No advertisement ever sells a product, It sells a way of satisfying a particular desire.
If the desire is shared by masses of people, and if each of these people wants that satisfaction enough to pay the price required for a mechanism to satisfy it—then it is highly probable that many firms will try to deliver that mechanism, or product, to them.
The almost universal condition of commercial life is competition.
No one who sells anything, of course, can avoid it.
As you write, your one eye should be fixed on your market, and the other on your competitors.
I have written a lot about beating the competition. But today I will talk about a different way of being the dominator of your market.
But, let’s stop for a moment and review what I have talked about in the past. Please read those if you want to understand them in detail.
First, of course, is the superiority of the product.
This is the ultimate weapon in the war.
If you produce the best product, your advertising has a hundred times the chance of success than if you produce only a fair product.
Most great ads have been associated with great products.
Most great copy claims come from the assembly line. If yours does not. if your AD is better than your product, then send it to your client instead of your prospect, and tell him to make it a reality.
But even the best product needs equally as an effective Ad to induce people to try it. Otherwise, the excessive cost of getting the first purchase may drive the product of the market, before the repeat sales can build up high enough to earn- it through.
Our second weapon to beat the competition is the superiority of promise.
A stronger promise, that evokes more desire.
A wider promise, that causes more people to buy.
A more believable promise, that brings in the skeptics as well as the susceptible.
Third, we have the weapon of product-role. AKA product personality.
The role the product allows its consumer to play. The personality, the identification, the prestige, the status, the excitement you can bring out of your product, or graft onto it.
- Fourth, we have response and reaction as a competitive force—the ability to one-up the competition: to escalate claims when necessary; to shift mechanisms; to invade new markets.
- And fifth,( which we will be discussing today) is a direct attack—the mechanism of Concentration— differs completely from the other four methods we have discussed above.
All these techniques have the common element of ignoring the competition.
They concentrate on your story, your promises, the benefits of your product benefits, your product.
So, they are effective when you dominate a field when your primary problem is to protect your customers’ loyalty against the claims of your competitor, or when your story is so powerful, so different, or so fresh that the competition has nothing to match it.
In these cases, it’s better not to give him the prestige of attack, not to mention his claims or his product, even invidiously, in the space which costs you such a dear dollar.
But in many other cases—especially where your advertising budget is much less than his—especially where a lot of your prospects are already customers of his—your first problem may be to crack his image, to shatter their loyalty before you can become your customers.
The fifth way to beat the competition (Concentration.)
But this process of Concentration—this careful, logical, documented process of proving ineffectual other ways of satisfying your prospect’s desire—is much more than mere attack.
If you can only attack another product—without showing at the same time, by comparison, how your product provides what the other lacks—then say nothing at all!
Never attack a weakness unless you can provide the solution to that weakness at the same time!
The reason for this is simple. Your prospect knows that your attack is biased.
If, therefore, you are attacking another product only for your own good—in other words, to win the sale by disparaging your competitor. You will probably make your prospect hate you.
But if you can show your customer that this attack is for his own good, in his sendee, because your product will eliminate this weakness, then you have a sales story he will accept.
Then you will make him question even the most ingrained loyalty.
Concentration, therefore, is the process of pointing out weaknesses in the competition . . . emphasizing their disservice to your prospect . . . and then proving to him that your product gives him what he wants without them.
So here is a great example:
Two things happened in this Ad;
1. They provided mechanisms that proved their own claim.
2. They destroyed the prospect’s confidence in plugs forever!
The Ad-(please don’t skip the example)
“MECHANICS AND ENGINEERS READ THIS CAREFULLY”
And for all you mechanics and engineers let me tell you why fire injection must give you these results.
A spark plug jumps a spark of electricity across an air gap. This is the most wasteful and power-consuming way to get electricity from one place to another and it limits the size of the spark.
A fire injector fires on the surface of an electrical conductor This is the most efficient way to get a big powerful spark into your cylinder.
On ordinary spark plugs, the air gap between the electrode and the firing point is always getting bigger because the electrode is always burning away.
This means you have misfiring which means loss of power plus wasted gas plus raw gas to damage the cylinders and piston rings.
