise in the early part of the twentieth century, a lot of them before 1930, some between then and 1950 and then it seemed to drop off dramatically. My theory for this is that when radio came along, it took a lot of the good writers out of the print advertising field where they really learned their trade, in mail order and print. Then TV took the rest of them. That’s where the money was. But as a medium for developing response oriented professionals it seems that TV proved to be a poor training ground.

The most prolific fields for turning out advertising geniuses was the mail order and direct mail fields. That’s because advertising produced measured results. In most cases, products were not sold in stores, so all the sales had to come through the mail. The mail order person MUST track results so the effectiveness of any particular ad or medium is precisely known.

Today, we also have the Internet and that has provided an even more effective medium than mail order for testing and tracking results. Therefore, I see that there will be a resurgence in advertising geniuses, especially those who can stand on the shoulders (i.e., learn from) the successes of the old time (and present day) advertising geniuses and develop their skills from there.

For the person just starting out or the person who has a small business, the most effective means of testing their advertising is through the Internet, using either direct mail sales letters or other forms of advertising and promotion.

So, how can you profit from these people who came before you and discovered the basic laws of effective promotion? The best way is to model their knowledge, to know what they knew. And how are you going to do that?

Well, there’s a very good way to do it. You find a book they wrote because that’s where they deposited their knowledge, the accumulated genius that took them years to develop.

Now, I’m sure there are advertising geniuses in history who didn’t write books. They’re not much use to us now. Their expertise died with them.

But luckily for us, the best of the best were also people who wanted to share their ideas and accumulated knowledge. They went through the trouble to put their expertise down in writing so that, many years later, we can now benefit from their genius.

The first book I read by someone I consider to be an advertising genius was “Confessions of an Advertising Man” by David Ogilvy. I used what I learned in that one book to write my first direct mail sales letter. When I look back on it, I didn’t know all that much but that letter still got me a 4% response. I was hooked.

But it wasn’t until the ’80s, when I came across a marketing and advertising genius called Jay Abraham. He was making $2,000 for a one-hour telephone consultation back then (later $3-5,000—I’m afraid to think what he charges today), and I said to myself, ” if he can do that, I want to know his secrets. I want to know what he knows. I want to know who he learned it from and I want to learn from those people as well.”

In many cases those people who taught him what he knew relayed their expertise through books, because they were no longer alive – people like Claude Hopkins. I found out about Claude Hopkins through Jay. He said that he read Scientific Advertising 50 or 60 times, over and over again. I said, “Wow, there must be some real secrets in that book”, so I really dug that one up. It wasn’t easy to find in those pre-Amazon days. I had to track down the publisher in Chicago, call them, send a check and wait six weeks before it came. I devoured it. I read it over and over again. I got a tape of the book (in Newstrack Advertising Classics) and listened to it over and over and over again. I’ll introduce you to some of that material.

Another person I found was Gary Halbert. Gary Halbert was a contemporary, and, you know, one of the best copywriters in the world. Here’s a guy who was making $15,000 to write a simple letter, plus 5 percent of the gross income on the letter. He had written one letter where it brought in $58.6 million worth of sales. It sold to over 7.3 million people and reached 140 million people.

People like him and Jay Abraham were people I looked to for expert information. I made sure I got every book they recommended. To me those books represented the source of their knowledge, not just what they were willing to tell me and whatever materials I could get from them but also who they learned it from. And lo and behold, it was actually true, what they knew, a large part of how they got to be as successful as they were was based on what they learned from the books I’m covering here.

And the proof of the pudding was that by me studying the books and practicing what was in those books, I then began to be good enough at what I was doing, so that these people were hiring me to write ads for some of their promotions.

I used what I learned to write a sales letter that got a 6% response for a $2,000 product.

I put that knowledge to work on the Internet and made $26,000 in 18 hours. And then another time, $55,000 in a week.

I used that knowledge to write copy for clients that sold millions of dollars worth of their products and services.

And, I used that knowledge to craft a 60 minute presentation that generated $458,949 in sales.

This stuff works!

Chapter 2

So, now I will show you the books you need to read and learn from. You need to immerse yourself in and ABSORB the secrets they contain. They will unlock your innate ability to generate profits through your promotions. These books need to be in your own personal library because you will want to refer to them again and again.

Remember, the author is the personality, the genius behind the book and he spent 30 to 40 years of his life amassing his expertise and knowledge through his own learning and experience. He spent countless hours gathering and putting his thoughts down on paper. And then he had to go through a rigorous selection procedure to get a publisher to publish the book. That book had to compete and survive many other books on the same/similar subject. Then it had to stand the test of time to become a classic, as defined by experts in the field. The advice these author-geniuses now give you through their books is invaluable, if you want to succeed and prosper in the any business.

Moreover, you cannot just sit down and read one of these books once and expect to absorb everything that the person spent all those years acquiring. You need to read them over and over again over a period of time. It doesn’t have to be all in one week. Read it once, then maybe a few months later read it again, then again maybe a few months after that. Have it on your shelf so you can refer to it whenever the need arises.

One technique I find useful where there was a audio available (as with the 8 classics in the Newstrack Advertising Classics) is to play the audio of the book from start to finish and when I get to the end of the book I just start at the beginning and play it through again. I usually do this while driving because it doesn’t take up any extra time out of my day. To read a book takes my full attention, the same with watching a video. But listening to an audio can be done while driving, walking, jogging, working out and other activities.

