What Hopkins said about psychology
Claude C. Hopkins wrote a book in 1923 entitled ‘Scientific Advertising‘. It’s still in print. It’s worth paying attention to, as he already made all the mistakes we’re making. (So why pay twice?)
“The competent advertis[er] must understand psychology. The more he knows about it the better. He must learn that certain effects lead to certain reactions, and use that knowledge to increase results and avoid mistakes…We learn, for instance, that curiosity is one of the strongest human incentives. We employ it whenever we can. Pufed Wheat and Puffed Rice were made successful largely through curiosity. Grains puffed to 8 times normals size. “Foods shot from guns.”… A department store advertised at one Easter time a $1,000 hat, and the floor could not hold the women who came to see it.”
Seems almost quaint.
Claude spent most of his career in the era before radio. He dealt with print and control groups. The linkage between print and bricks could be controlled geographically and between copy and response through direct response. Think Home Shopping Network at a snails pace.
Claude understood that advertising was serious business, because you were talking about people spending money. It was a discussion that few could have. They treated advertising like it was serious business, and spent a lot of time optimizing for the print medium. It was extremely testable.
Curiosity is still a force. It’s a huge motivator on Twitter, where you have to clickthrough to get any substantive content. It ought to be a force in display advertising.
Claude encouraged advertisers to practice an extreme empathy with their target segment. He advised us to understand how they think and why they do what they do.
I’m Christopher Berry.
I write at christopherberry.ca