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My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising (Advertising Age Classics Library) Kindle Edition
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That should be enough, but it isn't because unless you extract the gems and see how they are still so applicable today as they were years ago, you don't know what these books are about.
I've learned from a lot of people, got the shiny object syndrome and all of that, but at the end of the day, I learned the real stuff, with minimal repeats of what the 'gurus' of today talk about - and almost everything good that they do say has hooks or straight up ripping off from the concepts in this little compilation.
If my kids were going into advertising, I'd have them read Jay Abraham, then Claude Hopkins to get up to speed on what persuading and efficient advertising really is.
Don't let the older school english throw you off, the guy was a genius, and employing his advertising methodology and philosophy will put you in a whole other league.
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.
In today's fractured communication landscape, where messages overlap, intersect and collide in their frantic attempts to woo a desensitised audience, the fundamental truths are more important than ever. Basic needs and wants, everyday cares and concerns of everyday people are paramount. In this books lays the perfect reminder of the real world and the real people who inhabit it - our customers.
The truth in advertising comes from empathy; anyone who has spent time on the front lines of sales has learnt this first hand. Anyone else can learn in from reading this book.
"Salesmanship-in-print is exactly the same as salesmanship-in-person." If the purpose of advertising is to sell, then its effectiveness can be measured by resulting sales volume. Hopkins tested ads on a small scale before risking money on a large-scale campaign. He also compared results using different headlines in order to discover the best performing approach.
"Never seek to amuse. That is not the purpose of advertising." Hopkins would likely be disturbed by a great deal of modern advertising where creativity overshadows salesmanship.
Hopkins used free trials to successfully penetrate markets, but he felt the word "free" cheapens a product. Instead he would say, "We will buy your first package." He did not find it effective to give away samples to people who did not request them.
"Some say, be very brief... That would be an unthinkable handicap... Every ad. in my opinion, should tell a complete story. It should include every facet and argument found to be valuable. Most people I figure, read a story once, as they do a news item. I know of no reason why they should read it again."
The vocabulary sounds surprisingly modern, with a few exceptions here and there, such as dilatory, folly, palaver, rudiments, and trifle. The prices (one cent postage stamp) and car brands (Chalmers, Hudson, Mitchell, Overland, Reo, Studebaker) add a bit of early twentieth century flavor.
Scientific Advertising (100 pages, 21 short chapters) may be purchased as a standalone volume. The autobiography (200 pages) adds additional context through stories about various campaigns.
With today's trend towards data-driven decisions and increased scrutiny of marketing budgets, this 85-year-old book is surprisingly relevant. While some of the techniques from Hopkins' time may no longer be effective, the fundamental message of Scientific Advertising is timeless.