This is a
North of Jewfish Creek
Dear Friend &
I propose the U.S. Government hire me to be
used as a secret weapon against whatever country we happen to
be pissed off at in any given week.
I would be more effective and destructive (and
much less hassle and expense) than hundreds of cruise missiles
or thousands of armed troops.
Remember when I last wrote you? How I was
sitting in my rented trailer (built by Desi Arnez during a
drunken spree in the 1930's) and I was waiting for Hurricane
Debby to come pounding ashore and tear the living shit out of
the Florida Keys? Remember how I even published for your
perusal the "Keys Tourism Advisory #2" (Emergency
Evacuation Notice) which had just been issued by the
"powers-that-be" in the Monroe County Government?
While writing that newsletter, my son, Bond
called and begged me to leave the Keys. He had been watching
the Weather Channel and it said Hurricane Debby was on the
verge of coming ashore directly where I was located with winds
up to 135 miles per hour.
I refused to leave. Frankly, I'm getting tired
of God pushing me around just for laughs and using horrible
weather as His tool of choice. So guess what?
As soon as one of God's snitches reported to
Him, "Halbert knows
the hurricane is coming, he says he's tired of running from
natural disasters... and... he refuses to leave the
Keys," God then says to Himself, "Ah shit, stop the hurricane and I'll come up with something
And, in less than three hours after the
evacuation notice, the hurricane stops being a hurricane, the
winds die down to nothing fiercer than a tropical storm...
and... what little weather disturbance was left went ashore
someplace else and not the Florida Keys.
But God is a clever devil. Just wait until you
hear how he figured out a new way
to show me He's still the BOSS... and... I suspect... get back
at me for refusing to run from Hurricane Debby which He had
planned to send my way.
Shortly after Hurricane Debby is forgotten, my
houseboat is finally ready for its sea trial and I have it
motored up to a great marina which happens to be North of
Jewfish Creek. It takes about three weeks for the workers to
get it ready for me to move on board... and so... I decide to
move into a hotel near the Miami Airport while the workers are
doing all the stuff they gotta do.
A few days after I check into the hotel, a different
tropical storm starts to drench Miami. At the time, I happened
to be traveling with Scott "Mongo" Haines and he
remarks he's never seen rain like this before. I hardly
notice. It's nothing compared to all the other "shit
storms" of weather God has been throwing at me.
But then, I do start to notice. It's
more like a waterfall hitting us than rain. I start paying
attention to the T.V. which informs me this is the worst rain
in Florida's history. The T.V. says the absolute dead
epicenter of the worst of the rainfall from this tropical
storm is pouring over the intersection of Highway 836 and
LeJeune Road in Miami.
The hotel in which I am staying is located at
the intersection of Highway 836 and LeJeune Road in Miami.
How much rain did we get? I'm glad you asked.
We Got More Rain In One Day... Than...
California Gets In An Entire Year!
At least this year, we got... in one
day... 18 inches of rain!
Do you have any idea how much rain that is? If
it were snow, it would be almost 200 inches. Cars were
stranded all over the city. A State of Emergency was declared.
More people died and there was more property damage than was
caused by Hurricane Irene which is the one that drove me out
of my home in the Keys last year. Thousands of people were
desperate. They were surrounded by water yet, they had none
that was drinkable. No food. They couldn't get medical
supplies. Their homes were devastated. Some of them won't
recover for years.
Do you care?
Of course not. Unless you live in Florida, you
probably didn't even have a clue about just how bad it really
was. But, you know who could be made to care? Kosovo.
Bosnia. Iraq. The Palestinians.
Here's what I say: Pull all our troops out of
foreign countries. Order all our battleships back home. Forget
the missiles and "smart bombs." No need for all
Just Send Halbert In!
Don't tell God why. Just tell Him I'm going on
vacation or something. Then, as soon as I get to wherever the
government sends me, God will pick me up on His radar screen
and send in a hurricane, shake the place apart with an
earthquake, pour an ocean of rain on that geographic
location... or maybe...
