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Scientific Advertising

The Original text of Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins


Scientific Advertising

The world’s most highly regarded book on advertising, marketing, and copywriting


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David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy

Founder of Ogilvy & Mather

A big believer in Claude Hopkins and Scientific Advertising

It Is The Book Recommended by More Advertising Geniuses Than Any Other

Marketing Genius, Jay Abraham, once told me he had read this book more than 60 times and felt it was the impetus to launch his career as one of the most sought after and respected marketers, commanding $2,000.00 per hour for his phone and in-person consultations (later raised to $3,000 and then $5,000), up to $25,000 for his training seminars and $50-$100,000 to write an ad for clients (plus a percent of the profits).

Jay first introduced Scientific Advertising to me through his “Your Marketing Genius At Work” 12-issue “newsletter” that sold for $500.00 in 1986. He reprinted the ENTIRE book in his third issue.

David Ogilvy wrote an introduction to the 1960 edition of Scientific Advertising, published by Crown Publishing, New York.

In part, he said:

“Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to
do with advertising until he has read this book seven times.
It changed the course of my life.” 

He went on to say,

  • “Claude Hopkins wrote it in 1923. Rosser Reeves, bless him, gave it to me in 1938. Since then, I have given 379 copies to clients and colleagues.
  • “Every time I see a bad advertisement, I say to myself, ‘The man who wrote this copy has never read Claude Hopkins.’
  • “If you read this book of his, you will never write another bad advertisement—and never approve one either.
  • “Don’t be put off by Hopkins’ staccato, graceless style.”
  • “He thought that illustrations were a waste of space. Perhaps they were less important fifty years ago, when magazines and newspapers were thinner, and competition for the reader’s attention less severe.
  • “But forty-two years after Hopkins wrote this book, almost everybody would agree with the following conclusions:”
  • “Almost any question can be answered, cheaply, quickly, and finally, by a test campaign. And that’s the way to answer them – not by arguments around a table.”
  • “The only purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is profitable or unprofitable according to its actual sales.”
  • “Ad-writers abandon their parts. They forget they are salesmen and try to be performers. Instead of sales, they seek applause.”
  • “Don’t try to be amusing. Money spending is a serious matter.”
  • “Whenever possible we introduce a personality into our ads. By making a man famous we make his product famous.”
  • “It is not uncommon for a change in headlines to multiply returns from five to ten times over.”
  • “Some say, ‘Be very brief. People will read but little.’ Would you say that to a salesman?”
  • “Brief ads are never keyed. Every traced ad tells a complete story. The more you tell the more you sell.”
  • “We try to give each advertiser a becoming style. He is given an individuality best suited to the people he addresses. To create the right individuality is a supreme accomplishment. Never weary of that part.”
  • “Platitudes and generalities roll off the human understanding like water from a duck. Actual figures are not generally discounted. Specific facts, when stated, have their full weight and effect.”
  • “In 1908, when Hopkins was forty-one, he was hired by Albert Lasker to write copy for Lord & Thomas. Lasker paid him $185,000 a year—equivalent to $639,000 in today’s money. “[Ed: $4,634,707.13 in 2017 dollars—Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Consumer Price Index].
  • “From his typewriter came campaigns which made a long list of products famous and profitable. They include Pepsodent and Palmolive.”
  • “He was more than a copywriter in today’s narrow sense of the word. He was a total advertising man. He invented ways to force distribution for new products. He invented test marketing. He invented sampling. He invented copy research. He invented brand images. He invented pre-empting the truth. And he wrote copy which sold merchandise.”
  • “He used to say, ‘No argument in the world can ever compare with one dramatic demonstration.’ Which makes me think that he would have been as successful in television today as he was in print fifty years ago.” [Ed: …and on the Internet today]
  • “In later life, Hopkins came to resent the fact that he had made so many of his clients richer than himself.”

In Ogilvy on Advertising, Ogilvy  called Hopkins:

“the father of modern advertising.”

In The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its Creators, author Stephen Fox said of Hopkins: 

“On a list of the great copywriters of all time, most students of advertising history would rank Hopkins first.”

Table of Contents:

1. How advertising laws are established

2. Just salesmanship

3. Offer service

4. Mail order advertising — what it teaches

5. Headlines

6. Psychology

7. Being specific

8. Tell your full story

9. Art in advertising

10. Things too costly

11. Information

12. Strategy

13. Use of samples

14. Getting distribution

15. Test campaigns

16. Leaning on dealers

17. Individuality

18. Negative advertising

19. Letter writing

20. A name that helps

21. Good business