Customer Reviews: My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising (Advertising Age Classics Library)
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on January 21, 2002
The advertising profession of late has fallen off the shoulders of its giants Hopkins, Caples, Bernbach, Burnett, Rubicam, Ogilvy and others. Even direct marketing, the profession that most closely adheres to Hopkins' crystal clear, succinct approach, is often in danger of taking the road most travelled and following its advertising brethren into the heart of the woods to wander aimlessly.
I'm a direct marketer and adjunct professor at a nearby university. I not only see the value in what Claude Hopkins wrote nearly 80 years ago...I also see what happens when his simple formula for success is ignored, forgotten or never learned. We get Got Milk? ads (a waste of hundreds of millions of dollars that didn't sell one single drop more of the lactose-laden beverage)...ladybugs on rose petals and singing coyotes to sell a once-proud line of cars...and print ads that contain no copy and bewlidering images. We're not only not selling; we're no longer even communicating.
Hopkins to the rescue.
If you're a copywriter in the profession of marketing or advertising, or if you're a student wishing to gain the best education possible, Claude Hopkins' Scientific Advertising should be in your hands daily. Underline it. Quote it. Memorize it. Pledge allegience to it. Defend it at all costs.
This book will help you write more clearly, sell more powerfully and make more money for your clients than ever before.
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on January 8, 2004
Hopkins is the father of modern advertisng. Arguably, his work, togther with John Caples's "Tested Advertising Methods," form the Bible of modern advertising. Both understood that advertising is salesmanship and understood how to apply sales principles to advertising.
All the modern giants of advertising still swear by this book. Ogilvy even claimed it changed his life (in advertising anyway, but who knows, advertising was Ogilvy's life). Despite the fact that Hopkins wrote with a focus on what we now consider to be direct marketing, his principles are applicable to all forms of advertising. Hopkins essentially invented many of the concepts that so many advertisers take for granted today, yet oddly, many advertisers fail to follow his advice.
Whether you are a copywriter or involved in advertising in some other way, you must read this book if you want to be a success.
All advertising before "Scientific Advertising" flows into it; and all advertising after "Scientific Advertising" flows out of it.
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on December 5, 1998
Advertising man Claude Hopkins (1866- 1932) was one of the true pioneering masters of direct response marketing.
How much of a master was he? Hopkins routinely earned close to $200,000 per year (this was in the 1920's when $200,000 was a lot of money. Come to think of it - it's not exactly pocket change today!)
Hopkins invented many of the direct response techniques that my firm teaches our clients. He was a master at testing headlines for the best response. Heck, he invented the test marketing of ad campaigns doing small, controlled tests with a limited budget to make sure a campaign worked before spending large sums of money.
Hopkins was a master (and major proponent) of writing, clear, simple copy that anyone could read. He feared that too-clever copywriting would detract from the only function of advertising - selling!
(How many of today's ad pro's on Madison Ave. remember that advertising is supposed to sell a product, not build an image, not "get a company's name out"?)
Hopkins wrote two books. The first was 1923's "Scientific Advertising", where he lays out his theories on copy writing, headlines, test marketing, the appearance of direct mail and space ads, the importance of mastering mail-order advertising as a precursor to advertising anything else, and other key strategies.
In 1927 he wrote "My Life In Advertising", which is (obviously) his autobiography. While this book isn't as important a work as "Scientific Advertising", both have been out of print for years. In 1995, they have been reissued as a two for one book by NTC Business Books of Lincolnwood (Chicago), Il.
What's amazing is how undated the books are, especially "Scientific Advertising". If you want a quick primer on direct response marketing, you could do far worse than reading Hopkins, and employing as many of his strategies as possible in your marketing efforts.
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on July 5, 2002
The thing I find most amazing about Scientific Advertising is how few people seem to have read it. I came across it when I was a teenager, and it changed the way I look at the world. Hopkins was a true business pioneer, inventing (or substantially forming) so much that we take for granted today: the coupon, the "valuable free gift with purchase", direct mail, using style to sell mundane products (like exotic wooden handles for carpet sweepers), and so much more. Just as we live in a world made by Henry Ford, we also live in a world made by Claude Hopkins. For ten bucks, with such an easy writing style, everyone should read this book.
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on July 17, 1999
Claude Hopkins believed that advertising was "Salesmanship" and as such he applied all of the strategies and principles of true salesmanship in his advertisements. He believed in sampling, risk-free trials, money-back guarantees and testing.
If your library only ever contains one book on advertising, make sure it is "My life in advertising & Scientific advertising".
This book has done more for me and my business than any other 10 advertising books combined.
So much so, that I had "Scientific Advertising" professionally recorded. I then converted it to Real Audio format and I have uploaded it to my website so others can listen to it also for FREE.
My online audio version of "Scientific Advertising" is not meant to replace this printed book version, but rather to add more value to those like myself who wish to BE more and HAVE more in their business life.
If you don't already own a copy of this profound book, I urge you to purchase this book TODAY, as it will be the best investment that you will ever make.
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on September 4, 2006
Claude Hopkins was an outstanding copywriter of his time, and his ideas and philosophy found in Scientific Advertising, written in 1923, and My Life in Advertising, written in 1927, are still relevant today.