Even Send In
A Plague Of Locusts!
Cheap, easy, effective and certain.
The previous issues of this year's newsletter
could fairly be called "Copywriting 101." I've given
my readers everything they need to know to write at least an
average ad or sales letter. In this issue, I'm going to add
the icing on the cake and give you two final (at least for
now) secrets about copywriting which can take your efforts
To do this (at the least the first part), I've
got to tell you a few stories. Don't try to figure out the
point of the stories or where they are going. It'll all come
together for you in the end. In the meantime, just sit back
and enjoy the ride. It'll be a good read.
Let me start with that hotel I stayed in
during the "Big Rain." It's called the "Miami
Airport Hilton." It's very nice and beside it, in fact,
connected to it, is another hotel called the "Marriott
Courtyard." Connected to that hotel is yet another hotel
called the "Marriott Fairfield Inn." While I was
staying at the (main) Marriott, I decided to check out the
other two hotels.
The Marriott Courtyard had rooms which, as far
as I could tell, were exactly the same as the main Marriott...
except... they cost less.
The Fairfield, also as best as I could tell,
had rooms exactly like the main Marriott, except those room
cost even less than either the Marriott main hotel or the
This seemed strange to me so I asked the desk
clerk at the Fairfield about it. He was stumbling around
trying to explain it in a rational way to me but, not much of
what he was saying was making sense. Then, a wisened and
seasoned old businessman standing at the same counter spoke
up, "I'll tell you
what the difference is," he said. "There
is none. The Fairfield Inn is the biggest secret in Miami. You
get exactly the same thing you get at the Marriott or the
Marriott Courtyard, only the Fairfield costs about half as
That businessman was almost 100% correct. But,
he had overlooked something. When you stay at the main
Marriott Hotel, the USA Today newspaper is waiting for you outside your door every
morning when you wake up. However, the other two hotels don't
deliver USA Today.
Maybe that explains the difference between $68
per night and $178 per night?
Another story: Before I left the Keys with my
houseboat, I was living in it at Mile Marker 59 at Peg Leg's
Marine Center. My houseboat had three phone lines going into
it for my phone, fax and computer. My telephone line was set
up with Bell South voicemail because I wanted people to be
able to leave me a message if I was either away from the phone
or actually tying up the line.
But then some work needed to be done on my
houseboat which required me to vacate the premises. I end up
staying a few days in the Hidden Harbor Motel in Marathon,
Florida which is located at Mile Marker 49. This also is the
same location as the world-famous "turtle hospital"
where sick and/or injured sea turtles go for relief, therapy
and medical treatment for whatever ails them.
I was delighted when I saw my room. It was
"smallish" but clean. Cable T.V. Good water pressure
in the shower. And... miracle of miracles... a phone! "Can
people call me in my room?" I hopefully ask the front
not really," explains the clerk. "They
can call me here at the front desk and leave a message for
you. We'll write you a note and stick it here on our bulletin
Hey, it's better than nothing. Besides, they
comment I can make local calls for free and long distance
calls by credit card. Hot Damn! Now I can at least talk to
some of my friends and clients by phone.
Read very carefully here and pay attention.
Let's suppose some dipshit like Joe Polish calls me on my
regular telephone (not the motel phone) and leaves a
voicemail message like, "Hey
Jerky, this is Joe. Give me a call back." Imagine
this scene: Gary
ensconced at the Hidden Harbor Motel... surrounded by six
psychotic turtles... trying to get his voicemail messages. I
pick up the phone in my room and press zero. I tell the
operator I want to make a credit card call. She thanks me for
choosing (I swear this is true) the New York Coin Telephone
Company to make this long distance call, and asks which credit
card I want to use.
Visa is one of the credit cards we do not accept,"
she informs me. Then she rattles off the names of a bunch of
credit cards I never even knew existed, and which, needless to
say, I didn't have.
