W-A-Y West of Jewfish Creek
Dear Friend & Subscriber,
Can you believe it?
Not only am I caught up, I am actually sitting here in Room 436 of the Doubletree Inn starting to write this... my JULY newsletter... two days before the end of June!
I was invited to come out here to Las Vegas by Joe Polish to participate in the brainstorming session of a very small group of people. They offered to pay my expenses and a few thousand fungolas for my participation. I said "yes" to the expenses and "no" to the few thousand bucks they offered as an honorarium. I said to Joe, "Look, tell everyone in the session I don't want to be paid in advance. Tell them they can pay me after the two-day session is over... and then... they can cut me a check for whatever they feel my attendance was worth. In other words, if they so choose, they could end up paying me nothing." The result?
I Got Paid Almost Five Times
As Much As They Originally Offered...
Plus... I Formed A Few Business Alliances
I Believe Will Be Enormously Profitable!
Why did this happen? Because I'm good. I'm damn good! When it comes to direct marketing, there's nobody else in the world as valuable as me sitting in a room with you. Remember in my last issue I told you I was flying up to New Jersey to work with Nate Aventino and the folks at Nutramerica? Well, when I started talking with them, they were hardly paying attention. But, before I was finished, they were literally tape recording every word I said (even while driving me to the airport) and actually raising their hands to ask my permission to go to the bathroom. A few days after I got back to Florida, Nate told me they were following... every single one... of my suggestions... plus... they fired six of their "dead-weight" employees!
It made me feel good.
Gosh, now doesn't that warm the cockles (what are "cockles"?) of your heart?
Anyway, last month I gave you a free copy of my $97.00 report called Gary Halbert's Report On How To Slow Down, Stop And Even Reverse The Aging Process And Regain And Increase All The Youthful Energy, Vitality And Sexual Passion You Once Enjoyed! Many of you, if you happen to be anywhere close to my age (or, even for those of you who are much younger) will find the info in that report absolutely priceless on a personal basis. All of you received a real-life example of how to produce a product at a ridiculously low price (except for your "sweat equity")... which can be sold for a tremendous markup (100 to 1 or more)... and... still deliver something of such immense worth... everybody wins! Of course, each of you have been given the rights to reproduce, sell or give away that report with no compensation to me whatsoever.
I used the issue before that one to go on what I consider a long-overdue rant. However, even during all that ranting, I still managed to impart invaluable advice to you designed to dramatically enhance your life. Namely: "Don't Forget Grout Sponge!"
The newsletter before that one taught you how to do what I call "The Suck" which is... how to... suck out every relevant particle of information on whatever you are trying to sell... and... how to... get that info down on paper.
The issue before that one taught you how to become a student (and collector) of headlines... and how and why... you should have those headlines written out (one to a card) on 3x5 index cards.
We're getting closer to the part where we sit down and start writing copy (the least important factor in creating a great direct response ad or sales letter)... but... we ain't ready to start writing copy just yet. Nope. What we are ready for now is, to start searching in the direction of...
The "BIG Idea!"
What exactly is the "BIG Idea"? Fear not, you greedy, little truth-seekers... because... I, Sir Gary of Halbert... am about to lay it upon you. I'm going to tell you a true story which will illuminate exactly what the BIG Idea" is... and why... in your marketing campaigns, it is so damn valuable. Also, imbedded in this true story are many other lessons... which... for those of you who still have a few working brain cells left... will teach you...
How To Think!
Let us begin. Once upon a time (when dinosaurs still roamed the earth) I used to work for Ernest Borgnine and his evil wife, Tova. They had a little cosmetic company called "TOVA-9" which was a breathtaking clever combination of the name "Tova" and the second syllable of Ernie's last name.
When they hired me (the best move they ever made) I took them from grossing about $20,000 per month and being in debt... to... grossing about $800,000 per month... and... I managed to do this in less than half-a-year. This was done mainly by writing an ad for their main product, a facial cream which hardened into a mask. It was made by extracting some sort of ingredient from cactus plants which grew in Mexico. (I think before Tova got the rights to it, it was being sold by some guy in Mexico under the name "Happy Face.")
The "BIG Idea" I came up with for selling that product in the United States was expressed in the headline I wrote which said:
Now, at last, you can have it too!
The Amazing Facelift In A Jar
Used By Hollywood Stars Who
Don't Want Plastic Surgery!
But wait, there's more! For a long time, Tova had wanted to add a perfume to her line of products. She traveled the world endlessly paying guys wearing twitter pants to take a shot at creating a fragrance which would please her.
One fine day, I'm reading the latest edition of The National Enquirer when I come across an article on how you can save money on your favorite perfume by learning how to make that fragrance yourself. The article explained how all perfumes have, as their main ingredient, something called an "essential oil." It further explained how, if you know what that essential oil is, you can buy some of it for a pittance, mix it with a little water and alcohol... and PRESTO!... you have something smelling like Chanel #5 or Opium (or your particular favorite perfume) for a fraction of the cost of buying the real thing in a high-class boutique or department store. The article listed the name of the essential oils used to make the most popular and expensive perfumes.