On fire injectors, there is no air gap and no electrode to burn away. That means maximum gas explosion which means full power, full economy and no raw gas to wash away the oil protection from cylinder walls and pistons.
A spark plug accumulates filth and carbon because oi inefficient firing.
This means you need regular cleaning, setting, and expensive replacement!
A fire injector never needs cleaning or setting.
It actually- “breaks in” and becomes more efficient with use.
It will actually outlast your car, delivering maximum efficiency without servicing or replacement.
A spark plug gives you a thin skimpy spark that actually blows out under the pressure of fewer than 120 pounds.
A fire injector gives you a heavy powerful flame that will not blow out at pressures far heavier than those created by even the highest compression engine. . . .
With ordinary spark plugs you are using, or should he using premium gas which costs from 4 to 8 cents more than ordinary gas, and despite this, you’re getting inefficient wasteful gas consumption.
With fire injectors, regular gas will give you up to 8 more gas miles per gallon, up to 31 more horsepower, plus easier starting in all weather.
Add these savings together and see for yourself why I sav that fire injectors will pay for themselves every single month that you drive your car.
Ordinary spark plugs have to be replaced regularly.
In some of the new high-compression cars, a set of plugs will burn up in a couple of months. Afire injector installation is guaranteed for the life of your car without cleaning, servicing, or replacing.
These are some of the reasons that the U.S. Air Force pays premium prices for surface supported injectors for their aircraft and why you will ultimately find fire injectors in all automobiles. . . . ”
Let’s see how they did it.
I hope that by now you have spotted many of the techniques he uses to gain his effects .. . to build the overall power of this sequence.
Let’s just check off a few of them right now: First, of course, is the interweaving contrast. A weakness in the operation of the spark plug is pointed out, and then immediately counteracted by the benefit the injector gives you.
Bad— good; bad—good; bad—good: this is the underlying structure of this sequence. But this is only one use he makes of parallelism.
He repeats words to contrast the inherent weakness of the plug with the inherent strength of the injector.
“A spark plug jumps a spar*. “Afire injector fires on. … ” Spark is a weak word; fire is much stronger visually And he later intensifies this contrast of the image by saying: “A spark plug gives you a thin skimpy spark. against “
A fire injector gives you a heavy, powerful flame ” You can picture the difference. Throughout the copy, definition, and re-definition take place.
Spark firing is the “most wasteful and power-consuming way” as opposed to “the most efficient way to get a big powerful spark.”
Misfiring means “loss of power plus . . . ,” while maximum gas explosion means full power, full economy. . . .” (Notice the parallel sentence structure here sharpening the contrast.)
And, in a beautiful image, the fired injector actually “breaks in”—a masterpiece of redefinition by analogy.
Of course, almost every benefit has its documentary- mechanism. The air gap in ordinary plugs gets bigger “because the electrode is burning away.” The spark plug gets dirty “because of inefficient firing.”
And so on….
Let me point out again the general structure of this sequence It is:
Bad. (their product)
Good. (my product)
Bad. (their product)
Good. ( my product)
Bad. (their product)
Good. (my product)
And so on. So it offers repeated, direct, one-for-one contrast. It explores a number of performance factors of vital interest in the prospect—showing the bad and then the good side of each of them.
This is one way of accomplishing your Concentration. But, can’t always do that, because the points you wish to contrast may not be so easily and clearly broken down, one by one.
You may be dealing, instead, with a time sequence—a recurring, unpleasant experience with which the prospect is familiar, and which you wish to sharpen before you provide him with the antidote.
The Second Strategy.
In this case, your Concentration copy would adopt a different structure.
So here what we need to do is:
Talk about the product that the prospect is using pleasantly. And then talk about what would happen if your prospect switches to your product.
Here is a really great example. ( I recommend you to take snapshots of these ads to make a swipe file)
“For years doctors have known that ordinary reducing plans—that you pay S5, $10, and even 815 for in the stores— are completely passive!
That they depend strictly on your own will power—on your ability to starve that fat off your body.