Since it's not the essence of coolness to call
your clients collect, I ask her if I purchased a pre-paid
phone card from a convenience store, could I make calls that
Turns out, I can... so... I trot down to the
nearest Arab-owned piece of shit convenience store and
purchase a handful of phone cards. Now get this... the
physical phone line that has my voicemail is only 12 miles up
the road from where I am currently staying. But does that mean
I can make a local phone call to retrieve my messages?
Nooooooooooooo. You see, the nearest Bell South office is
located in Key West. Thus, I have to call there to get into
the voicemail system.
Hence, in order for me to retrieve my
voicemail messages while at my motel room, it goes like this:
dial a "9" to get an outside line.
dial the 11-digit 800 number printed (in microscopic
type no less) on the pre-paid phone card.
press "3" to signify I wish to communicate
punch in my 16-digit secret code number from the phone
the above simply gets me another dial tone which now
lets me punch in 11 more numbers (1-305-872-5636) to
get into the Bell South automated voicemail system.
press the asterisk button (*) to retrieve messages.
I am prompted to enter in my 7-digit phone number.
am then electronically asked to press in my 5-digit
secret voicemail code number.
I am told to touch the number "1" to start
to listen to my messages.
Do you realize what all this adds up to? It
means, I have to leave my motel, get into my car, drive
somewhere and purchase pre-paid phone cards from some
unwashed, smelly towelhead, drive back to Turtle Center,
unlock my motel room door, go to the phone in my room...
Dial 54-Numbers To Hear Some
Braindead Cretin Like Joe Polish Tell
Me He Wants Me To Call Him Back For
Some Trivial, Meaningless Reason!
Another story: During the downpour I mentioned
earlier, it was hard to get around and almost impossible for
services (even FedEx and UPS) to deliver stuff. So, I had my
Assistant, Theresa, send me some fungolas via Western Union.
Since my car had gotten so drenched, it wouldn't start.
Besides, it would have been impractical for me to drive in all
that rain and the flooded streets anyway. Thus, I locate the
closest office of Western Union which happens to be a pawn
shop on South LeJeune Road.
I walk down there and I swear, the water is
almost up to my knees. I get to the pawn shop and the owner
tells me he doesn't have enough cash to give me. He can only
give me $100 in cash and the balance in the form of a Western
Union check. You know what I remember about that pawn shop?
Outside there was a sign that said:
Please Unload Weapons
And Remove Ski Masks
I thought maybe it was a joke. When I asked
the owner about the sign, I found out it wasn't a joke. "We
get all kinds of weird people around here," he
Here's what I wonder: Two guys with guns
wearing ski masks walk up to your store. You see them on your
security camera. They reach out to push the buzzer so you will
let them in. But then, they notice and read your sign. Being
the obedient, violent felons they are, they unload their guns
and take off their ski masks. Only then do they punch the
buzzer. What do you do then? Do you buzz them in and say, "Thanks
for taking off your ski masks guys. How can I help you?"
I don't know. If a guy approaches my place
wearing a ski mask and then takes it off after he reads my
sign, I still ain't gonna buzz that sucker into my store.
Anyway, back to the main gist of the story. I
go back to my hotel and tell them I need to stay a few extra
days because of the rain and I need to pay them with this
check from Western Union. No dice. They refuse to accept a
check from Western Union. The hotel staff informs me there's a
Western Union office at the airport, only minutes away.
Being the compliant person I am, I go to this
second Western Union office using the hotel's airport shuttle
bus. I tread through the massive Miami Airport and lo and
behold, I find the Western Union office. The woman behind the
bullet-proof glass doesn't even bother to look up and
acknowledge my existence. When I finally do get her attention
(even though she still doesn't look up at me) she discloses
they are, indeed, a Western Union outlet... but... they never
give out cash... only checks.
I want to murder her but, I check the Florida
Statutes and it seems that's against the law.
