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*A Book Review*

Breakthrough Advertising

By Eugene M. Schwartz

by Michael C. Gray

April 30, 2004

Another advertising classic is back in print. Last year, a used copy of Breakthrough Advertising was sold on EBay for $900. Now you can buy it at Bottom Line Books for a fraction of that amount.

Why would someone be willing to pay such an exorbitant amount for an old business book? Eugene Schwartz said he had many people come to him and tell him that they directly credit reading this book with their success. They made millions of dollars (and that was in 1984)! He believed the reason was this book is about more than advertising; it’s about how to develop an entirely new market for a new or an old product. In this book he shows you every single one of the steps required to accomplish this.

Martin Edelston, founder and president of Boardroom Inc., publisher of Bottom Line Personal says that this is the book on which his business was built.

Instead of the "cookbook" approach that you find in some books about how to write advertising, Eugene Schwartz digs into the anatomy of the ad. What is the strategy for building trust and desire? How can you prepare the reader for the promises of this product or service? How can the ad be formatted and structured to build trust and believability?

According to Eugene Schwartz, advertising copywriters have a more important role than most people give them credit for. "You are literally the script writer for your prospect’s dreams. You are the chronicler of his future. You job is to show him in minute detail all the tomorrows that your product makes possible for him."

The beginning point for writing an ad is based on the answers to three questions:

  1. What is the mass desire that creates this market?
  2. How much do these people know today about the way your product satisfies this desire? (State of Awareness.)
  3. How many other products have been presented to them before yours? (State of Sophistication.)

Before writing the ad, research should be done to answer these questions.

The function of the headline isn’t to generate a sale, but simply to generate enough curiosity to get the prospective buyer reading. Every sentence in the ad has a function in addition to providing information and generating an emotional response, it’s to build the interest of the reader -- "Tell me more!" -- so the reader continues reading the ad to its conclusion.

The amount of detail for the ad mostly depends on the State of Awareness of the prospective buyer. When a new product or innovation is introduced, you need to include a detailed explanation of how it works for the buyer to believe it will serve his or her needs. When the market is more mature, the buyer already understands the mechanism. For example, most people have a pretty good idea of how a film camera works and the quality of different brands. You can just list the brand, model and price, as many camera stores do. Right now, digital cameras are an innovation. Buyers would be receptive to more explanation of how digital cameras work and what they can do with them that they can’t do with film cameras.

This is not a book for a simple once-over reading. This is a book that demands study and application.

I urge you to get a copy immediately and put these ideas to work in your business.

Purchase it on Amazon: Breakthrough Advertising.

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Breakthrough Advertising, by Eugene Schwartz, teaches you how to be successful, not just how to advertise.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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