That's kinda interesting, isn't it? In fact, I'd venture to say that article was built around a very fascinating "BIG Idea."
Sir Halbert logged this intriguing information into the dark recesses of his demented mind and he proceeds to continue to journey through his pathetic little life.
On yet another fine day, the Prince of Print finds himself walking aimlessly through the streets of Westwood Village which is located just west of Beverly Hills. He comes upon an outdoor kiosk on one of the sidewalks of which he happens to be strolling. This little kiosk is filled with hundreds of test-tube-like thingys which are filled with different kinds of liquids. The friendly girl working in the little kiosk explains to ol' Guru Gary each test-tube-like thingy contains a different kind of essential oil... and how... she sells those essential oils to women who like to concoct their own perfumes.
Hmn. Quite interesting.
The Prince queries the sales girl, "Is there any one or two kinds of essential oils which women seem to like better than the others?"
"Oh yes!" she responds. "This one. It's called 'China Musk' and women much prefer it over all the others."
"No kidding," the Prince continues. "Why doesn't someone pour China Musk into a bottle, mix it with a little water and alcohol and call it 'ABC Perfume'?"
"Gee, I dunno. That sounds like a good idea," the fair maiden replies. "I guess it's just nobody ever thought of it."
Hmn. Well, Numnuts Halbert was sure thinking of it, and he bought a test-tube-thingy of that stuff and took it to a high-end jeweler.
"I want you to make a real fancy bottle to hold this liquid," I told the jeweler. "Then, I want you to have the name 'Tova' etched into that bottle."
A few days later, I picked up the bottle (it looked great), poured some China Musk, water and alcohol into it, screwed the top back on... and VOILA!... I created TOVA PERFUME!
Hey, that was a neat, not-so-little "BIG Idea," wasn't it?
Another few days later, I haul my silly ass down to Melrose Avenue in L.A. where Tova and Ernie are engaged in a photo shoot. (It takes Tova 5-1/2 hours to get ready for a photo shoot. It takes Ernie 45-seconds.) During one of the breaks, Tova comes out, I tell her I have a little present for her and hand her the bottle.
"What's this?" she asks.
"Your new fragrance," replies Numnuts Halbert.
She looks very, VERY dubious... but... she opens the package... admires the bottle... twists the top off... and... ever-so-softly inhales the aroma.
"Oh... my... God!" she exclaims. "THIS IS IT! It's perfect! It's just what I've been looking for! How did you make it? How did you develop the formula?"
"Tova," I calmly reply, "you wouldn't believe how much work and experimentation I've put into this. I've hardly had a wink of sleep for nearly three months. This project has involved me in the most difficult research I've ever done in my entire life!"
Before we can talk more, she gets called back into the photo session.
I leave, but Tova and I get together a few days later. By that time, I have designed some truly elegant packaging for her new fragrance. She wants me to tell her the secret formula... but... I tell her I want to wait until we've had a "perfume launch" and find out if the public likes this fragrance as much as Tova and I do.
She reluctantly agrees and suggests we have the perfume launch at Candy Spelling's boutique. At that time, Candy was married to Aaron Spelling (the mega TV show producer) and she had a boutique in Beverly Hills which would hold maybe 150 people maximum. I told Tova, if she was going to let me advertise the perfume launch my way, she'd need a place much, much larger than Candy's boutique. When she asked, "How much larger?" I answered...
"Like The Century Plaza Hotel"
It took her a few minutes to recover from my answer but, you know what? She actually went out and rented the entire bottom-half of the Century Plaza Hotel. She really did. For real.
Then, I wrote an ad. We ran the ad in the Los Angeles Times... and... that ad... got more than 7,000 (seven thousand) people to come to the perfume launch! And... that perfume launch was held on a weekday afternoon! In fact, if it hadn't been for the Fire Marshal, there would have been more than those 7,000 people at the perfume launch. The Fire Marshal said he simply couldn't let any more people into the hotel due to fire regulations.
That launch caused such a sensation, it got mentioned in Time magazine. Plus... we got millions of dollars' worth of unsolicited purchase orders from Burdines, Filines of Boston, the May Company and various others including the Federated Chain. At that time, the Federated Chain was the biggest chain of department stores in the world.
Why was that perfume launch so successful? Because the ad I wrote to promote it was written around a really terrific "BIG Idea." If you've got even one drop of marketing blood in your veins, you'll comprehend this particular "BIG Idea" in a flash as soon as I tell you the headline of the ad. Personally, I think it's the best headline ever written... and... here it is... so... you can decide for yourself:
Wife Of Famous Movie Star Swears
Under Oath Her New Perfume Does Not
Contain An Illegal Sexual Stimulant!
