Book Summary: Scientific Advertising, by Claude Hopkins

Find below my notes about the book “scientific advertising” by Claude Hopkins.

I give this book an 8/10. It was too concised for my taste and a bit outdated.


  • Advertising are now fixed in safe principles.
  • Advertising is salesmanship: its only purpose is to make sales.
  • In written advertising, fine writing is a disadvantage. They take attention from the subject.
  • In advertisement, the only readers are the people interested in the subject.
  • Ads are not there to entertain, but to sell.
  • The advertiser studies the consumer and tries to place himself in his shoes.
  • The reason for most failure in ads is selling people what they don’t want.
  • The best ads do not ask to buy, they are based entirely on service.
  • The picture is very important and has value in the ad.
  • The difference between ads and salesman ship is that the latter cannot be ignored. As such, the ad must demand attention.
  • The purpose of a headline to pick out people you can interest.
  • Create headline for people interested in your product only.
  • Spend time on headlines, hours, as it is the most important piece of the ad.
  • Address the people you seek, and them only.
  • Point out some qualities to an article and everyone will find them.
  • Generalities leave no impression. Be specific.
  • Tell about all the claims surrounding your product.
  • Many pics tell a better story than words do. If that’s the case, use the pic. If not, don’t use it, and use the space for words.
  • Do nothing that merely interest, amuse or attract. Do always that that wins the people you are after in the cheapest way possible.
  • Things too costly to do:
    • Changing habits.
    • Educate people on a known-fact
    • Educate people on a unknown-fact
    • People will do much to cure a problem, but little to prevent it.
  • Don’t create new desires. When new desires are created, go to the ones looking to satisfy them. It’s a matter of time.
  • Out of all the benefits of the product, choose the most important one.
  • An ad-writer must gain full information on his subject, including the content of ads from competitors.
  • An ad must appear to simple at appeal to simple people.
  • Many times, the name of the brand was the greatest factor in the success of an ad.
  • Sometimes, it was a crucial disadvantage.
  • The product itself should be its own best salesman.
  • Give out samples. Samples work.
  • Give sample to interested people only.
  • When you are mailing free a sample, mail it to the shop where the customer can buy more of it, don’t mail it to the customers’ home.
  • Almost any question can be answered by a test campaign.
  • The court of last resort are the buyers of your product.
  • None of us know people’s desires enough to get an average viewpoint. If you want to know whether your product will work, do a test campaign.
  • Your object in all advertising is to buy new customers at a price which pays for a profit. Learn what your customer costs, and what they buy.
  • A person who wishes to make an impression must stand out from the masses in a pleasing way. This is why products are sold by people, not by corporations.
  • To attack a rival is never good advertising.
  • Talk of upcoming good conditions, not conditions which exist.
  • Pictures what people wish to be, not what they may be now.
  • Tell people what to do, not what to avoid.
  • Do something to get immediate action at the end of a sales letter, or tell what delay may cost, or both.
  • One advertiser induced hundreds of thousands of women to buy sick packages of his product and send him the trademarks, to secure a premium offer good only for one week.
  • The service of the product, not the name, is the important thing in advertising.
  • Most national advertising is done without justification. It is assumed to pay. A little test might show a way to multiply returns.

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