Heck, I’ve even played audio recordings while I was shaving and preparing in the morning. It proved to be a half hour of my time that didn’t cost me anything in time – I was able to do it simultaneously with something else I had to do. I could absorb great information while doing the necessary preparations for the day and gain a half-hour’s worth of “knowledge acquiring” that was free of any extra time out of my schedule.

I would still read the books because most of the recordings have to leave out some of the details.

The best books – obviously, there are only so many you can read – should be read first. So, it’s important to pick out the cream of the crop. What I’m going to show you here today is the cream of the crop, the books that are absolutely the best books that will give you the primary knowledge you need. These are the kinds of books you need in your reference library.

Many of them are hard to get. When I first tried to get these books, they weren’t in the libraries, they weren’t in the bookstores and I’d have to research for days and days to find a single book and then order from somewhere in the country and wait six to eight weeks to get them. So, what I came up with was, if I’m interested in this, maybe other people are interested in these kinds of books as well. So, I started to acquire an inventory of these books. After a while it got to take time away from my copywriting and marketing business, so I set up TWI Press (now Marketing Classics at to handle many of these books for me. They are much better at getting orders out quickly and efficiently. They still handle a few of the books. The others you can now get on Amazon. Just follow the links.

In some cases, the books I wanted were out of print and I got the rights to reprint those books, so I had some books that you couldn’t get anywhere else.

I also began to acquire copies of out of print books that I couldn’t or didn’t have the resources to acquire and reprint. These comprise, unfortunately, a very small collection since many of the books I’d like to have copies of are just not available.

The reason for this book is to give you a survey of the principles in the great marketing and advertising books so you know what is available to you and which book to read to get further knowledge on the subject. Even though some may be hard to get, I’ll give you the source of where to get them (whenever I know that) and that’ll make it a lot easier for you to follow up, if you so desire.

If you have any trouble getting any of these books, contact me. I may be able to locate an alternate source for you or put you on my “books wanted” list. You can also go to my website at: and see if I have any one-of-a-kind copies of it.

You should also join the membership there. It’s free. Just go to:

Fill out your first name and best email address and I’ll periodically send you updates as well as some free downloads and/or links to classic books, audios and videos.

So, let’s begin.

Chapter 3

The primary book that Jay Abraham recommended to me was “Scientific Advertising“, by Claude Hopkins. Claude Hopkins is such a genius. This book is filled with so many things that you should know, that there isn’t enough time in this tape to get into all of them and still show you the other books. So, I’m just going to go through a few of things in Claude Hopkin’s stuff.

I want to point out that there is a version of this book that is bound together with his autobiography, called “My Life in Advertising.” My recommendation is to get and read both.

Scientific Advertising has the boiled down concepts that he worked with daily in the advertising businesss. His autobiography goes into the details of how he acquired that knowledge, the situations that led to what he learned and how they taught him what he knew. You should read it because he tells you how he came up with his ideas. The background on them makes it much easier to remember the principles and why they are important. To me this is invaluable information. I don’t see how you can truly have a deep understanding of his principles without reading this autobiography. Get it. Read it. Absorb it.

Claud Hopkins is considered to be the father of direct response advertising. He is the most important person to read. David Ogilvy said:

“Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book (Scientific Advertising) seven times. It changed the course of my life”

I say: if you want to increase the chances of your success with applying principles in that book, you must also read “My Life in Advertising.”

Now, they’re actually two books bound in one. They were originally issued as two separate books. Because they are bound together and in trade paperback form, you get them for a lot less money.

Let me reiterate the reason why you want the autobiography,

“Scientific Advertising” is what most people recommend you read. It’s a very quick summary of all the principles. I think you need to be familiar with the autobiography first and then you can review the summary over and over again and even read the autobiography over and over again from time to time. The autobiography is also available in audio format.

One of the examples — as I go through each of these books, by the way, I’m going to read some things to you or present some principles that are things you can immediately use to profit from, whether they’re attitudes that you should have about your advertising, or actual techniques and principles. It will vary. Every single thing that I present to you here is a nugget of valuable information that you can take and use and profit from. You could double, triple, quadruple your sales. It’s been done many times over by many different people. Get it? It’s proven stuff.

If that’s important to you, take my recommendations seriously and get these books.

One of the things that really hit me as significant about Claude Hopkins is in the early days, when he was well known (he did most of his best work from about 1905 through the 1920s). He was hired around 1905 by Lord & Thomas, an advertising agency he became popular through. They paid him $1,000 a week when other copywriters were getting $35 a week. By the way, a copywriter is someone who writes copy (i.e., words) for advertising.

So, that was pretty impressive, $1,000 a week. There were years when he made as much as $185,000 a year through his efforts. Just to show you how significant that is, go back and take a look at what the cost of living was in the early 1900s so you know how much money $185,000 a year was back then. It was equivalent to millions today.

That gives you some degree of significance as to just how great an advertising man he was and now let’s get to some principles. Here he says,

“In some way, in your climax, inspire immediate action to those interested”

A coupon is the usual way. He was a very big user of coupons.

The point here is that people tend to procrastinate. He went on and said,

“People are dilatory. They defer action, then forget and many an advertiser loses in that way most of his half made converts. One cannot afford that”

In other words, to make a sale, you really need to get people to act right away; otherwise, they’ll forget about it. Even if they want to get it, they put off. They’re procrastinators. You need to have some way of getting them to act now and keep from procrastinating on the sale, otherwise you’re not going to make enough sales to make it worth your while.

He said there are other ways to get action.

“The week’s sales have that in view…”

As you go through your week’s sales you want to keep in view how to get those to happen right away, so

“…retail offers which apply to a certain day or hour, there are limited offers of every sort and something to induce prompt action to avoid procrastination is always an important factor in your advertising”

That is true today, even more so than it was in his day.

