Welcome to my book notes on The Advertising Solution by the authors Craig Simpson and Brian Kurtz.

Let’s dive in.


  • Title: The Advertising Solution
  • Subtitle: Influence Prospects, Multiply Sales, And Promote Your Brand
  • Author: Craig Simpson, Brian Kurtz
  • Author’s website: simpson-direct.com
  • Additional resources: here
  • First published: 2016
  • Type: non fiction
  • Genre: marketing / direct response / advertising
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Recommended: Yes (Hell, Yeah!)

Read over the table of contents of this life-changing book and in less than two minutes you will realize that this is exactly the knowledge you need to sell your own product or service, and to increase your ability to create instant, irresistible desire.
- Gary Bencivenga

Table Of Contents Of The Book

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 - Meet The Legends Who Created The Rules Of Modern Promotions
    • Claude Hopkins: The First Scientist Of Advertising
    • Robert Collier: The Philosopher Ad Man
    • John Caples: The Maestro Of Headlines
    • David Ogilvy: The Advertising Wizard
    • Eugene Schwartz: The Breakthrough Advertiser
    • Gary Halbert: The Godfather Of Copywriting
    • Common Threads
  • Chapter 2 - Creative Salesmanship - A Little Genius And A Lot Of Sweat
    • Tricks Of Showmanship
    • The Ideal Sales Letter (Or Any Other Promotional Material)
    • The Rolls-Royce Effect
    • The Number-One Rule Of Success
    • Selling Creatively
  • Chapter 3 - The Psychology That Sells
    • If You’Re Going Fishing, You Need Bait
    • When It Comes To Every Kind Of Marketing, Emotions Pay!
    • The Chimpanzee Brain
    • How To Sell With Emotion
  • Chapter 4 - Secrets Of Writing Great Copy - Part I
    • Hopkins’ Laws For Writing Copy That Sells
    • More Of Hopkins’ Laws For Writing Copy That Sells
    • The Six Essentials - Plus That Extra-Special Ingredient
  • Chapter 5 - Secrets Of Writing Great Copy - Part II
    • How To Increase The Selling Power Of Anything You Write
    • How To Produce Advertising That Sells
    • More David Ogilvy Secrets: Necessary Expenses, Secret Weapons, And Killer Copy
    • Final Thoughts On Writing Great Copy
  • Chapter 6 - Headlines: It’s All About Getting Your Prospect’s Attention
    • Be Shrewder Than Your Rivals
    • Understand The Real Purpose Of Your Headline
    • Ogilvy Wisdom On Headlines
    • Caples: The Most Important Part Of An Advertisement
    • Writing Headlines That Really Work
    • Headlines By Any Other Name
    • Headlines - Yesterday And Today
  • Chapter 7 - How To Be Creative
    • Never Have Writer’s Block Again
    • Gary Halbert’s “Most Important Technique” For Writing Copy
    • The Key To Creativity Is Knowledge
  • Chapter 8 - How To Boost Your Response To Every Ad
    • “Taking The Guess Out Of Advertising”
    • Caples’ 32 Ways To Get More Responses To Your Direct Mail Sales Pieces
    • How To Get More Response Without Changing Your Copy
    • Always Work To Find A Better Way
  • Chapter 9 - Test, Test, And Test Again
    • The Value Of Testing
    • Getting It Down To A Science
    • 18 Miracles Of Research
    • Surprising Ways To Test Your Advertising
    • Some Of My Own “Miracles Of Research”
    • These Principles Work For Every Medium
  • Chapter 10 - The Top Ten Lessons From The Legends
    • Lesson 1: Know Your Product
    • Lesson 2: Know Your Audience
    • Lesson 3: Get Started
    • Lesson 4: Make Sure You Get Every Part Of The Package Right
    • Lesson 5: It’s All About The Prospect
    • Lesson 6: Be Passionate About What You’re Selling
    • Lesson 7: Showmanship Will Differentiate You
    • Lesson 8: Be Clear And Consistent
    • Lesson 9: “Advertising Opportunities Are Now Infinite”
    • Lesson 10: Testing Trumps All
  • About The Authors

Key Concepts & Ideas

Regardless of what type of promotions you are doing today, whether it’s direct advertising, online sales, blogging, self-promotion, or anything else, these are the principles you must understand - and use.

