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Breakthrough Advertising: How to Write Ads That Shatter Traditions and Sales Records Hardcover – Jun 1984


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Boardroom Classics (Jun. 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932648541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932648549
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,933,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 May 2005
Format: Hardcover
One of a kind. The best book out there on copywriting. Must be read several times in order to understand much of it. Nothing is missing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Dated, But Still Relevant, Copywriting Guide 9 April 2004
By James Sadler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
First, this book is not as rare as claimed. There is a new edition currently available which can be found elsewhere on Amazon, although it is, in my opinion, grossly overpriced. And, as I will explain, there are other ways to get a copy of it besides spending nearly 100 of your hard earned dollars. I hate to pass on buying a book, but the publisher is just nuts selling it for nearly $100.00.
Eugene Schwartz is one of copywriting and advertising's legends. His story is well known among copywriters: He started in mail order as a delivery boy in 1949 and became a junior copywriter before the end of that year. By 1951, he was a copy chief and became the president of his own mail order firm in 1954. He skills as a copywriter led him to become one of advertising's highest paid consultants (Rodale Press once paid him a commission of $54,000 for four hours work).
This book is considered by many to be a classic on copywriting in general and mail order copywriting in particular. It is also legendarily reputed to be the "most stolen" book from public libraries and it is claimed that there are only 130 copies to be found in the world. I'm not sure about that claim as my local library came up with a 1966 copy with no problem and the librarian indicated that other copies were available from other libraries. She also had never heard of it as being the "most stolen" book in public libraries.
This is the most recently published edition and it appears to have been published, in part, because of the reputed difficult of finding copies. The price of $95.00 would seem to reflect a pent-up demand for it (more on that later).
"Breakthrough Advertising" is excellent in its analysis of advertising and the marketplace. Schwartz was an advocate of the idea that advertising could not create demand but it could channel it to a certain product. He referred to demand as "Mass Desire" and believed that there had to be some level of desire before a product could be offered and sold profitably. An example he uses is that of weight loss. There is a huge mass desire to lose weight and, as a consequence, a demand for weight loss products. The job of the copywriter, according to Schwartz, is to tap into that demand and channel it to the particular product the copywriter is selling.
Schwartz continues throughout the book to analyze the make-up of a good advertisement, focusing heavily on the headline as being the make-or-break item of any good advertisement. He then continues in a discussion and analysis of the body of an advertisement as well as giving his opinion on some aspects of layout. He admittedly doesn't spend much time on the subject of layout, but his discussion of layout is quite revelatory.
Schwartz's work isn't necessarily a great revelation today. Most other books I have read on the subject of advertising and copywriting recognize many of the same principles he discusses. In fact, you can read on everything he touches upon in other more modern, and cheaper, sources. That being said, the book is still a worthwhile read. Schwartz has an engaging writing style and he does a great job of breaking his chapters down into subtopics and subheadings (a direct mail technique he obviously is employing in his book). Anyone with an interest in copywriting and advertising should take the time to read and learn from Schwartz. You will no doubt learn something about the craft of copywriting that you previously were unaware of.
Now as to the price of the current edition, if you are like I normally am and just have to have a book on your shelf, you might want to go ahead and buy it. I personally found the price prohibitive and did not purchase it. Instead, I checked the library's copy out and took a lot of notes. I would love to add this book to my library, but not at a cost of $95.00. I really think someone is gouging those with any interest in Schwartz's work at that price, but I guess there are more than enough individuals willing to that price for them to offer it at $95.00.
The price seems even more prohibitive given the fact that most of the information is available from other sources and the fact that the writing is somewhat dated.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Short list masterpiece 15 April 2004
By Ken McCarthy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There's a short list of advertising copywriting books that appear over and over again when you ask top ad writers
about the books that have influenced and helped them the most. Eugene Schwartz's book has always been high on my personal list.
This is an advanced, but beginner-friendly book. Can you get it from the library for free? Yes, if you're lucky and your library has a copy of the original edition, but if you're a serious marketer - or you want to be - this is a book you'll probably want to own and chew on for many, many years to come.
Here's the deal:
There are many excellent 'how to write ad copy' books that will teach you formulas for writing ads. They're useful and the more of them you read and apply, the better your copy will be.
But there are very, very few books - you can count them on the fingers of one hand - that can teach you how to think like a top copywriter. This book is one of them.
By the way, what does 'top copyriter' mean? Imagine selling over 1,000,000 copies of a hard cover book with nothing more than a sales letter. Gene did that regularly.
Whatever way you get a copy, if you want to become a top writer, this timless book is a must.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Copywriting is the least important aspect of a masterpiece 15 April 2004
By Aharon P. Grundman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Breakthrough Advertising" may not be the best book to learn writing copy from. There are probably far easier books (many based on Breakthrough Adv.) by now. The system it uses to teach writing is at times arcane, dogmatic and somewhat unnatural.
But "writing advertising" is truly a misnomer for what this book will give you.
The stellar importance of "Breakthrough Advretising" lies in the amazing systematic order and clarity with which it teaches you how to recognize and manipulate market forces in order to sell -- a lot! The insights are nothing short of stunning genius.
More than copywriters, this is a vital book for CEO's and business owners. It'll teach them how to sell and build wildly successful business in any era.
It's also a book ad agencies wouldn't want their clients to read -- ever. It would expose 99% of all advertising out there for what it is: trendy, inept, and ignorant rubbish advertisers create to impress other advertisers.
Is it worth $95? Of course. For all its shortcomings and occasional anachronism, Breakthrough Advertising is a life-changing book.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Good book, reprinted in 2004, not rare 22 Feb. 2004
By edfan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book, friendly and accessible and an easy read. But there's no reason not to borrow the 1966 edition from the library or buy the newest reprint, if content is what you're after.
It's a NICE book but not the be-call and end-all. You can even read large excerpts on the Net to see if you want to buy it.
At a reasonable price for a brand new reprint, it's a good buy. This guy speaks with an authentic post-WW2 tone that's refreshing.
At $90+ for a "collectible," it's a big silly.
When Amazon.com gets the reprint in stock, get one.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding book that will change the way you advertise 1 Jun. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you're lucky enough to ever find a copy of this book (it took me 4 years)...buy it! The book was written some years ago, but the principles and ideas are timeless. This book is frequently mentioned as a "must have" by some of the greatest minds in marketing, past and present, and for good reason. I would never part with my copy, for any price. Find and obtain this book, study it, and if just one idea springs from it, then you'll be very well rewarded.
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