Another thing,

“Again and again, I have multiplied results from an ad by 8 or 10 by a simple change in headline”

Now, that’s a pretty dramatic statement. A simple change in headline can multiply your results by 8 or 10 times – he says “up to 8 or 10 times here”. And the reason, he goes on, is you select your reading by the headings. And these are the headlines that you put in your ads, your sales letter. So it is in ads and that’s how you select. You select your reading by headlines in newspapers. You do the same thing when you select by headline in advertisements that you read. You scan the advertisements. Your reader scans the advertisements.

Another thing – this is from “Scientific Advertising” – more about headlines. To show you the importance of headlines,

“The purpose of a headline is to pick out people you can interest. What you have will interest certain people only and for certain reasons”

This is very important.

“You care only for those people, then create a headline which will hail those people only”

Too many people dilute their advertising by trying to appeal to too many people at the same time. You only want to appeal to the people who are going to buy from you. You don’t care about the people who are going to sit there and just criticize your ad and not buy from you. They don’t matter to you. What matters to you are the people who are going to buy. You address those people and that’s basically what Claude is saying. It works very, very well. It also gets over a major problem that most people have when they first start writing ads.

Here’s another thing –

“The writer of this chapter spends far more time on headlines then on writing”

So, are you getting how important headlines are? If Claude Hopkins, the greatest copywriter of all time, spent more time on his headlines than his copy, then perhaps you should too. Most great advertising copywriters do that, myself included.

By the way, one of the best ways to become a great headline writer is to have a good collection of headlines that have worked in the past and to study them. If you are serious about being a successful copywriter, you’ll start your collection now. A great way to start is with the book: “2001 Greatest Headlines Every Written” by yours truly.

It says here – it goes on,

“It is not uncommon for a change in headlines to multiply returns from 5 to 10 times over”

Again, reiterating what he said before. He had seen them up to 8 or 10 times. He says it’s not uncommon for it to happen where you multiply your results 5 to 10 times over.

Now, picture that. If you had multiplied the results of your advertising by 5 to 10 times over, wouldn’t that result in sales that were pretty much somewhere at least double, triple, maybe quadruple or more? So, this is one of the techniques and it’s a simple headline. Knowing how to write headlines is very important. One of the things you learn from Claude is that the headline is a very important part. He goes on and says,

“Thus we learn what type of headline, this is by testing the headlines, has the most widespread appeal”

Continuing on, this is a principle that Jay Abraham pointed out to me that was really important with Claude Hopkins. Claude said,

“Human nature is perpetual. In most respects, it is the same today as in the time of Caesar. So, the principles of psychology are fixed and enduring. You will never need to unlearn what you learned about them. We learned, for instance, that curiosity is one of the strongest of human incentives. We employ it whenever we can”

Basically, what this is saying is that what you learn about people is the same today as it was 2,000 years ago. When you deal with the real, human values, you’re dealing with things that basically don’t change over long periods of time, so you can learn things about people by reading classics and sometimes you can learn better, because they are placed outside of our culture, our immediate culture, with all of the fads and the things that are transient and don’t last long. So, what endures over years are those basic values that you need to know. One of the best ways to find them is by reading things that were written many years ago, such as books like this, and other classics.

This is not to say you shouldn’t read things that were written today. You should read things written today as well, but balance it with some of the things, some of the classics, especially in the advertising and business fields and especially ones that people have, through the years, shown to be very, very effective even today. This is just one example of those books.

One more item — he said that he had tested an ad and there were three methods offered in the test. There were three different ways you could respond and they tested one against the other. You could either reply by telephone, by mail or by coming into the store and here’s what he said:

“Seventy percent of the inquires came by telephone. The use of the telephone is more common and convenient than the use of stamps”

And that is true today. People will respond – your rates of response, your results will be more if you have them respond or at least give them the opportunity, an option of responding by telephone. It’s more convenient. It was true in the 1910s and 1920s when Claude Hopkins was around. It’s true today. That’s pretty dramatic, because in those days, there weren’t as many telephones around, either. When it comes to the Internet, that translates into accepting orders over the Internet. You’re going to get a lot more orders if you take the order in the quickest and most convenient format. For the Internet that means taking credit card orders via a secure connection.

Chapter 4

Let’s go on. One of things that I learned from Claude Hopkins is who he worked for: Albert Lasker. Lasker turned out to be a fascinating person to learn from, a true advertising genius. David Ogilvy described him as a man who made probably more money in advertising than anyone else. In the days when he was making $3 million a year, that was a huge sum of money. He made quite a bit of money over his life through advertising. The reason is because he built an advertising agency that was based upon getting results. He never wrote anything for publication. There was a biography done about him by John Gunther. It’s out of print now. If you’re really interested in getting it, it’s called “Taken at the Flood“. If you contact me, I’ll see if I can find a copy through getting a search done for you. Unfortunately, this is out of print now, but it’s a fascinating book and it really shows you the insights into his methods.

Biographies are important, because they get you right into what the person actually did to become successful. I want to tell you what Albert Lasker did because by doing it he became the most successful advertising person of all time. He went to work for Lord & Thomas ad agency. He went to work temporarily, because he was sent there by his father and his father wanted him to learn enough about advertising, because he knew it was important to the success of a business, and then he was going to come home to Texas and start his own newspaper and he needed that advertising experience. Well, he loved advertising so much; he was so good at it that he stayed on at the Lord & Thomas agency. They made him a partner and he went on to own the agency.

