TypewriterFrom The Urbach Letter December 2003

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Scientific Advertising Book Cover -My Gift For You: Scientific Advertising Book
Claude C. Hopkins was an "Ad Man" and copywriter who did his best work in the early part of this century. His classic book, Scientific Advertising, first published in 1923, has unfortunately been out of print for many years. However, because copyright has expired, I've been able to republish it as a holiday gift for you. I'll give you the details in a moment. First, please understand why I've selected this book for you. Don't let the title fool you. This is not some boring academic text. Far from it. It's a concise guide to human buying behavior and applied psychology (sixty fast-reading pages). What will you find in Scientific Advertising? I quoted a bit of it in the lead article on Overcoming Distrust. Here's a more complete clip on the risk of being nonspecific:

Platitudes and generalities roll off the human understanding like water from a duck. They leave no impression whatever. To say, "Best in the world," "Lowest price in existence," etc. are at best simply claiming the expected. But superlatives of that sort are usually damaging. They suggest looseness of expression, a tendency to exaggerate, a careless truth. They lead readers to discount all the statements that you make.

People recognize a certain license in selling talk as they do poetry. A man may say, "Supreme in quality" without seeming a liar, though one may know that the other brands are equally as good. One expects a salesman to put his best foot forward and excuses some exaggeration born of enthusiasm. But just for that reason general statements count for little. And a man inclined to superlatives must expect that his every statement will be taken with some caution. But a man who makes a specific claim is either telling the truth or a lie.

People do not expect an advertiser to lie. They know that he can't lie in the best mediums. The growing respect in advertising has largely come through a growing regard for its truth. So a definite statement is usually accepted. Actual figures are not generally discounted. Specific facts, when stated, have their full weight and effect.

These are fundamental concepts, and remain intact through the years (even if the "sexist" language and quaint phrases have not). One thing that's certainly different now, 80 years after Hopkins created his masterwork, is the presence of the Internet. It allows me to deliver your book to you electronically, immediately, and to make my accountant happy, economically. I hope you enjoy and profit from this little gift.

Click here to download a printable version of Scientific Advertising in PDF format

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Scientific Advertising Book Cover

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