Last week on PRL, we discussed Hopkins’ career in medical advertising. After seeing all the cash being made by his own advertising efforts, Hopkins gets interested in his own profits.
Chapter Eight, Hopkins is recruited to work at Liquozone, a failing company selling another medical tonic.
Against the opposition of his friends, Hopkins takes the job. He is to be paid no starting salary. He reasons that if most people fail to meet their goals, why would they have good advice? Tweet This
Hopkins creates a new scheme for Liquozone, where six bottles are available for $5, guaranteed to work. Again, he has a druggist sign the paperwork for the guarantee, lending authority to the tonic.
“I had a proposition which no reasonable person can refuse.” Hopkins insists that a salesman should remove all attempt of protecting himself in a deal. Make an offer that the buyer should not reasonably refuse, and the sale is easy.
Within one year, Hokpins has enough sales to turn the Liquozone company around with a large profit. The advertising lesson learned is “ask a person to take a chance on you, and you have a fight. Offer to take a chance on him, and the way is easy.”Tweet This
Successful people look successful from the outside. They only get that way by making (and learning from) many, many mistakes on their way to greatness.
Claude C Hopkins made many mistakes in his career, as we’ve learned while reviewing his 1927 book, My Life in Advertising.
Most of Hopkins’ mistakes were small marketing and advertising tests. They were intentionally designed to have a successful outcome and a failed outcome, to refine his ads and better hone his craft.
Chapter Eighteen, Hopkins’ Great Mistake. At age 21, Hopkins is advised by his boss, Mr. Bissel, to not get tied to the company. Hopkins remains an employee over the next decades while he watches others in his field build their own firms. He laments that he’s taken many risks that bring reward to the vendors or failure to the ad-man, while the ad firm gets the lion’s share of the earnings.
Hopkins wishes he had struck out on his own. He eventually did, starting a successful cosmetics company.
Nineteen, Some Personal Things. Hopkins talks about his lifelong love of work. He tells how he woke early to encourage the homeless to work. He inspired his daughter’s suitors to work harder. “They found that…. winning a contract was better than winning a trophy.”
At the end of his career, Hopkins is disinterested in his finances and doesn’t want to know the value of his property. Instead, “Now I have the privilege of setting down my findings for the men who follow me…. I have gained… the satisfaction of knowing that I have discovered some enduring principles.”
This is the fifteenth part in a chapter-by-chapter summary of Claude C. Hopkins’ My Life in Advertising. First published in 1927, this book was as insightful then as it is today. I encourage you to sign up for PRL to learn more about persuasion and influence today!
Chapter twelve of My Life in Advertising, Hopkins works on the Palmolive soap account.
Following Hopkins’ playbook, the ad agency offers to buy the beauty soap for whomever brings in a coupon. Palmolive uses this offer to force quick distribution in retail stores, because no business wants the customer going elsewhere. The customers become hooked because the rule of reciprocity says that something done for them, the free bar of soap, will increase their desire to give back.
Do you like to barbecue? How about baked beans, do you like them?
I like baked beans especially at a barbecue. They’re sweet, with a touch of tomato, brown sugar, and pork. They remind me of summer days and paper plates.
But I don’t eat baked beans weekly.
Apparently in the early 1900s, baked beans were all the rage. People couldn’t get enough. Baked beans were frequently homemade. They would sometimes ferment while cooking. Other times they would explode in the 16 hour cooking process. That didn’t stop anyone.
No one wants to hear the bad news of health issues. Instead, we’re fed commercials of attractive actors frolicking in a meadow. The visual message is Happiness, even as the voice-over suggests the medicine might cause exactly what it’s trying to prevent. Everyone is interested in a sunnier life.