The ad went on to explain how Tova was willing to give away thousands of samples of her new fragrance... just to prove it was safe to wear in public!
The entire town was buzzing! "What did she put into the perfume?" "Is it a legal sexual stimulant?"
But, Guru Gary wasn't finished yet. In the middle of the launch with thousands of people watching and the TV cameras rolling, I had a special gift delivered to Tova right there as she stood on stage. The gift was delivered to her in a velvet-lined box which was handcuffed to the wrists of two huge, muscular handsome men dressed in tuxedos I had hired.
Want to know what that special gift was? I thought so.
It was 13 real gem-quality sapphires. Why 13?
Each One Commemorated A
Sacred, Secret Ingredient Used
In The Making Of Tova Perfume!
Per my instructions, Tova raffled off those sapphires to the audience in full view of the TV cameras.
How's that for yet another "BIG Idea"?
Which brings us to the question, "Are good ideas really all that important?" Not only are they important... they are CRUCIAL! Know this:
Walking On The Beach And
Coming Up With One Good Idea
(If You Implement It) Is Worth
More Than A Lifetime Of Hard Work!
When you hire a world-class copywriter (with my 30-some-years in the business I only know of about nine of them) you are not hiring him for his writing ability. Sure, he's got to be a good writer... but... more than that (much more) he's got to be a great "idea" man. He has to come up with the idea which will make your marketing campaign a huge winner. The actual writing is secondary.
Look, many of my readers are quite slow (mentally speaking) thus, I'm going to try and explain it... so simply... even my densest reader can easily understand the concept.
How interested are you in knitting? Aha! Just as I thought. You're not much attracted to knitting at all (unless you're Rosie Greer), are you? So, what if I wrote a brilliant full-page ad about the hottest knitting machine ever manufactured? Would you read the ad and purchase the machine?
I think not.
Now, let's say you've been married about a year and your wife is nine months pregnant. Your mother has volunteered to take your wife to the hospital if she goes into labor while you're not home. You've given your mother a cell phone and you wear a beeper around the clock. The simple plan is for your mom to use the cell phone and page you the moment labor begins. You go about your work day knowing everything has been set into place.
One day you're in an important business meeting. Unbeknownst to you, your wife has gone into labor. Your mother is desperately trying to use her cell phone and page you... but... the god of cell phones and beepers (being the fickle prick he is) won't let your mother's call get through to your beeper. To make matters worse, she can't even find a coin pay phone anywhere in the hospital. In the meantime, your wife has had triplets!
The god of cell phones and beepers (again, being the fickle prick he is) does let your mother use the cell phone to get through to me (your close friend) and she tells me about the births. Naturally, I burst into your meeting room and tell you the news, "Buckwheat, your wife just had triplets!" Or I might say, "Hey, I just got a call from your mother and she says your wife has given birth to three girls!" Or I could say, "Look you guys, I'm sorry to interrupt your meeting... but... I just got a call from Buckwheat's mother and his wife has just delivered triplets!"
Is There Any Way In The World I Could
Use Words To Tell You Your Wife Has
Just Given Birth To Three Babies... That...
Would NOT Be Captivating To You?
Here's the point: It's not how you say it... it's WHAT you say!
Yes, yes, how you say it is important... but... WHAT you say is CRUCIAL! If I work ten days on an ad, it will likely take me only about half a day to actually write the ad. The other nine and a half days will be spent busting my brain figuring out exactly WHAT to say which will make the ad the most effective. Thus, an average copywriter will end up exclaiming how many people say they love the fragrance of Tova's new perfume... while the Master... Gary Halbert ends up (after much thinking) exclaiming how Tova Borgnine has been forced to swear under oath her new perfume does not contain an illegal sexual ingredient.
It's the difference between being world-class (like me)... or... somebody like Dan Kennedy.
How did those ideas work for Tova's perfume? Let's see, I created that campaign in 1982 or 1983 and...
Tova Is Still Selling
A Zillion Gallons
Of That Stuff On QVC!
There's a great story about what happened right after I created that campaign but, the telling of that story will have to wait for another issue.
Damnit, are you getting any of this? Am I getting through to you at all? Did any of you learn anything from reading this newsletter?
Shit. Forget it. Why am I even bothering to ask?
| Gary C. Halbert
"BIG Ideas Incorporated"
|My "No Agenda" seminar has now begun to take shape in my mind. The goal is to come up with at least one "BIG Idea"... for every participant. Thus... if you attend my "No Agenda" seminar... and... you implement one of the "BIG Ideas"...
You Can Make Monstrous
Amounts Of Fungolas!
Have you called Theresa at 305/534-7577 yet to let her know you want all the details so you can attend?
|Dan Kennedy pisses me off. He's become too successful, has too much money, doesn't work as much as he used to... and... the jerk even owns a bunch of race horses!
It's not right and it's not fair. I see it as my duty to drag his ass back down to where it belongs.
Like, where I am.
Copyright © 2003 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights Reserved.