This book starts with My Life in Advertising, which chronicles his life from his humble beginnings to his successes later in life. Hopkins story highlights that fact that beyond being a master at copywriting, he had a deep understanding of marketing strategy and human psychology.

In Scientific Advertising, Hopkins offers his advice on a variety of subjects including salesmanship, specificity, headlines, psychology, test campaigns and much more. These principles are based on the valuable lessons he learned from experience and repeated testing through keyed advertising and traced returns on coupons.

Hopkins was more than just a great ad man who understood the common man; he was a master at marketing. Though the material in this book was written over 80 years ago, Claude Hopkins' life, work ethic, ideas and advice are inspirational. I highly recommend this book.
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on June 12, 2016
The elements of true Copywriting from the man who brought the names of products into your household that you use everyday. WIthout qualifications, degrees, Hopkins was astute enough to use an analysis or method to measure the reaction of the user of the product. He put people first because he was just an ordinary person.

The use of the term "scientific advertising" is to make the advertiser feel more comfortable pushing papers around to make money. The advertiser represents the seller and the Copywriter represents the consumer.

Hopkins, the Copywriter, the one who writes the copy for the advertiser, represents the user the person who puts the bread and butter on the table of the advertiser. Contrary to Corporate opinion you don't need a college degree to be a Copywriter. The two greatest faults in advertising are boasts and selfishness.

If you are a seller advertising your products and services this is the book written for you.
If you are a Copywriter writing the copy you'll recognize yourself in the text. Like Hopkins, you understand confidence in the product and confidence in the people.
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on August 9, 2006
Two marketing classics by Claude Hopkins - My life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising. These are both marketing classics. Any student of marketing should read them.

They were written in 1927 and 1923 respectively so many of the vignettes were very dated but quite entertaining and almost historic.

One concept that makes him a kindred spirit is his belief that work can be as fun as any play. He was also a great believer in change and adaptability. He knew that historic success does not ensure future success. They both inspired me to rethink our marketing. I loved both books tremendously and highly recommend them(I am a marketer at heart).
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on January 30, 2014
The best direct response marketers cannot give this book enough praise and I can see why.. This is the basics of which every great campaign is built. If you don't have this knowledge then you are on shaky grounds. It is based on common sense, which is what most ad agencies try to remove from the evaluation process regarding campaigns.

In the end of the day, any ad should pull enough profits to justify the cost of running it. And if you are not measuring it, or just "branding", how would you ever know if you are getting your money back vs flushing money down the toilet?

If you are a business owner, read this book before ad agencies and other sneaky media sales reps takes your last dollar.. And don't believe in the branding BS, unless you are Coca Cola and have distribution in virtually every location thinkable.

David Ogilwy, which is probably the most famous ad-man in the world, said that every serious advertiser should have read this book at least 7 times. So do yourself a favor and read it at least 3 times. You will thank yourself later (and hopefully read it another 4 times)..

It is interesting to see how a book this old, can still be as relevant today almost a 100 years later..
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on October 28, 2014
Many detailed reviews on the virtues of this twin book have been already posted here. I doubt I can add to them in any meaningful way. I will just add my perspective.

I am new to the world of advertising, having taken up direct response copywriting as my new career. I am awestruck at the level of sophistication practiced by Hopkins and the array of new techniques he had invented that are still being used today.

I only had a chance to complete the first book, My Life in Advertising, the biographical version. I am working on the second part, Scientific Advertising.

While we all respect Hopkins for for his contribution to the industry, it was touching to read his reflection on his own career, wondering about the peaceful life he could have had as opposed to his chosen path of workaholism that enabled him to rise to such heights. The human element is always there.
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