In his early days, he was very perplexed. As successful as he was, he did not know what advertising was and here it says,

“Lasker, in his own reminisces says — describes his search virtually in terms of anguish. He was tortured. He was a man on a rack. It was not primarily desire to get ahead that stimulated him, nor greed for wealth. It was a burning interest in a concept, an idea. It was curiosity. He implored his elders, “Teach me”, but no one knew more than he did or could give him answers that satisfied him. He decided after a time that advertising was news, but on further reflection, it became clear that this was not a good definition, because advertising was obviously more than mere news. Why did some copy, which was full of news pull and sales whereas other copy just as full of news did not make a cent?”

Well, he addressed himself to various slogans in the advertising business and he goes on and on. He did, finally, discover something. We would have not known a lot about that and how he came across it except that after he died, an advertising agent went and asked some of his friends if anything had ever been written down that he did. He didn’t write anything for publication. He rarely spoke in public. But he did have a staff meeting and someone had the foresight to have a stenographer present and it was transcribed. They took a look at that transcription and it was absolute gold in terms of knowledge. They eventually published it in “Advertising Age” magazine and it’s become a book. It is now available in paperback form. It’s called The Lasker Story as He Told It. And what Lasker did was to gather around him the best copywriters he could find. He was an absolute genius at advertising and getting people like Claude Hopkins and many others as copywriters and getting them trained.

The way he answered his question about advertising was, one day, in his office, a note came up to his partner, this guy, John E. Kennedy, was downstairs. He knew what advertising was, if they were interested, call him up. Well, Lasker was very interested. He called him up and he related the story:

“So, Kennedy said to me, “Do you know what advertising is?” I said, “I think I do and I told him a story, just as I told it to you”, I said. “It is news,” I said, “I thought I knew what advertising was – news, just exactly as the old sailors and astronomers thought the world was flat and thinking the world was flat, they had worked up a system whereby they had quite a world. But Columbus came along and showed them the world was round and that is what Kennedy showed me. He said, “No. News is a technique of presentation, but advertising is a very simple thing. I can give it to you in three words.” Well, at this point, he said, “Well”, I said, “I am hungry. What are those words”? And you can almost see him leaning over, “What are those words?” He said, “Salesmanship in print”.

Continuing on in the book, he said,

“It had never before been defined in any dictionary or anything else: Salesmanship in print. It was that in 1905 when Kennedy told it. It was that before anyone had ever told it and it will always be that and nothing else”

Lasker made millions of dollars from taking that one principle, salesmanship in print, and using it in advertising for his clients. Who in turn made millions of dollars and by that technique, building a fortune for himself. It is one of the most important things you can know about advertising and marketing in your business.

One of the things that it also led me to, was John E. Kennedy. Once Lasker talked about John E. Kennedy, I set out to find the source of this knowledge, because when you find the source, you usually find the nugget, the real key to what it is that they know when you follow it back to its source. And John E. Kennedy was the source of salesmanship in print.

I searched throughout the country and finally found what I believe was about the only surviving copy of something he wrote called, “Reason Why Advertising“. And I have reprinted that book. It nearly went extinct. I think the place where it was kept, who knows what could have happened to it. In any case, it was nearly impossible to find. I’ve now revived that and it is now in reprint. Written by John E. Kennedy, it is an absolute goldmine of information. It describes what salesmanship in print is and I’m just going to give you a brief touch on it.

He actually uses the term “salesmanship on paper.” Later he changed it to “print.” He says,

“It is a means of multiplying the work of the salesman who writes it several thousand fold. What the salary paid a single salesman; it is possible through advertising to reach 1,000 customers for every one that that salesman could have reached orally. It is also a means of discovering and developing new customers where they were not previously known to exist. These facts are mentioned here, because few businessmen have a correct idea of what true advertising should consist of, and that is true still today. To start with the wrong point of view on an advertising campaign is to grope, experiment and speculate with an appropriation which should have been invested as intelligently as in merchandise.”

In other words, you throw your money away by having to experiment and you can go on and on and never really find out what works if you don’t have the right concept to begin with.

“True advertising is just salesmanship multiplied. When we multiply nothing by 10,000, we still have nothing as a result. When we multiply a pretty picture or a catch phrase or a mere name of a firm or article 1,000 times we have comparatively nothing as a result. But when we multiply 1,000 times a good, strong, clear expressed reason why a person should buy the article we want to sell, we then have impressed, through advertising, 1,000 more people with that reason than if it had been told verbally to one person by the same salesman”

And he goes on. This book is an absolute goldmine. There are actually two books. I found another thing that he had printed.

There were a group of publishers and they wanted to show the people who advertise, the companies who advertised in their publications, how to get better results, because they found that if an advertiser didn’t get good results, they’d drop out of the magazine. They would lose them as an advertiser. So, they wanted them to get good results. That way they’d keep on advertising. So, they hired what they felt was the best person advertising copywriter in the world at the time to write up something that would show them how to get good results from their advertising. That person was John E. Kennedy. He wrote something called “Intensive Advertising“.

I’m just going to quote a little from that, because to give you the principle of what intensive advertising was, he talks about this group of people in Paris, France in about the 1200s. And they were limited to only two acres to grow things and most farmers had a lot more acres in those early days, especially. But these farmers were limited to only two acres. As a result, they developed a system where they could produce a lot more than the normal farmer could on that size of land. Let me read this to you:

“These have, for years, cultivated market gardens that in productiveness are among the wonders of the world. Such gardens average only two acres each, but of these two acres are taken annually more vegetables through intensive cultivation than could be taken from 100 acres by the usual methods”

In other words, these people were getting 50 times more yield from those two acres than other farmers were getting from the same two acres.

