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Breakthrough Advertising Hardcover – Unabridged, January 1, 2004
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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This book is considered by many to be a classic on copywriting in general and mail order copywriting in particular. It is also legendarily reputed to be the "most stolen" book from public libraries and it is claimed that there are only 130 copies to be found in the world. I'm not sure about that claim as my local library came up with a 1966 copy with no problem and the librarian indicated that other copies were available from other libraries. She also had never heard of it as being the "most stolen" book in public libraries.
This is the most recently published edition and it appears to have been published, in part, because of the reputed difficult of finding copies. The price of $95.00 would seem to reflect a pent-up demand for it (more on that later).
"Breakthrough Advertising" is excellent in its analysis of advertising and the marketplace. Schwartz was an advocate of the idea that advertising could not create demand but it could channel it to a certain product. He referred to demand as "Mass Desire" and believed that there had to be some level of desire before a product could be offered and sold profitably. An example he uses is that of weight loss. There is a huge mass desire to lose weight and, as a consequence, a demand for weight loss products. The job of the copywriter, according to Schwartz, is to tap into that demand and channel it to the particular product the copywriter is selling.
Schwartz continues throughout the book to analyze the make-up of a good advertisement, focusing heavily on the headline as being the make-or-break item of any good advertisement. He then continues in a discussion and analysis of the body of an advertisement as well as giving his opinion on some aspects of layout. He admittedly doesn't spend much time on the subject of layout, but his discussion of layout is quite revelatory.
Schwartz's work isn't necessarily a great revelation today. Most other books I have read on the subject of advertising and copywriting recognize many of the same principles he discusses. In fact, you can read on everything he touches upon in other more modern, and cheaper, sources. That being said, the book is still a worthwhile read. Schwartz has an engaging writing style and he does a great job of breaking his chapters down into subtopics and subheadings (a direct mail technique he obviously is employing in his book). Anyone with an interest in copywriting and advertising should take the time to read and learn from Schwartz. You will no doubt learn something about the craft of copywriting that you previously were unaware of.
Now as to the price of the current edition, if you are like I normally am and just have to have a book on your shelf, you might want to go ahead and buy it. I personally found the price prohibitive and did not purchase it. Instead, I checked the library's copy out and took a lot of notes. I would love to add this book to my library, but not at a cost of $95.00. I really think someone is gouging those with any interest in Schwartz's work at that price, but I guess there are more than enough individuals willing to that price for them to offer it at $95.00.
The price seems even more prohibitive given the fact that most of the information is available from other sources and the fact that the writing is somewhat dated.
several times. I put off buying it for awhile because
it's so overpriced.
This shouldn't be the first copywriting book you read.
I would say you should be thoroughly in the mix as a
marketer and hiring copywriters or doing it yourself
to even comprehend this book.
It's position a golden key to advertising mastery is
probably deserved. There are insights here which are
profound in their implications.
Invaluable resource for serious marketers and copywriters.
Not a good investment if you are just starting out. Read
all the copywriting classics first... and more than once.
Then write a lot of copy. Then get this book and you'll
have a point of reference to understand how the information
here can make you better.
I'm not telling you much about what is in the book. Other
reviewers who are stronger writers than I have already
told you what is in it. I'll just say you need a certain
level of maturity in the way you think and do marketing to
grasp the lessons in this book.
And I've often had to pop ibuprofen after reading it because of massive headaches.
However... This is THE ONLY copywriting book that will show you how to write ads that are non-cookie cutter ads.
Every other book you've read is formulaic.
They tell you "this goes here" and "that goes there."
Not Breakthrough Advertising.
Breakthrough Advertising is about inventing totally new styles of ads.
And although this book is super complicated, it's amazing that Schwartz was even able to convey this information at all.
The book is all about writing ads in a way that keeps you one step ahead of your competitors all the time.
Your competitors are copycats.
And so will you be if you don't read Breakthrough Advertising.
That's why it's such an important book.
I've seen so many companies go out of business because their ads haven't evolved with their market.
Their ads target a market that no longer exists, a market that has changed.
Maybe once their ads hit the sweet spot inside their prospects and pulled in a small fortune.
But now their ads are dull and unbelieved by the same prospects.
How can this be?
Schwartz calls them "Echo Ads."
These are ads that remind prospects of other ads and products.
Every other copywriting book shows you how to write Echo Ads.
This book shows you how to create new species of ads, breakthrough ads.