FROM THE DESK OF
Gene Schwartz, circa 1966
To Future Readers of Breakthrough Advertising
This book was first published in 1966—what seems to be three lifetimes ago. It was put out by Prentice-Hall, a marvelous house; it sold only a few thousand copies. But since it was published I have had people coming to me regularly to tell me that they directly credit reading this book with their making millions of dollars.
This is amazing enough, but even more remarkable is the fact that—when I look back on it—not a single one of these people was a copywriter. Here is a book that is called Breakthrough Advertising...and yet was used by men who were not in the business of advertising at all, to make more money than most of us ever dream of accumulating.
How did this happen? Why was a publisher, a financier, a manufacturer of novelties, able to make so very much money with a book that is about putting sentences together? (The financier told me that, within one year after obtaining the book, he had raised his net worth from $100,000 to $10 million). Are the sentences contained in the pages that follow actually that powerful? Can they change the fortunes of men so radically? Are they far more universally adaptable than I had first thought...so they are no longer about advertising products, but literally about opening whole new markets for them?
Therefore, eighteen years later, when Boardroom Books asked me to republish this text, I had to study it again, with the fresh eyes of a person who had not read it in all that time, to see what was the real content of my book, and its real effect on its readers.
I did. I discovered the secret. And I am using this introduction now to admit my red-faced shame. What I had thought I had written those many years ago was a book on advertising; what I actually put down on these pages was an entirely different book, on a far broader theme.
There is a way to develop an entirely new market for a new or an old product. That way involves a certain number of clearly-defined steps. And in this book I show you every single one of those steps.
As you may know, all of us—no matter what official designation we give the industry we do business in—are actually, on a deeper level, in exactly the same profession. We are all simply creating or exploiting markets for our products. When the market is born, our business is simultaneously given birth. When it grows, so does our share of it. When it is mature, our sales charts develop their first aches and pains. And at that point, if we can develop a fresh new market for that old product, it is exactly as if we achieved the Faustian dream, and enabled that product to drink from the proverbial “Fountain of Youth.”
We are all primarily conceptual midwives, helping give birth to new markets for our products. All the other functions we, or our business, perform—the manufacturing, distribution, service, financing, and all the rest—are simply adjuncts to this vital central process.
We are, in a single phrase, “Market-Makers.” We sense each new market in its turn. We test and evaluate its size and scope. We gauge its true potential financial strength, and then we focus all the people, all the money and all the desire that makes it up on one ultimate object: our own product.
Most of the time, the market exists before our product, and we simply tap its present strength. But, in this era of constant change, we ourselves may help give it its first viable financial form. We may sense that people want computers in their homes as well as their offices...or want to walk around all day with music plugged into their ears...or would like to spend three air-conditioned hours in a faraway galaxy, battling with light-swords against evil and tyranny.
Making a market, then, is not, as I thought when I originally wrote this book, simply a matter of making an ad. It is also the making of a product. And it is the making of a conduit through which that product can be obtained by the people whom you have made desire it more than an equivalent sum of their money. This book outwardly talks about the sentences that make up the primary appeal of that product to that market. But its true and deeper message is found when it is interpreted as a market-diviner, and a market-intensifier. In other words, its message will show you how to find your “dream” market, and how to drive it into a national “feeding frenzy.”
And I have also made an equally important discovery upon reviewing this book since it was first published. The examples in its pages have grown slightly older, but the principles that these examples manifest are timeless. For example, if I were writing this book today, its examples would show more appreciation of feminism, environmental awareness, health and fitness striving—even the blessed sexual revolution. They would be more open and more frank than they could have been then.
All this is for the good—but this book is not about reviewing today’s ads, but creating from scratch tomorrow’s winners! This book is about avoiding the need for copying or imitating any other product or advertisement. So today’s examples are as “outdated” as those of two decades ago. This book is about what-happens-next, and the fundamental rules of making a fortune out of slightly redirecting that tomorrow.
You see, people don’t change; only the direction of their desires do. They cannot be made to want anything, nor is it necessary to create want. All that is necessary is to be able to channel those wants into the proper products that offer legitimate satisfaction for them. It takes ten million...fifteen million...twenty-five million...fifty million...one hundred and fifty million people...to create a vast market for your goods. But it takes only one slip of paper—or its recitation by a series of salesmen—to direct all those millions of people to your stores, or your catalogues, or your wholesalers.
Not one single thing has changed in that regard since I wrote this book. Nor will it even alter in the slightest.
So this book is not about building better mousetraps. It is, however, about building larger mice, and then building terrifying fear of them in your customers. In other words, it is about helping to shape the largest and strongest market possible, and then intensifying that market’s reaction to its basic need or problem, and to the “exclusive” solution you have to offer it.
Ask Rodale Press—for whom I sold over twenty million dollars of a single book, The Practical Encyclopedia of Natural Healing.
Ask the publisher of this book, Boardroom Reports, Inc.—who started out with $3,500 in total working capital, and who will probably do more than 25 million dollars in gross volume next year, with I am proud to say at least a little bit of assistance from me.
Even the seventeen businesses I’ve started or helped start…(Twenty-five percent of just one of them was sold for close to a million dollars in one day.)