Consequently, I start going to other Western
Union outlets. For your information, here is the bottom
I Had To Go To Six
Different Western Union Outlets
To Get My Western Union Check Cashed!
Another story: I'm on a plane to Los Angeles
and I decide to read the entire 105-page instruction booklet
for my new (approximately my 160th) cell phone. I learn my
cell phone can be used as an organizer, a day runner, a
calendar, a calculator (that is if you can remember which tiny
key means "divide" and which one means
"multiply", etc.) and several other options...
and... best of all... this cell phone can even be used to... play
three different video games! YIPPEE!
One of these video games in called
"Snake." Somehow, when the snake gets fed, his tail
grows longer... but... I don't know if that means you are
winning or losing the video game.
When I arrive in L.A., I find myself carping
about this to a young woman in a coffee shop. "Oh,
you've got Snake!" she exclaims. "I've
got it too. I love playing Snake."
As the day progressed, I found quite a few
people who love playing Snake on their cell phone... and... I
found out something else:
I Was Part Of An Elite
Because I Have The Capacity
To Play Snake!
Another story: Mongo wants a
"Twister" and a soft drink. A "Twister" is
a burrito-like sandwich filled with chicken and is sold by
Kentucky Fried Chicken. He goes to KFC and gets his Twister
and a soft drink. No problem. But, after eating his Twister,
he's still hungry and wants another one. The clerk tells him
he can order another Twister... but... he'll have to order
another soft drink with it also. Mongo doesn't want another
soft drink. He still has some of his first one left. However,
the clerk says they literally can't sell him another Twister
without selling him another soft drink... because... the cash
register has pictures on it instead of numbers... and...
The Key With The Picture
Of The Twister On It... Also Has...
A Picture Of A Soft Drink!
Ergo, nobody who works for KFC has enough
intelligence to figure out how to sell a Twister all by
Thus, Mongo orders something totally different
which doesn't require him to order another soft drink.
Not a story, just a fact: Politicians average
8.2 seconds to answer a question.
Another fact: Many people punch "88"
seconds on a microwave instead of "90" because it is
minisculely faster to tap the same digit twice.
Another fact: A buffet in Japan charges by the
Another fact: Telephone information operators
are taught to get you off the line as fast as humanly
possible. The average length of a call for you to get a phone
number from information takes 21-seconds. This is the standard
and, if any operator is much slower than this, the
"powers-that-be" will fire them. The phone company
wants their operators to do it swifter and their
"aces" get people who call for a number off the
phone in an average of only 16-seconds.
Enough. What's the point of me telling you all
of this stuff? Well, to begin with, copywriting fundamentals
don't change. The things people want now are the same things
they wanted 100 years ago... and... will probably want 100
years from now. But, the emphasis of specific things does get
greater or lesser in certain periods of time. One of the
specific things I believe people are desperate
for today is...
Simple, Easy Solutions
Which Do NOT Give Them
When a person buys a cell phone, he is not so
much (in my mind) buying a communication solution... as... he
is opening up another Pandora's Box of problems. That's true
with all kinds of items today. More than ever, people want
articles which are turn-key. You plug it in the wall, push
this button, and VIOLA! it works for you.
I believe the turn-key aspect is more
important than ever before.
People don't want any more work to do. People
don't want anything else to learn. People don't want something
else to think about. We all have brains which are jam-packed
with so much trivia and information, it's a wonder any of us
can even function with the mundane, everyday aspects of life.
All of this brings me to my last point. My old
partner, Dennis Haslinger, taught me something I will never
forget. He said, "You
should think of your business as a circle. I want you to
literally draw a circle which represents your entire business.
Next, divide that circle like you would cut up a pie, each
'slice' representing different tasks to be done in your
business. Be sure to label each 'slice'
with things like answering phones, opening mail,
running errands, paying bills, talking with clients, writing
the ads or sales letters, etc. Next, shade in each slice of
that circle where you can hire someone else to do that
particular job. The only items you should personally
take care of yourself... are those matters in your business...
where you are absolutely
indispensable. In your circle, the only jobs you will do,
are those in the non-shaded sections."