“Many of these tiny gardens are located on vacant city lots, on just such suburban lots as we in American devote to the general art of bill posting or to the careless culture of the right tomato can. The ground rents paid by these people averaged about $200 to $250 per year per acre, which is a lot of money in those days, and that, for the use of their unfertilized and often miserably poor soil as a foundation, but production through intensive culture is so enormous that it is highly profitable even at such rentals. So abnormally great in the productiveness that they can only be thought of as making vegetables by steam, 50 tons per acre is common output, that is, 100,000 pounds per year.”

So, he goes on and says,

“Ranging up to $6,000 per acre yearly, in some cases, from that rental, $200, $250 dollars, that, my dear sir, is intensive gardening”

And he goes on to then apply that principle, saying

“You can do the same thing with your advertising”

And he shows you how. It’s fascinating material.

The point that you can profit from in what I just read you is that your ad costs you the same amount, no matter what you put in it. If it costs you $1,000 for an ad, it costs $1,000 whether it gets any results or not. Why not learn how to put the kind of thing in your ad that will give you $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 in results from that $1,000 ad, rather than to just get $1,000 or $2,000. In other words, you can multiply your results if you know just what to put into that ad.

Chapter 5

We’re getting short on time and there are so many books I want to present to you that I’m going to go a lot quicker now. Another one of the greats of all advertising, Vic Schwab, wrote a book called, “How to Write a Good Advertisement: A Short Course in Copywriting“. Here’s something he had to say:

“The headline of an advertisement is like a flag being held up by flagmen alongside a railroad track. He’s using it to get the immediate attention of the engineer on the approaching train. In the case of advertising on that flag is printed the headline of an advertisement”

A headline is equivalent to that flag. We’re getting a lot of information about headlines. Are you getting just how important they are?

“The message on that flag, the headline of the advertisement, must be persuasive. Yes, and persuasive enough to compete with all the other distractions of life. It must capture attention and it must offer reward for reading. This reward must be sufficiently attractive to induce the reader to continue reading beyond the headline”

And another good thing on headlines – this book is filled with so many good things, I wish I had more time to present them to you, but know that Vic Schwab is one of the all time great advertising geniuses and you can learn a heck of a lot from him. I just gave you a little sample of how you can profit from that.

Of course, one of the people still alive today as this is being taped is David Ogilvy, an absolute genius and probably the best known of all advertising people. His book, “Confessions of an Advertising Man” is a classic. Also, his “Ogilvy on Advertising” is a classic.

One of the things that I learned from him among the many things in here, it’s absolutely phenomenal, but here is just one kernel. He talked about Samuel Johnson, who is auctioning off the contents of the Anchor Brewery and here is what he said:

“We are not here to sell boilers and vats, but the potentiality of
growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice”

And what that means is, your job is not to sell the hardware, your job is to sell the ability to take the product and make money and fulfill your dreams. And that’s what you need to convey in your advertising, not the nuts and bolts, not the function of what your product does, what it can promise the customer. And Ogilvy says,

“Dr. Johnson was right 200 years and there’s abundant
evidence that he is still right today”

Now, listen to this:

“Advertising which promises no benefit to the consumer does not sell, yet the majority of campaigns contain no promise whatever”

And he says in parenthesis here:

“That is the most important sentence in this book. Read it again”

So, I am going to read it again:

“Advertising which promises no benefit to the consumer does not sell, yet the majority of campaigns contain no promise whatever”

In other words, make sure your campaign has a promise in it and it will stand out. Many absolute gems of knowledge. That’s just one of them.

One of the things that I found out from Gary Halbert, who’s probably one of the great copywriters of all time, definitely one of the great copywriters of all time, is that he learned a lot about letter writing through a guy by the name of Robert Collier, who, prior to 1950, was considered the greatest letter writer of all time – he was the Gary Halbert of his day. If you wanted a letter written to sell something, you would go to Robert Collier. He got better results than anybody in his day. And he is also the person who wrote down all of his secrets in a book. He was a very sharing person. He shared the most intimate secrets about how he got results and he showed us examples in his book. It is today considered to be the absolute classic of all books written on sales letters. If you want to learn how to write sales letters, if you want to know how to be an expert letter writer, then “The Robert Collier Letter Book” is the thing you must read over and over again and learn from. When I looked for it, it was not available. It was out of print and had been out of print for many years. I obtained the reprint rights to it and it is now currently available. This is a copy of my reprinted edition. There are so many things in this book – again, we don’t have time to get to all of them – but I’ll just present one of the things in this chapter called “Motives that make people buy”. He said,

“Most people are like automobiles. They can be pushed or pulled along or they can be moved to action by starting their own mode of power from within. In either case, you must provide the fuel. And the only fuel that will start the sort of action from within you that you want is desire. Arousing that desire in your reader is known as the gentle art of exercising persuasion. What is persuasion? Nothing but finding the motive that will impel your reader to do as you wish, then stirring it to the point where it is stronger than his inertia or his economical tendencies. To do that, you must show how he is going to benefit and you cannot do it unless you have the faculty of putting yourself in his place. This is very important. Listen very carefully: Would you be richer, healthier, happier or having done the thing you asked? Would it help your standing with others? Would it enable you to do anything, write anything, say anything better than you could before?”