All that these ordinary reducing plans are able to give you .. . for your $5 or 810 or S15—are HUNGERAPPEASING PRODUCTS—pills, powders, and liquids that do nothing more than swelling up in your stomach—that do nothing more than “dull” your hunger a little.
But not one of these products could do anything to ACTIVELY help you reduce your weight.
To take the strain off that starvation diet. To actually help you BURN UP that ugly fat. . . OXIDIZE that fat. . . MELT IT AWAY— FOREVER!
So what happened? If you were overweight, you struggled to do the job of reducing BY YOURSELF! You took your hunger-appeasing pills religiously.
You pushed away from the food you love.
You spent week after week of torture.
And finally, if you were lucky; you carved off 5, 10, or even 12 precious pounds.
And then your will power snapped! You broke your terrible diet. You discovered that your little pills were useless to keep you away from the foods you loved.
And the fat flowed back—heavier and uglier than ever before!”
Again, let’s glance at the means the writer used to get his total effect.
In the first and second paragraphs—Definitions and Redefinition.
- Ordinary reducing plans are passive. They depend on your own will power. They can do nothing to actively bum up fat.
- And in the third paragraph, the equating of taking ordinary reducing pills with “doing the job of reducing yourself.”
- Next, logic—cause, and effect. Given the acceptance of these definitions by the reader, the third and fourth paragraphs become a logical necessity.
This tone of cause and effect is conveyed in the phrase: “So what happened?”
Now, of course, the third and fourth paragraphs condense an experience that is all too common to every woman who has ever tried to reduce it.
She has lived through this herself, time after time.
She recognizes each of the symptoms.
And so she finds herself nodding her head, agreeing with each in its turn, building up a stream of acceptances which carries more and more conviction as she finds her own experiences more and more thoroughly described.
And then, at the climax, in the last line of the fourth paragraph, the distinction of the old methods of reducing is complete.
Notice the use of the word “And” to tie this final indictment in structurally with the stream of sensory experiences that have gone before it.
There is no doubt that the fat has come back again in this woman’s life—if it hadn’t, she wouldn’t have read this much of the ad.
But here the inevitable implication buried in a sentence with which no woman could disagree—is that it is the failure of the pills that caused the failure of the diet.
Thus the stage is set for the hero-product to emerge.
It has already been foreshadowed in the second paragraph—in the negative accusations that these ordinary methods can do nothing “actively” to “burn away” fat. Now the copy goes on, from failure to promise, like this: (Again these ads can help you in the future so copy-paste these texts in a google doc)
And so you tried another passive plan.
And another. And another.
And then if you were like the men and women whose fantastic case histories were reported by leading medical journals—perhaps you went to your doctor and asked him for an easy way out—without torture—and without sliding hack!
These doctors had the answer in a tiny grey pill—and a common-sense plan. In their hands—so tiny that they could balance it on the tip of their little finger—was perhaps the greatest weapon ever discovered against deadly, excess fat.
It was a miraculous compound called LECITHIN—Brandnew—whose amazing fat-dissolving properties had been discovered by a Nobel prize winner—the co-discoverer of insulin. . . .
Because this product was perfectly safe—and as easy to take as an aspirin—main had used it themselves when they wanted to lose weight. . . .
They were not given AM starvation diets . . . they never experienced a single hungry moment . . . they reported, in case after case, that they felt more pep. more energy, more youth, and vitality than they had known in years!
And then, day after day faster and easier and safer than they had ever known before, the ugly excess fat around their bodies melted away!
While they were eating three delicious meals a day, they were shedding as much as 5 pounds a week. While they were feasting on mouth-watering steaks.”
These are some extreme examples of Concentration.
The same effect may be boiled down into two or three sentences, or even a single phrase, as in this classic headline.
Like this classic headline,
“SHRINKS HEMORRHOIDS WITHOUT SURGERY.”
Again what they are doing here is pointing out weakness to other products. While giving a way to solve them.
In this case, you have caused him to question a habit . . . shift a loyalty . . . take a chance on your product—you have done your job, no matter how few or how many words you have used to do it.
If you have read this far. I just want to tell you that you are an awesome guy.
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