Just what does that have to do with
copywriting? I'm glad you asked. I've done the best I know how
to in the last few months in teaching you to write a good ad
or sales letter. But, here's what I consider to be (possibly)
the most important object I can teach you about copywriting at
It is true that with a lot of effort and using
everything I've taught you, you ought to be able to write a
piece of copy which will bring in profits for you. However, it
is also true it will probably take you years to get as good at
writing copy as you would like.
And like Dennis said, you should only
personally take care of those those matters in your business
where you are absolutely indispensable. If you can find
yourself a good copywriter who will do a good job for you, it
is my opinion, you should not write your own copy.
Therefore, if you can afford it, I strongly suggest you hire
someone else to write the copy and thus free you up to do
whatever you do best.
I believe it's important I taught you how to
write copy, even if you end up not writing yourself. Why?
Because it will give you a better understanding of
copywriting... and of copywriters... and you will know which
ones are good and which ones are bad.
Lately, I, myself, have gone back to writing
copy for clients. If you would be interested in working with
me and if you can afford my admittedly expensive fees, you and
I ought to talk. I charge (usually) $15,000 plus 5% of the
gross. That seems like a lot of money, doesn't it? Before you
decide if that is a lot of money, I want to tell you one last
Not long ago, I was asked to write a diet ad
for a company in New Jersey called Nutramerica. They had a
product which was based on the customer's knowing their own
blood type. I did the best I could with that product and ad
but, my best wasn't good enough. This pricked my ego so I told
Nutramerica I wanted to fly up there and find out if there was
a different product we could work on. After two days of
questioning, I discovered they had a different product which I
believed would be much more profitable to sell and I wrote an
ad about that product. (You know, half of the process of doing
a great copywriting job for someone is knowing WHAT job
you should be doing.)
Anyway, I want to show you the final version
of that ad which is being ran (as I write this very
newsletter) in newspapers all over the country. It's a pretty
simple ad... at least it looks simple... when you read
it. Here it is (in a revised format to fit into this
Stops Hunger 100%!
High-Speed Diet Pill
can now purchase an all-natural
fast- acting) weight-loss “miracle” pill
even if… you refuse to diet! News of this
“killer” fat-fighting pill is creating a virtual
flood of letters to the small company that developed
it. One doctor says it burns off more fat than running
98 miles per week.
To Leave Your Body!
though this product is extremely bio-active, it
contains no drugs whatsoever. There are seven highly
unusual (and extremely hard-to-find) ingredients
combined in such a certain, scientific way… that…
scientists call it “synergistic”!
This means each ingredient is much more
powerful because of thermogenic interaction with all
the other ingredients.
With clinically- controlled, scientific
testing, the researchers who created
this formula produced a weight-loss compound so
effective... that... human body fat is almost
immediately destroyed and literally flushed
of an obese person's body.
Sophisticated scientific testing was necessary
this product produces such an extremely rapid
Way It Works
of the ingredients is designed to maximize your
body’s metabolic process. Another promotes the
utilization of body fat and prevents it from being
stored. Another inhibits the synthesis of cholesterol,
lowers certain forms of high blood pressure and, works
as an insulin mimic and has a normalizing effect on
blood sugar levels. Another ingredient is a potent
antioxidant which enhances your
system and provides “insurance” your metabolism
remains at a continuously high level. The other three
ingredients influence the thyroid gland, assist in
mineral absorption and reduces cravings for sugar.
Product Is So Effective At Producing Weight-Loss
In Record Time...