He’s giving you things that should be answered by answered by you and then told to the reader. Then he does on to say:

“Only the new letter writer selects the arguments that are nearest to hand the viewpoints that appeal to his own selfish interests. The expert, experienced writer asks himself such questions as those above, then picks the motive that is the strongest and presents it from the viewpoint of the reader alone. This, I find, is one of the key points in anyone who is writing letters that they need to know, is to look at it from the reader’s point of view, to write in the reader’s point of view, because it’s not the writer who is purchasing the product”

It is the reader and that is very important information. Use that in your own information. This book is filled with things like that.

Now, remember when I said that I always like to trace the knowledge back to the source? Well, when I read The Robert Collier Letter Book, he mentioned some other books that HE studied to learn about letter writing. Here is what he said:

“Personally, I learned most of the rules of letter writing from
Herbert Watson’s Business Correspondence Library”

He went on to say elsewhere in the book:

“In line with our idea of making every possible improvement in our product, we got a few books on letter writing and applied the principles outlined in them to our letters. I remember the first set of books we got. It was Herbert Watson’s Business Correspondence Library, and it became our Bible for direct-mail work. Looking back on it now, I do not believe we could have found a better groundwork for our studies…I believe it has helped more men to a knowledge of how to use letters for profit than any set of books ever written.”

WOW! That was quite a testimonial. What a gold mine THAT would be, I thought. So, I searched throughout the country…with no luck.

He also had similar things to say about another publication, Herbert Watson’s Applied Business Correspondence. But when I searched for these books I had no luck in finding them. Until one day I came across an obscure reference that led me to believe that Herbert Watson later published under his business name. This time when I looked I found the Business Correspondence Library and published it. I am happy to say that it is now available for the first time in many, many years.

I also discovered another book, “How To Write Letters That Win,” and thought it was “Applied Business Correspondence” that had been renamed because the information in it was on the caliber of Business Correspondence Library.

However, later I found out that it wasn’t. “Applied Business Correspondence” is a different book.  This was a blessing in disguise because now there was another book, “How To Write Letters That Win,” with the same great quality of information in it.  It was like discovering an ancient treasure.

All of these great books have now been reprinted and are available for the first time in over 80 years.

Chapter 6

Another book is called “The 100 Greatest Advertisements: Who Wrote Them and What They Did“. This is a classic book. It has all the advertisements that you should know about to learn from: one called, “Do you make these mistakes in English” that was written by Max Sackheim. It ran for 40 years, this ad.

Is there something you can know from this? You bet your life. Classics in the industry: “They laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play”, written by John Caples. “Why men crack”, “How to win friends and influence people”, the ad that sold that book, “To men who want to quit work some day”, the most successful ad on insurance written. “Hand woven ties from New Mexico”, one that James Webb Young wrote, one of the top copywriters of all time, about the stock and bond business, just filled with ads that you need to study and read about.

What I just gave you there that is your nugget of information is the fact that studying these great ads will significantly add to your profitability, because it will add to the results of getting in your own advertising.

Tested Advertising Methods“, John Caples, one of the true giants. He’s a guy who knows probably more about headlines than anyone else and he has tremendous specific techniques and knowledge and information in his books on headlines. The book is not just on headlines, but it’s on many different things – what kinds of headlines attract the most readers, 29 formulas for writing headlines and he gives you 29 formulas. Let’s just see if we can come up over here with one of these headlines.

Here’s one:

“Begin your headline with the word NEW”

Another one:

“Begin your headline with the word NOW”

An example: “Now you can be eating like a king in Britain” and it goes on. Or, “Now, an opportunity for long-term capital gains”.

Another thing:

“Begin with your headline with the word ANNOUNCING”

Let’s get to some different ones:

“Feature the price in your headline”

“Feature reduced price”

“Wool twist broad loom usually $12.95 a square yard, sale, $8.88 square yard”. These are different techniques. He’s got 29 formulas in here that you can use. I just gave you a few of them.

He said:

“The best headlines are those that appeal to the reader’s self interest. Headlines that offer the reader something he wants. Example, “another $50 raise”, “retire at 55”. The next best headlines are those that give news. Examples: “New features of the Ford truck”, or: “Discovered, a new kind of hand cleaner”

So, these are the kinds of things. This is an absolute – you can see, I’ve got things marked in here. I use this all the time.

Another book that he wrote, not many people recommend this as much as the other book, because that is his first one. It’s “How To Make Your Advertising Make Money.” (Ed: I am told that as of the date of this transcription, this book is no longer in print. What a shame! I’ll keep my eyes open for it, though. So, you may want to check my One-of-a-Kind catalog on my website from time to time to see if I can come up with some used copies.) This I consider volume two, but it is every bit as good as the first book and has some real gems you need to know about. He discusses the four rules of brainstorming, how to come up with ideas for advertising. He gives you the top 10 words that are used in advertising or that you want to use in your headlines in advertising.

The top word is used 45 percent of the time in the best headlines ever written. You need to know what those words are and I’ll tell you what that word is: You or Your. Get that word in your headline.

Another thing I learned from John Caples through this is that there was guy by the name of Emanuel Haldeman-Julius who published these little blue books. I have some examples of them right here. They’re little books, they’re blue. These are a bit faded, because they are really old. He did this in the ’20s. He sold these for a nickel apiece. You had to buy 20 at a time. And it turned out, because he only advertised the title of the book. It turned out that it was one of the greatest marketing researches that have ever been done, because people actually had to put their money out and since they had to buy 20 titles at a time, they put in titles in there that they really wanted to know about and that they could sneak in amongt the 20 of them. It’s a tremendous marketing tool, because if you knew what titles sold the most, then that would give you an idea what kinds of things people wanted. Remember, Claude Hopkins said, “Human nature is immutable”. So, what they bought in the ’20s, guess what? That stuff is still the kind of thing they are interested in today in the ’90s and will be, even beyond.

