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Learn the key ideas of the book by Claude C. Hopkins

My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising

Discover the principles of scientific advertising

My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising, the edition containing both of Claude C. Hopkins’ books, is the autobiographical tale of one of the pioneers of advertising, starting with a childhood in poverty, leading to an extremely successful career. It is also the story of the very beginning of advertising itself, as well as a compendium of universal principles that apply to the sale of any product, principles that are defined as the scientific laws of advertising. Many years on, Hopkins’ experience continues to prove its worth as enlightening, effective and relevant even in the modern world of digital marketing.

My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising
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Many useful tips to:

  • Discover the story of the birth of advertising told by one of its pioneers.
  • Learn the universal principles that are the basis for every approach to sales.
  • Learn life lessons from a man who built his extraordinary career from scratch.
  • Understand how to apply universal psychological principles to modern marketing methods.

The author of the book:

Claude C Hopkins (1866 – 1932), was one of the pioneers of modern advertising. A copywriter from Michigan, he is a legendary figure in the history of commercial communication. Many people, including David Ogilvy, called him “the biggest creator of advertising who has ever practiced the art”. Hopkins was very clear about his role in advertising, or selling more goods and services. He believed in inserting advertising in the overall approach to marketing and that a good product was often its own best advertisement, so he was one of the first people to introduce the practice of giving out free samples and analysing their results to improve the efficacy of advertising. He concluded his career as the president of the advertising agency Lord & Thomas in Chicago.


Caution and hard work: the family inheritance that laid the foundations for the success of Hopkins’ career

A pioneer of modern advertising, Claude C. Hopkins was born in 1866 to an austere, very religious family in a small town in Michigan. His father, a Baptist pastor and owner of the local newspaper, died very early in his life, so at the tender age of 9, a young Claude found himself having to work hard to help his family, whilst also continuing his education at school, to be able to fulfil his destiny of joining the church. He continued his ecclesiastical studies until he was 18, more because it was familiar to him than as a chosen vocation, until an argument with his mother made him decide to abandon the path of religion all together. He did, however, inherit his father’s passion for work and a parsimonious nature from his Scottish mother, characteristics which later stood him in good stead in his advertising career. In fact, Hopkins always created adverts that guaranteed the clients real value, and thanks to the method that he himself developed to measure this value, which enabled his clients to reduce waste on their investment to a minimum, and maximise profit. “Safety first”, was always his mantra. Cutting costs and being careful were instinctive to him, because he was aware that most failures in business (particularly in advertising) were due to the recklessness of exceeding the limits. Small failures in advertising are to be expected and they don’t mean much, in the scheme of a job well done. The important thing is a company learns from its mistakes and uses the lessons to make adjustments. Thanks to this approach, Hopkins was always able to minimise his losses and they never affected people’s trust in his impeccable reputation. Compared to the little mistakes, the profits that Hopkins earned for himself and his clients were often in the millions, and they brought him great prestige. As well as being cautious, Hopkins’ excellent results came from an enormous number of hours and energy dedicated to his work, and his conviction that a man who does three times the work of another, also learns three times as much, both from his failures and from his successes. So he almost always worked until late at night, and very often over the  weekends. Having said that, work was a game for him, a passion that he cultivated relentlessly.


The key ideas of "My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising"

Caution and hard work: the family inheritance that laid the foundations for the success of Hopkins’ career
The importance of understanding your potential clients and learning on the job
The power of putting on a show
A good product is its own best seller, so you need to give out free samples
Clarity, positivity and invitation to action: the characteristics of effective copywriting
Tell people what you do and back your story up with facts and figures
The crucial importance of testing, evaluating and being well informed
Mail order: the most challenging form of advertising for a copywriter
Why Hopkins feels that advertising is a science
Take-home message

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