A Scientific Advertiser - Claude Hopkins
“We cannot go after thousands of men until learn to win one.”
Claude C. Hopkins was one of advertising's greatest innovators and pioneers of the 20th century. He worked for various advertisers as a copywriter. In 1907, at the age of 41, he was hired by advertising giant Albert Lasker, owner of Lord & Thomas advertising.
Claude developed keys to successful advertising campaigns, many of which were outlined in his 1923 book, 'Scientific Advertising'. This book is still highly esteemed in the industry with principles that hold their weight 100 years later.
Food shot from guns of peace
The Quaker Oats Company struggled to sell their puffed rice and wheat cold cereals. Deemed boring and unsellable, other advertisers advised that they pull the products from their line.
However, Claude tapped into the hidden remarkability of the products he was tasked to sell that would earn customers' attention.
He noted how the grains were shot from a type of gun while being processed, and thus the catch line 'food shot from the gun' was born. Advertising campaigns highlighted this remarkability, as well as the nourishment and convenience of cold cereal vs traditional hot, cooked cereals.
Hope, not fear
All the world loves natural beauty
Hopkins typically avoided using fear-based marketing tactics and instead focused on motivating consumers through hope. An example of this can be found in campaigns conducted for the PalmOlive soap company. Competitors strongly focused on fear-based advertising, insinuating that without their products consumers would struggle with wrinkles, skin problems and poor body odour.
Hopkins did something different; he tapped into the positive emotions surrounding beauty, and how one could achieve it - with PalmOlive soap, of course!
5 New Joys Await You
Hopkins was tasked with a challenge - to promote PalmOlive's new shaving cream. Men of the time typically stuck with a shaving product that worked for them and didn't consider any other alternatives. This loyalty would be difficult to break with a product that was not better than competitors and didn't offer anything new.
Hopkins went straight to the source and conducted market research. He observed that men wanted a shaving product with a quick, luxurious lather that lasted. In the following campaigns, he highlighted exactly that; the results men liked, with the exact statistics of the product to support this claim.
Let us cook for you
Hopkins realised that certain routine behaviours were difficult to break, unless one was given a compelling reason to change their behaviour. By targeting the behaviour that was least resistant to change, a 'weak point', an advertiser could unravel and change consumer behaviour.
This is what he did when promoting Van Camps Baked Beans.
He noted that making baked beans at home required hours of concentration and effort, and oftentimes beans would be burnt during the process. The campaigns that followed assured consumers that despite all the time required, they couldn't possibly make the beans better, so 'Why bother to try? Let us cook for you'.
Use of Analytics
Most digital advertisers use analytics to track the behaviour of prospective customers. Hopkins developed his own methods of tracking the results of his advertising campaigns, albeit over 100 years ago.
He used coded coupons and then compared how many were submitted across different variations of an ad - which had different headlines and offers. Through this in-depth analysis, he continually improved his ad results and the cost-effectiveness of his clients' advertising spend.
These principles still live on today and are customary within the industry. But let's not forget the trailblazing genius that created these concepts!
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