So, how do you find out about this? Well, I researched and found there’s a book called “The First Hundred Million“, written by Haldeman-Julius where he documented how many of each title was sold in a one-year example. And in that book, which is out of print and extremely hard to get (Ed: We’ve now republished this book) – it’s a goldmine of information and if you need the kind of research information that is in that book, contact me. I’ll see what I can do for you. We’re in the process of getting that reprinted, so in the very near future, hopefully we’ll be able to offer you something on that.

That’s one of the things that I also got out of John Caples. This is the kind of stuff that you really learn from these guys.

Chapter 7

Another one, Rosser Reeves is an old copy. It’s now in a different format, but still in hard cover – “Reality in Advertising“. One of the things that I learned from him that I want to pass on to you is about unique selling proposition. Make your product or service unique in some way. Everyone can do it. Think about that. If you can put some uniqueness into your advertising, it will multiply the results. I’ve renamed this principle to Unique Buying Advantage because it states the same thing but from the viewpoint of the customer (“selling” and “proposition” are salesmen’s words and viewpoint whereas “buying” and “advantage” are more customer viewpoint words, so it helps to keep it in the perspective of the customer).

Another thing that I learned from him is that it’s not just how many sales you make, but how many sales you are pulling over from the competition to your side and how much penetration. He gives an example of two advertisers who each spent $10 million over a one-year period of time. One of them only penetrated 1.8 percent of the population. The other one got through to 44 percent of the population and the result was that one of the brands succeeded and the other failed. So, very important, how much penetration you get in the advertising.

Another guy who is very successful in mail order and wrote it all down in an amazing book is a guy by the name of Joe Karbo. He’s no longer alive, but his genius lives on in a book he wrote called “The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches“. It’s a two-part book. One of the things that he shows you in here is how to save the 15 percent advertising agency commission by being your own advertising agency and you make 15 percent more because you get to keep some of that money that you normally pay to an advertising agency if you know how to do this yourself. Sometimes you should use an advertising agency and sometimes you shouldn’t. You should always know how to do it yourself, whether you use an agency or not.

One of the things I came up with that is fictional – because all of these books I’m giving you are non-fiction books, but there are occasionally gems in the fiction world that teach you business principles through a fictional story and they can do it more effectively than a non-fiction book. One of the ones that I found is something called “The Magic Story” that I reprinted. Actually, there are two books in here in “The Magic Story”. In my catalog, I print a portion of this. You can read that and if it interests you, then, you know, you can get the whole two books in one.

Another thing I want to point out is that it’s not just reading books. Readings books take all of your time, but if you can get tapes, that is very important. There aren’t many tapes available on these kinds of books. There is one tape that is available. It was originally done by Newstrack Advertising Classics and here it is. It contains 16 tapes and each two tapes is on a different book. It includes David Ogilvy On Advertising, Claude Hopkins, “My Life in Advertising”, “The Lasker Story”, includes Max Sackheim’s, “My First 60 Years in Advertising“, a great book, but it’s out of print and this is the only way you can get it, Fairfax M. Cone’sWith All Its Faults“. He’s one of the guys who succeeded Albert Lasker. A great book, but not available now. “Communications of an Advertising Man“, by Leo Burnett, not available in print, only through this audio set, “Reality in Advertising”, the book is no longer available. This is the audio. And Alvin Eicoff, the guy who invented the infomercial, “Or your Money Back“, an absolutely great book, but no longer available in print. It is only in audio format.

This allows you to put the audio in your car or Mp3 player and gain knowledge as you drive, exercise, etc. You want to listen to these over and over again. I got so much information from these books through the audios, by listening to them over and over again, that I wouldn’t have gotten in the books because I wouldn’t have had time to read them as many times as I had time to listen to them. That’s because when you are listening to them in a car they don’t take any time out of your schedule. It’s like getting free study time. And, believe me, the dividends pay off. This is one of the best investments you can make in yourself.

Chapter 8

Let’s go much more rapidly now. Gary Halbert. I said — you need to subscribe to his newsletter, but it’s $195 a year and one way you ought to start, if you want to sample it, is to get his book, “How To Make Maximum Money in Minimum Time,” because it contains 16 of his newsletters in here and it’s a lot less expensive to get it this way, because it’s about just the cost of one and a half of his issues of his newsletters and you get 16 of then, so it’s a real bargain and it also shows what Gary is all about – an absolute genius at copywriting. You need to know what he knows.

And there is a guy in Australia – Peter Sun, who’s taken Jay’s principles and demonstrated them with examples. Jay gives you the mindset, which you really need to know to be a marketing genius like him. And what Peter has done is give you the actual implementation of those principles. He gives you examples of ads that he’s used applying those principles and that have become successful. An absolute must. Peter’s got two excellent books:

How To Make Maximum Profits In Minimum Time and How To Increase Your Profits In Any Economic Climate.

“Super Biz” – Ben Suarez is a guy who now makes millions of dollars. He’s got numerous businesses and he wrote secrets of what he knew in a book called “Super Biz”. This gives you a step by step, how to go from A to Z in your business, not just promotion, but how to start the business, how to pick your product, et cetera, an absolute goldmine of stuff. “Super Biz is no longer available but Ben has replaced it with “7 Steps To Freedom II.” It’s a book that Gary Halbert recommends as one of the 7 you must get if you are studying copywriting.

