September 9, 2004
Good copy is a lot like
can put you in
the mood to buy and thus make it easy for you to
make a purchase.
Before we get into the symphony of
sales wisdom I'd like to share with you today, here's a little
nugget about my relationship with music...
When I was a kid, I was pretty clumsy.
(Years later, that hasn't changed, but, it's my clumsiness way back
important for this story.)
My mother, worried that my stumblebum
would perhaps ruin my chances of becoming an Olympic Gold Medal Winner (just
kidding, Mom!) (yes, she's a Subscriber), signed me up for
tumbling lessons, to improve my co-ordination.
Close, but no cigar. So we tried
I don't think that helped my
co-ordination too much either... but...
I discovered that I loved playing music!
My one regret is that I never learned
to play the piano. I guess there's still time... but...in any
That Brings Us To The Central
Of Today's Newsletter: The "Piano Secret"
I learned about the "Piano Secret" in
a wonderful book Subscriber (and Master Copywriter) David Deutsch
told me about, called How to Get Ideas, by Jack Foster.
It's a great book, and not just for
copywriting. You'll find a lot of valuable material in there
for opening up your creativity in all aspects of your life.
Opening up your creativity is an important step on the path to
The part of the book containing the
Piano Secret told the story of a man named Bud Robbins. Bud's
first job in advertising was at an ad agency in New York City.
His first assignment: to write copy for the Aeolian Piano
Company. This was about 40 years ago.
The piano company no longer exists; it was
sold in 1985.
But Bud Robbins' experience is
important today as it was nearly half a century ago.
Bud had to write an ad about one of
the company's grand pianos, and run the ad in the New York Times. Much
against the company's wishes, Bud took a field trip from his ad
agency in Manhattan to the factory in East
Rochester, New York, where the pianos were made.
Why Did He Want to Take the Trip?
Because He Didn't Know Squat About Pianos And...
... he knew that without good
information, the copy he would write would be worth less than
nothing to his client.
So Bud took his trip and he took his
tour. But he couldn't find out anything remarkable he could
use in his ad. He was about to leave no better equipped than
when he first arrived, when...
... he happened to see an Aeolian
piano standing next to two much better known pianos. He
mentioned to the sales manager that all three pianos looked pretty
much the same.
The sales manager agreed, except for
"Ours is heavier," he said.
Bud asked him what made it heavier.
Well, it turns out that the Aeolian
had what was known as a Capo d'astro bar inside. This metal
bar pretty much just sits there and doesn't do anything... at least when the piano is
But after 50
years, the piano's harp - the frame the piano strings inside are pulled tight
across - starts to warp. And that makes the
piano much harder to tune.
However - this is important -
the harp doesn't warp when the piano has a Capo d'astro
bar. So the piano
lasts longer without needing major repair.
After the sales manager explained all that to Bud,
said eleven words that changed Aeolian Piano Company's
"Well, there's got to be some reason the Met uses it."
The sales manager was talking about
York's famed Metropolitan Opera ("the Met").
Bud started asking even more
questions. And he soon learned that the Met was moving to from
its current location to a new auditorium in Lincoln
The best part: The only thing
the Met was taking along was its
50-year-old Aeolian piano - the one with a Capo d'astro bar keeping
it in great shape.
When Bud went back to New York, he
wrote his ad for the New York Times that started this way:
'About the only thing the Met is
taking with them is their Piano.'
If you're not a New Yorker or an opera
fan, you might not grasp how powerful a statement that is.
Telling New Yorkers that the only
thing the Met was taking with them, was their piano...
... was like a
golf club manufacturer telling golfers that
Tiger Woods uses only their brand of golf clubs. Everyone
who plays golf would want one of those clubs! The company
would be flooded with new business!
So, did Bud's piano ad work? You
bet it did.
The demand became so great that
Aeolian pianos were on back-order for six years.
OK, OK, I know what you're thinking:
"Great, David! But
what the heck does a Capo d'astro bar have to do with my business?"
(And if you weren't thinking
that before, I hope you are now. Because it's an excellent,
important and relevant question to ask.)
Before Bud Robbins went to East
Rochester to take a factory tour, the Aeolian pianos were exactly
the same as they were after he came back to his ad agency in
Manhattan. Weighed the same. Looked the same.
Sounded the same.
But after Bud did his detective work
and made his discovery, there was soon a six-year backlog in orders.
The company had more business than it could handle.
Now... what's important to
you about all of this is, you can learn the habits, skills and
actions to replicate Bud's success.
For your own business. For your
affiliate program. For a client you are writing copy for.
Or for any situation where you are writing copy -
even a personals ad!
It Starts By Asking Questions
Here's something interesting for you.
Notice that Bud wasn't systematic and focused in his questioning
like a scientist or a trial attorney.
He was more like that old TV
detective Columbo... wandering around, asking questions as he
explored different aspects of the product from many different
angles... all to find its secret.
And when he found its secret - it had
a Capo d'astro bar, and the other brands didn't - Bud kept on going.
Because who the heck knew what a Capo d'astro bar was... and
once they knew, why on earth would they care?
But just about everyone in Bud's
target market - readers of the New York Times - knew who the
Met was. Many of those people revered the Met.
So when Bud found his
one golden opportunity,
he pounced on it!
But you gotta stop... look... listen.
Ask. Consider. Reconsider.
You might have to take a drive in the
country. Go to a different city. Look at what you're
selling in direct contrast to what other people are selling.
It will be worth it.
As Bud Robbins says in How To Get
Ideas: No matter what you are writing copy about, "I promise
you, the Capo d'astro bar is there."
WORLD CLASS RESOURCES FROM
The World Copywriting Newsletter
Did you hear the music at the top of
It's from a package of royalty-free music my friend and audio mentor
Mike Stewart put together. I've used the music in my audio
products and of course in this very newsletter!
To find out more about Front and
Of course, putting music online by
yourself, so the music plays automatically when someone else clicks
a button, is easy... if you have advanced degrees in computer
science and audio engineering.
But most of us don't... Lord knows
So I found a "one-click solution."
It's what I used to put the nice clip of piano music on top of this
newsletter. It's also what my Webmaster used to put the entire
one-hour seminar with Terri Lonier online (I'm referring to the
sign-up bonus you got when you subscribed to the World
It's called Audio Generator.
(I'm also using it for the 19 audio testimonials I
collected for my new product, which I'll be releasing later this
You can do a lot with Audio Generator,
and it's really easy to use! For more info,
Finally... the inspiration for this
first issue was Jack Foster's excellent book, How to Get Ideas.
You may remember that the title of this newsletter was "The Tip of
Now I'm going to tell you why I called
it that. The Tip of the Iceberg is the little part of the huge
mass that you see above water, that gets your attention and focuses
your awareness on the larger part that lies beneath.
There's no logical process
that will get you there... but learning more about
creative thinking is the surest path available to you to
start to develop Tips for your own Icebergs!
And How to Get Ideas is a great
way to accelerate your progress in the kind of creative thinking
that will rapidly improve your skill... and your results! ... as a
To order your own copy from
BLOG - BLOG - BLOG - BLOG - BLOG
just launched the World Copywriting Blog on September 16.
stuff for you between issues of the World Copywriting
Newsletter. You can visit the blog by clicking
Well, that wraps up today's issue of
the World Copywriting Newsletter. I've enjoyed writing it and
I hope you've enjoyed reading it.
Hey - come to think of it, send me a
note and tell me how you liked it:
By the way, you may forward the URL of
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link into an email:
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Until next time,
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Copywriting Institute, a division of David Garfinkel, LLC
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