These principles work. They discover markets. They build markets. They intensify markets. They revitalize markets. They perform, in sum, the invaluable function of giving you customers for the products you want or have to sell.
And that’s what we all need, isn’t it? Customers. This, therefore, is a book full of customers—for your products.
It is really nothing else. Just customers, by the millions.
Eighteen years have passed. Three lifetimes. They’ve been good years, and good lives. I hadn’t read the book since then, but some hidden part of me had remembered it, and I think it’s worth your reading now.
If you agree with me, why not write and tell me so. I have several millionaires, and multimillionaires, to my credit now. I’d like to make the next one YOU.
Please help me.
By Eugene M. Schwartz
The most important book ever written about persuasion... copywriting... marketing...and human behavior
WHAT ARE OTHERS SAYING?
Top 5 greatest business books ever written. And top 3 most useful and practical business books ever written. I reference this book every week on our team calls and with clients. (Great stuff Brian.)
Breakthrough Advertising is the core strategy we use inside our agency that manages over $100,000,000 in annual ad spend. It's the strategy we use to convert cold traffic, at a positive ROAS for agency clients. The first three chapters should be repetitiously studied... if you desire success in marketing and business.
Love this book and I love that you're promoting it! From a marketing standpoint, if you haven't already you NEED to read this book. It's an MBA in marketing.
It's one of only 2 books I read again and again several times per year. Its proven to be the most valuable gift I've received from you Brian Kurtz It's like an upgrade to your brain everytime you consume it.
Instant classic. Time tested and proven methods to better run your business and life. If you're interested in reaching new heights and doing it with fewer problems this is a must read book.
It describes the principles plus fundamentals to a long, lucrative and fulfilling career as a successful entrepreneur.
You will mark your copy career by before and after you read the first two chapters of Breakthrough Advertising
Breakthrough Advertising is easily the most expensive book I've ever bought. It's also the most VALUABLE. It has helped me revitalize stale products, turn around my companies, and create marketing that works.
You can read thousands of marketing and business books (which I have) or you can read and apply just one; Breakthrough Advertising! Applying the concepts learned through B.A. has helped me grow my business and it will help anyone grow theirs as long as they apply the knowledge.
Breakthrough Advertising has completely shifted how I look at my marketing. Each chapter is solid gold and worth 10x the cost of the book, but the section on the Levels of Market Awareness has got to be one of the best things i've ever applied to my business and marketing, and easily responsible for several hundreds of thousands of dollars in my business.
Is this a reprint of the original? How did you get the rights to such a rare gem, which often is sold for no less than $450??
Charles Paguin: This edition is absolutely every word as Gene originally penned it in 1966...with a new afterword from me and some selected swipes from Gene. I published two previous editions before this one too. How did I get the rights? Genee Schwartz was my friend and mentor...I worked closely with him (with Marty Edelston) at Boardroom so we were naturals to bring it back to life...and when Marty and Gene were both gone, and I left Boardroom and partnered with Gene's wife Barbara to bring it back to life (again). We have been amazed at the appetite for Gene's work--we have sold thousands to over 50 countries. And check out the other "lost Gene Schwartz clasasic" which was even more rare...But no more - The Brilliance Breakthrough
Thank you for the explanation Brian. Well perhaps it was worth waiting for a more affordable print after all. Thank you for bringing this mythical publication back to life. This is concentrated goodness. Cheers!
A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER
From The Desk Of Brian Kurtz
Gene Schwartz was my friend and mentor for more than 20 years.
I am honored to have the exclusive rights to his masterpiece Breakthrough Advertising and, along with his wife Barbara, make it available to a new generation.
This is a book that every business needs - especially if you work in marketing.
90 Day Breakthrough Guarantee
Buy with confidence! If you don’t make back every single penny you invest to own this classic in the next 90 days, we will personally help you implement the concepts found in this book and embed them into your business. Simply contact us, mention this guarantee and we’ll take it from there. This book is too powerful for you to not experience YOUR breakthrough!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Human behavior hasn’t changed since 1966.
Actually, I could plug in any year before 1966 (1066?) and say the same thing.
And while many think this classic book is only about creative, copywriting and direct marketing, it is more importantly about human behavior…how we can predict it and how we need to be immersed in what it takes to understand why people do the things they do at the deepest level.
Gene Schwartz said over and over, publicly and in private:
“The greatest mistake marketers make is trying to create demand”
And one of the most fascinating things you should know about Gene (and so many other legends we consider the greatest copywriters of all time) is that he was never about trying to create mass desire; rather, he saw his job as channeling and directing mass desire.
He makes it sound so simple.
But when a man who could write copy as well as anyone who has ever lived lets us in on his secret to success, we must pay attention.
And it’s why this book might be the most important book ever written for anyone who markets any product or service in any medium. And with your purchase, you will also receive a free subscription to my weekly blog to continue your education--and to hear more about Gene and his contemporaries, past and present. You can unsubscribe at any time.
It would have been a crime to change one word of the original manuscript that Gene penned in 1966…so you will be pleased to know I have not done that…and what you have here is the original, word-for-word version of Breakthrough Advertising, which Gene wrote in 1966.
I take the responsibility of being the shepherd of this sacred work very seriously.
Gene’s wife Barbara has entrusted me with making sure this book lives on forever…and congratulations on your decision to pick up a copy.