My Life in Advertising: Chapter 2

Welcome to Persuasion Reading List. This is the next part in a series of Executive Summary posts of the book My Life in Advertising. Find previous posts on this book here, and thanks for your visit.

"My Life in Advertising" by Claude C. Hopkins
“My Life in Advertising” by Claude C. Hopkins

In Chapter Two of My Life in Advertising, Hopkins writes about his childhood jobs. Hopkins learned the importance of a good product or good service. He cornered the flier delivery in his hometown by being the only boy to deliver to all of the homes on his routes. The other kids weren’t so thorough. Consistently great service attracts business.Tweet This

Later, during his door-to-door sales work, Hopkins learned that selling with a demonstration or a sample made selling many times easier. Persuasion without a sample was far more effort. Samples, samples, samples! This is the cornerstone of his later career.

We must submit our advertisements to the court of public opinion. "Engineering Department employees, 1962, Item 74240" by Seattle Municipal Archives, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
We must submit our advertisements to the court of public opinion. “Engineering Department employees, 1962, Item 74240” by Seattle Municipal Archives, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Another lesson: never judge humanity by ourselves, by our own desires. The higher we ascend in social class, the further we are from the majority of humanity. That’s not good to know what people want. It’s not good for an advertisement written to for the common person. Understanding human nature is key, but we cannot rely on our own. We must submit all things in advertising… to the court of public opinion (p. 24), Hopkins warns. We must constantly test and refine our persuasive appeals based on how they perform with the public.

Hopkins ends this chapter saying that many young people feel overlooked in the workplace. This is because they don’t understand the monumental task ahead of them. The truth, says Hopkins, is that the volume of work to be done requires employees of great capacity. All who see the realities are anxious to find others who can see them. (p27)