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*A Book Review*

The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook

By Joseph Sugarman

by Michael C. Gray

December 28, 2007

Before The Sharper Image and Brookstone, there was JS&A. Joseph Sugarman was the "go to" man for the latest high technology products, which he sold with outstanding space ads in The Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Some of the products Mr. Sugarman sold were the earliest hand held calculators, LCD watches, mini CB walkie talkies, and BluBlocker sunglasses. BluBlocker sunglasses became so popular that Sugarman sold them through "man on the street" infomercials. Mr. Sugarman was also the first mail order advertiser whom customers could call using a toll-free "800" telephone number and place their orders using a credit card.

During the late 1970’s, Mr. Sugarman started offering five-day seminars on direct-response copywriting. At the time, it was the most expensive seminar in the direct marketing business. In the late 1980’s, he offered a similar seminar for $3,000. One of the people who came to his first seminar was Joe Karbo, author of The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches, also considered a classic mail order ad. Some of his students were from or founded major businesses, such as Omaha Steaks, Victoria’s Secret, and Career Track. Others included a farmer from Texas and a dentist from Carmel.

AdWeek magazine asked Mr. Sugarman to write a handbook sharing his secrets of copywriting. He accepted the assignment. The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook is basically and update of another textbook he previously issued on the subject, Advertising Secrets of the Written Word.

So, for $19.95 retail, here is a bargain. The distilled knowledge of one of the world’s great copywriters who has successfully sold products again and again, buying space with his own hard-earned dollars and learning valuable lessons from the school of hard knocks – hard knocks entrepreneurs and advertising copywriters can avoid who study this book.

The book includes 15 "axioms" of writing effective advertisements, three emotion principles, 10 graphic elements of a mail order ad, 23 copy elements, and 31 psychological triggers.

After explaining all of these principles, Mr. Sugarman analyzes a series of advertisements to explain strengths, weaknesses and why he thinks the ad succeeded or failed.

He also includes a chapter about writing for different media. Advertisements and promotional writing is done for catalogs, flyers, inserts, direct mail, newspapers, billboards, press releases, radio, television and infomercials. Mr. Sugarman explains the similarities and the differences.

If you are serious about running a business or profession, you must know how to sell and market your products and services. You will want to have The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook on your desk to study and refer to again and again to write the most effective promotional material possible.

Buy it on Amazon: The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters.

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The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook, by Joseph Sugarman, is an inexpensive update of a direct marketing classic, Advertising Secrets of the Written Word.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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San Jose, California 95128
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