If you want to put out paper and ink products, what I call “information products on paper” or any information product, you need to know how to write. The absolute master of that, if you want to write as quick as possible, get “How to Write, Speak and Think More Effectively“, by Rudolf Flesch. He also has another one, “A New Guide to Better Writing“. These are absolute musts and just as an example, here’s a bit of knowledge:

“Do each writing job as if it were an informal talk to your reader. Don’t start without notes or at least specific ideas on what you are going to say and don’t stop before you have said it”

Now, you take that information, give it some significance in your life and apply it and you’ll get there.

Another one on how to write like a pro, he tells you to use anecdotes, because anecdotes make your writing sound professional. They make your writing professional, actually. That is another bit of information. You use that in your writing and you can profit from it greatly. Both of these books are very inexpensive and they show you how to write professionally.

James Webb Young, who David Ogilvy says is “one of the greatest advertising copywriters of all time.” He’s no longer alive but he wrote several books and one of them – this is an old copy of it – is now available in paperback (Ed: sorry, this one’s gone out of print again). It’s called the “The Diary of an Ad Man,” where he wrote down his intimate thoughts.

Here’s a nugget of information you need to know:

“It would seem that every type of advertiser has
the same problem, namely, to be believed”

and that’s true. Techniques of believability you need to study. He goes on to say that testimonials are the most effective thing people in mail order know to maintain believability. There are many others, we don’t have time enough to get into them, but that’s one gem you can take with you.

A Technique for Producing Ideas” by James Webb Young. It’s a very short book. You need ideas in advertising, you need lots of ideas, this is a technique that routinely gets you ideas, as many ideas as you want. There are people who say that I have more ideas than anybody they know of. I don’t know if that’s true, but I use his technique and I think you should, too.

Brainstorming” by Charles Clark is another book. Clark learned from Alex Osborn, the guy considered to be one the greatest and put down all the secrets in here. We don’t have time to get into those.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini shows ways that people buy, the compelling reasons that make people buy. Robert Allen told me that he used this book to compose a seminar presentation that he did where in one hour he was able to make $100,000 in sales. He used this book to structure the presentation and I’ve seen him do the same thing at other seminars. This book is dynamite. Get it.

This is another now. Jeffrey Lant you need to know, because he is very successful at selling information products. He has this book called “How to Make a Whole Lot More than a $1 Million Writing, Commissioning, Publishing and Selling How To Information“. I only wish I could give you gems of knowledge from this. He’s got a number of books. This, I think, is his very best and one of his secrets is, use special reports. Special reports will sell your other things and also, when you sell a book, sell a special report with it. If you have a product that isn’t an information product, then you should have an information product to educate your customers about your product. You can sell your information product or give it away. You can learn a lot from that.

Chapter 9

If you’re selling books, you want “1001 Ways to Market Your Books” by John Kremer, an absolute goldmine of ideas and information on how to make money selling your books.

No matter what you are doing, you want to be successful. This is a little book that is one of the most fantastic books I’ve ever come across. It’s called “The Ultimate Secret to Getting Absolutely Everything You Want“. One of the many things you’ll learn in this book is that you must be willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want.  Lots of great stuff here. Get a copy of the book.

The other thing is “Future Edge“. You want to know what your future brings. Joel Barker sells tapes into the corporate America marketplace, tapes that are only about 20 minutes long that he sells for thousands of dollars each because of how valuable the information is in them on predicting the future and seeing where the future goes, what the future trends are like and how to know it before anyone else. He has this book, which is available, sometimes re-titled – I’ve seen it as “Paradigm Shift.” It’s a real bargain because it costs about as much as you’d pay for any kind of book like it; yet, it has all that information that he’s got on those tapes that he sells for thousands of dollars.

No discussion of the greatest copywriting books and copywriters would be complete without mentioning Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz.

The book has so many brilliant insights that it was difficult to pick which ones to include here.  But chapter 4, entitled “38 Ways To Strengthen Your Headline Once You Have Your Basic Idea” is a good one to focus on.

Here are the first three:

1 – Measure the size of the claim

One of three examples he gives:

“Who Ever Heard of 17,000 Blooms From a Single Plant?”

2 – State the Claim as a Paradox

One of the two examples he gives:

“How a Bald-Headed Barber Saved My Hair”

3 – Turn the claim into a challenge for the reader

One of two examples:

“Does She or Doesn’t She?  Hair Coloring So Natural Only Her Hairdresser Knows for Sure!”

Let me just sum up in this way. You need to be able to pull these books off the shelf to reexamine something. You need to be able to read them over and over again, because you can’t be expected to get every little detail that you need to be successful in your business and to know how to apply these principles by a cursory reading once or twice.

These are things to be studied. These are the nuggets of information, the absolute secrets to how to succeed in your business and they are important enough for you to have a copy by your side.

I only gave you the books that I considered to be the very best on the subject that we’re talking about. If you had just the books I showed you here, and that one audio set, you would be able to, I would say without a doubt, double, triple and quadruple the profits and sales in your business. If you just apply these principles.

I would like to know when you have your successes. I would like to hear from you. Give me a call and say, “Carl, you know what, I applied one of those things from John Caples’ book or John E. Kennedy’s book or Robert Collier’s book, whatever. This is what I did and look at the results that I get. I get calls from people every day and I enjoy those. They really motivate me. In fact, some of the people who call me give me ideas and then I say, “Yeah, you know that’s a principle that I know about but I haven’t been applying” and so it’s helpful for me, too.

Also, I’d like to tell other people of your successes, so email me, phone me, tell me what your successes are. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks and good luck in your business.

Carl Galletti