You can save years of trial and error, and increase your level of success, by putting into practice the ideas you will find in this book.

I think there’s a theme worth noting about these six “old-timers”:

The universal truths they wrote about are timeless.

Whether you’re a business owner writing your own ad copy, a professional copywriter working for clients, a web developer writing homepage copy for e-tail sites, someone placing listings on eBay or craigslist, or a blogger who is essentially writing copy to sell yourself…

… you would do a much better job of accomplishing your goals if you understood the universal principles of human nature and advertising presented here in The Advertising Solution.

Common Threads

[…] before we go on, I just want to point out some of the common threads we’ll see again and again:

  1. Each of these advertising legends went way beyond simply the opinions of the day. They all developed methods based on the truth of the product and the experience of the prospect.
  2. The prospect (i.e., the list) is paramount. They all made an effort to understand their audience and were aided in this by their own simple beginnings that did not hint at the legendary status they’d one day achieve. They knew their list of prospects was of primary importance, and they learned all they could about them.
  3. They never talked down to people. You may be the most brilliant person in your field, but don’t show off how smart you are. Use what you know to talk to people in a way that helps them understand what you are saying. Spend some time reading our legends’ works. Get a feel for how these brilliant copywriters were able to temper their writing so it appealed to the everyman.
  4. Product research is king. Even though they were brilliant writers, they didn’t turn to their imaginations to come up with sales pitches. They immersed themselves in their product, learned all they could about it, and allowed the product to tell them how to sell it.
  5. They never rested on their laurels. They were always working to improve on every success and were willing to experiment to learn how to get greater results. As soon as they had a winner, they set out to beat their own promotion.

These are valuable points for all of us, regardless of what we might be selling.

They comprise universal wisdom for the promoter of today.

Final Thoughts On Writing Great Copy

  • Speak to a single reader, not a crowd.
  • Keep your language and images simple.
  • Find out everything you can about your product and write specific copy that comes out of that information.
  • Avoid empty boasts.
  • Back everything up with facts.
  • Longer copy outsells shorter copy, as long as it holds the reader’s interest.
  • Strong openings and clear calls to action are mandatory.

The Top Ten Lessons From The Legends

Do you have a message you want to get out into the world?

Maybe you want to tell people about a product or service you are trying to sell.

Maybe you are associated with a nonprofit group, and you want to raise funds or just build awareness by telling people about the important work you’re doing.

Maybe you want to find a job and need to know the best way to market yourself.

Maybe you’re trying to establish yourself as a blogger or a YouTube personality.

No matter what your message is and what platform you’re using to broadcast it, there are basic principles of promotion you can use to make sure you’re working as effectively as possible to spread the word.

These principles for the most part boil down to one thing:

Human psychology.

Human psychology has not changed over the millennia.

These rules for reaching and influencing others have been used by promoters for centuries […]

[…] I have arrived at these ten overriding lessons for putting together a promotional campaign that produces the best results:

  • Lesson 1: Know Your Product
  • Lesson 2: Know Your Audience
  • Lesson 3: Get Started (probably the most important lesson for most poeple!)
  • Lesson 4: Make Sure You Get Every Part Of The Package Right
  • Lesson 5: It’s All About The Prospect
  • Lesson 6: Be Passionate About What You’Re Selling
  • Lesson 7: Showmanship Will Differentiate You
  • Lesson 8: Be Clear And Consistent
  • Lesson 9: “Advertising Opportunities Are Now Infinite”
  • Lesson 10: Testing Trumps All

More Resources From The Authors

Go check out these additional resources for:

  • Access to the “$100 Million Dollar Swipe File”
  • Rare videos and classic presentations from Gary Halbert, Gene Schwartz, and David Ogilvy
  • Access to the updated and expanded direct marketing classic, Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

Closing Thoughts

My book notes only cover small parts of the book.

So if you like what you read, please consider buying the book from the authors.

Thank you for reading and stay awesome,

Tim for Online Business Dude

PS: Start And Grow Your Own, Profitable Online Business From Scratch, Step-by-Step, Today!

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