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Scientific Advertising

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,337 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Scientific Advertising is an important work on advertising from the early 20th century and is still used today by those learning the basics and more advanced parts of the advertising field. The author of Scientific Advertising, Claude C. Hopkins, is well known as the father of modern advertising techniques, and this book has been widely used by students of advertising and ...more
Paperback, 100 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Fq Classics (first published February 1923)
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 ·  2,337 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
The book that started it all. Refreshing in its assertion that vulgar, tawdry ads never create superior sales for companies. If Hopkins died in 1932, this means sleazy commercials have been around far longer than we knew !

“The time has come when advertising has in some hands reached the status of a science. It is based on fixed principles and is reasonably exact… Every course is charted. The compass of accurate knowledge directs the shortest, safest, cheapest course to any destinati
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It puts you in the picture.
That said, the book is indeed rather outdated and the stuff that could be regarded, on the other hand, as everlasting principles is fairly commonsensical.
So it's far from being an eye- opener, but what I know for a fact is that you don't lose squat giving it a read.
Reza Putra
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a copywriter, I found that this book is vastly helpful to figure out parameters used in writing a copy that sells. In brief, this is a classic book that never dies out. If you are a creative worker, this book must discipline you in terms of business insights.

Several "tested" claims in this book, among other things, are as follows:

Minimalism doesn't always work. In direct mail, the more you tell the more you sell (chapter 4). Likewise, success stories must be told in complete, either short or
Martin Hamilton
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Grandfather of modern day marketing. He is the inventor of the coupon. He invented the coupon for a reason most people wouldn't guess. Claude Hopkins invented the coupon to 'track' sales. How else would he know which ads were getting responses? How clever! His advice "track everything." Back in the days of newspaper and periodical advertising the cost was expensive. With no free emailing tracking an advertisement was crucial. He was a master at split testing (using more than one offer, track ...more
Fahad Naeem
Apr 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018, marketing
To be fair, there wasn't any scientific in this Claude Hopkins' book.
Scientific Advertising emphasis on headlines and gathering information for creating a sparked-ad.
What I wanted to learn from this book is, how to sell a product, which sadly I did not find.
Joshua Pitzalis
Jun 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Not very scientific. Not a single reference to a real study. Still, some great ideas.
Patrick Trotter
Too much fluff, and poorly edited fluff at that.

Don't get me wrong, there is actually quite good information contained within. But, rather than a malingering e-book, this (seriously useful) data should have just been presented as a one or two page PDF. I would have still paid for it. In fact, I would have likely paid more to have it condensed. The rambling anecdotes and unnecessary side roads were wholly unnecessary.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
An all-time classic.

Read it or lose money.

Read it or get lost in creativity.

Read it or get lost in pride.

Have you read it yet?
Phat Nguyen
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another timeless book on advertising.

It is unbelievable to realize that: many words and sentences that were written in 1928 are just as relevant (or even more relevant than ever!) as in 2019. It is not hard to browse around Facebook and see tons of bad, terrible ads out there. And they could be much better (and much more effective) if the ad owner simply read this small book, which was written nearly a century ago!
Jesse Jones
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the best books on direct response marketing, and its relationship to sales, ever written. Very practical and still applicable in a world driven by Google AdWords and social media advertising.

To sum up in the author's own words:
Advertising is salesmanship
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a short book that offers many practical ways of advertising, what to do and what not to do, all come with examples. Keep in mind this is an old book first published in 1923, so some of the things may not be relevant. But most of the ideas are timeless and relevant. If you could only read one chapter, read Chapter 6 about psychology.

Spoiler alert

Chapter 1 How Advertising Laws Are Established
Advertising if done in a scientific fashion, is not a gamble, but one of the safest, surest ventures w
Romeu Lourenço
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The mental models to write good copy. Recommend!
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A must read for anyone interested in advertising. Not five stars because there are a couple of chapters that are outdated and not relevant anymore. The rest, though, is gold.

Important lessons for me:

- Advertising is multiplied salesmanship. It doesn't need to be entertaining nor weird. Its purpose is to sell. It follows the rules of human interactions. When writing, don't think of people in the mass but trying to think of your ideal customer.
- Don't try to sell people what they don't want.
- Adve
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I've been meaning to get around to for at least a couple years now. I'm glad it finally ended up in my reading list because it was wonderful. I love the terse, precise prose. Hopkins really hammers home his ideas.

I will probably do a full review once I've digested it a bit more, but I want to mention a couple items.

