Should Advertising Claims be Bold or Modest?

The school of thought that says advertising claims should be bold agreed with Samuel Johnson, who said “Promise, big promise, is the soul of an advertisement.” But there’s an opposing school of thought that believes advertising claims should be more modest, because then, they will be more credible. For instance, I am writing a book

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Why I Want to Hunt Down BB Like a Dog

BB, an old ad agency veteran whom I always liked and respected, resurfaced in my life via e-mail … but not in a pleasant way. He starts off nicely enough, asking if I remember him and giving me a nice compliment about my being a smart guy. But then, he says: “But I get annoyed

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The Trouble With Blogging

Two things blogging evangelists tell me make blogs a superior communicatino medium: 1. Unfiltered content — straight from the writer to the reader … no pesky editor, proofreader, or fact checker. 2. Instant communication — have a thought, make it available online to millions in seconds. But do we really need information in the blink

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The Surest Way to Wealth

Which of the following is most likely to make you rich? 1. What you know. 2. Who you know. 3. How hard you work. In Russia, they believe it’s #2. A recent poll showed that 45% of Russians think “having influential connections” is the key to becoming wealthy. Only 32% picked “hard work.” How would

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Are You Like Me?

One of the easiest — and most effective — copywriting techniques for bonding with the reader is to show that you are like him. For instance, you can simply begin the letter: “Are you like me?” And then list the things you believe you have in common. Another method: have the person signing the letter

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Bob Bly’s Dirty Little Secret

My dirty little secret — at least as far as business is concerned — is that I’ve never had a business plan. Not for my copywriting, book writing, corporate training, or Internet marketing business. There. I’ve confessed. May God have mercy on my soul…. Most how-to books on small business prattle endlessly about the importance

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Free Speech in Advertising?

Gail Tomas, a 65-year-old opera singer, saved her life through advertising. According to an article in The Week (4/13/07, p. 16), Ms. Tomas ran a “kidney needed” notice on an organ donor Web site. Paul Wagner, a 40-year-old businessman, responded — giving Gail one of his kidneys and saving her life. Now, Dr. Douglas Hanto,

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4 Secrets of Achieving Outrageous Success

Why are some people so much more successful than others? After thinking about this on and off for almost 3 decades, I’ve reached the conclusion that 4 factors are responsible for success: 1. Hard work — “work smarter, not harder,” is largely B.S. Yes, you have to work smart. But most of the really successful

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