A few people have criticized the book for not being "scientific". Its certainly not a scientific article, and would never wind up in a scientific journal. This book is
Chase Cottle
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
3 things that stood out to me from this book:

1. The more you tell, the more you sell
2. if you can prove it on a small scale, the numbers will hold up on a larger scale, once you know it works for 1,000 it will work for 1,000,000
3. Although this was written quite a while ago, the principles still hold true, understanding why your customer wants something and positioning your product or service as a solution is what will get the job done.
Jelle Annaars
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I can see how this is a classic, but it's quite outdated. There are some useful universal insights there, but you've got to dig for them.
Also, prepare for a dry reading experience. Don't expect any stories or even a sense of humour.
Meryl Evans
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Many in the writing biz recommended this book, but it didn't ring with me. Maybe the writing style just didn't work for me. ...more
Kalin Stanislavov
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
3rd time this year I'm reading it.Recommended by most successful in the industry like John Carlton,Gary Halbert and David Ogilvy ...more
Ashraf Hefny
the book is outdated but it can puts you in the picture of the advertising
Licia Borrelli
Tldr: [ A short read, doesn't take much time and brings interestingly points through the use of examples/personal experience of the author, although the content is quite basic and outdated. ]

The book underlines a few interesting points and can surely be used as a starting point for people who know very little about advertising and the workings of the media in general, but it should not be expected to function as a guideline for creating contemporary advertisment campaign, as it fails to reflect
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome. The book outlines clearly what makes a good ad and what doesn’t.

'Scientific Advertising' is a prime recommendation by David Ogilvy (known as 'The Father of Advertising'), who said "Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life."

I can think of many modern ads which have done everything wrong according to this book. A prime example is the 2019 Gillette 'The Best A Man Can Be' commercial. It sough
Pascal Wagner
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short & simple read. A very math & science driven book on how to approach sales and marketing.

Others look for something queer and unusual. They want ads distinctive in style or illustration. Would you want that in a salesman? Do not men who act and dress in normal ways make a far better impression? (13)

Some advertising men go out in person and sell before they plan to write an ad. One of the ablest of men has spent weeks on one article, selling from house to house. In thi
Ken Lenoir
Apr 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Most valuable lessons learned:

Treat your "ads" like sales people. Force them to justify themselves. They must pay their way.

Successful ads are often based on service. They offer wanted information of some kind or they offer a free sample or some kind of bonus upon purchase.

Successful ads often tell a complete story if the purpose is to make an immediate sale. There is generally no limitation on the amount of copy. "The more you tell the more you sell."

The purpose of a headline is to pick out
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Some chapters are, understandably, dated -- "getting distribution" and "leaning on dealers" in particular. The "Use of samples" chapter is borderline irrelevant in the age of digital marketing. The "Psychology" chapter is also fairly weak/thin. The advice "in every ad consider only new customers" also doesn't hold up -- what about referral marketing? That wasn't a thing in the '20s? Hopkins writes in a rigid manner that must have seemed old-fashioned even in 1923. There are, however, some import ...more
Sep 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
Not worth buying, not worth reading.

Where to begin...

This book states the bleeding obvious i.e. that if you run advertising campaigns, then you had better try to actually test how effective they are, so you can optimise your ad spend.

If you come from some other industry, you will be rolling your eyes. If you don't do quality control in your industry, then people start getting food poisoning or bridges fall down. Meanwhile, this book treats it like some big revelation.

Next we have a bunch of prin
Rich B
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
There’s a frequent quote used in advertising and marketing books that “people don’t change, technology does”. It seems very apt when you read this almost hundred year old book on how to make advertising work. This is the grandad, maybe even the great grandad of advertising books.

For anyone interested in marketing and advertising, it’s a fun read in that much of what he states as good practice in advertising back in 1923 still makes sense today. He was ahead of his time on areas like sales attri
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Claude 'Classic' Hopkins was a genius, he worked with and for another genius Albert Lasker (America first great advertising agency owner and a multi-millionaire many times over) Together they added the words accountancy, accountability, responsibility, endorsements, trustability, reliability and coupons to press advertising copywriting. Both these men entered the advertising field when quack medicine was popular, an age when newspapers proprietors allowed advertisers to openly offer their untest ...more
Khôi Nguyễn
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Ads are not written to entertain. When they do, those entertainment seekers are little likely to be the people whom you want. That is one of the greatest advertising faults. Ad writers abandon their parts. They forget they are salesmen and try to be performers. Instead of sales, they seek applause."

This is definitely my favorite excerpt of this book.

The book provides plenty of universal insights back in the old days and still hold true nowadays, but some are outdated in the digital age.

The wri
Ekaterina Anguelova
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Not all classics age well

Having studied social sciences for the past decade, the field of marketing is new to me. I wanted to start at the beginning, just like any course in anthropology would look at the birth of the discipline by referencing authors of the likes of Malinowski and Evans-Pritchard . In this regard, Hopkins's book does not disappoint - it gives a picture of the mindset with which professionals approached marketing as a precise discipline in the first half of the 20th century.
Henrique Zambonin
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A friend of mine talked about this book and I've read it out of curiosity. It's a very short book but I must say: I'm kinda impressed with it.

It's a book originally written in 1923 for those who don't know. So, as a marketer who started to practice his craft when the internet was already a big hit, I always had the support of many different analytics tools, So I used to think that the scientific "data-driven" approach to run ads, campaigns and the creative part of the businesses, in general, was
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