It Is Protected By A
Trademark And A Patent
By The United States'
this is NOT an ordinary diet pill. Follow the simple
instructions and take this pill with water three times
per day for five days a week… and… you
can eat anything you want!
use of this pill according to the simple instructions,
will reverse years of overeating. People who have
tested this pill say they rejoice almost every day…
as… they look in their mirror and see the visible
unwanted fat, flab
and cellulite totally disappear.
Word Of Caution!
is a tendency in this country (especially among young
women) to want to be dangerously
thin. This is very unhealthy and can have serious
side effects. Therefore, since this pill is now so
incredibly effective (and, has no side effects
whatsoever) you must be careful not to lose weight too
rapidly. Before starting on this or any weight-loss
program, you should check with your physician to make
sure you are in normal health… and… you should
take his advice on what should be your personal
Not Go Below The Weight Goal Recommended
By Your Physician!
Inc. (Health Sciences Direct) is the only company in
product which is marketed under the name “Trim
Spa.” They have worked thousands of lab hours
and spent what amounts to a small fortune to make sure
this product will give you the ability to achieve the
body of your dreams.
product is so truly effective and amazing, it is sold
equally amazing guarantee.
can make this type of guarantee
certain... your product will help people lose all
their excess weight.
the way the guarantee works: Take the pills as
simple instructions for 30-days and
you watch your rapid and dramatic weight-loss. However, if
you are not
empty product container with a short note
took the pills
the simple instructions… and... Health
Sciences Direct will send you… double your money back!
toll-free at 1-(800)-***-**** ext. ***
for a full 30-day supply, $69.75 for a full 60-day
supply (you save over $10.00) or, a full 90-day supply
for only $87.55 (you save over $30.00!).
Whatever quantity you order,
an additional $5.95 per order for shipping and
handling. Orders will be shipped within 24-hours on a
“first come, first served basis.”
Nutramerica is grossing an average between $5 and $6 for every $1 they spent on advertising.
That means, since most of the orders come by phone, if they
spend $10,000 in advertising on Monday, by Friday they'll have
approximately $50,000. As far as I understand it, Nutramerica
is spending about $100,000 in advertising per month.
$15,000 plus 5% of the gross doesn't seem like
such a bad deal when you look at from this financial point of
view, does it?
I have performed this "little"
miracle for literally dozens of other clients. During my
career in the past 20-years, I have pretty much refused to
take on but a few, select clients. However, my circumstances
are presently situated where I can take on new clients. Like I
said, if you're interested, you and I need to talk. How do we
arrange that? I'm glad you asked.
Just call my office at (305) 534-7577 and tell
Theresa you want to schedule a phone appointment with me...
but... only if you're for real.
This newsletter is not meant to be a sales
pitch (well, I guess it's sorta a sales pitch) but, more
importantly, it has sought out to dramatize to you how complex
modern life is... and... continues to become. Like how
difficult it is to do the simplest things (like order a
chicken burrito without a soft drink) and how more and more
people are desperately seeking solutions to problems that used
to be simple.
Remember I told you about the 54-numbers I had
to punch in to get my voicemail? You know what we had to do
when I was a boy to make a phone call? You simply picked up
the phone, a woman on the other end who knew you would say, "Hi
Gary, who do you want to talk to this morning?"
I'd merely reply, "I'd
like to talk to my friend, Elaine."
I'll connect you right away." And PRESTO! Elaine was
on the phone. Things ain't like that any more.
It seems to me we have to manipulate 1,000
digits and letters to operate beepers, cell phones, voicemail,
computers, ATM machines, find out credit card or bank
balances, etc., etc., etc. Doesn't it also seem to you life is
becoming more and more complicated with these devices which
are supposed to make our
lives more and more simple?
Right now, even though I'm living in my
houseboat, I'm still in the process of setting up
housekeeping. I am facing the same problems any other
homeowner does when they decide to remodel or add something
onto their house. It's truly a nightmare. I think the movie,
"Money Pit" is the most accurate comedy I've ever
seen. If you've never seen this movie, I highly suggest you
I close with my final tidbit of advice...
Do Not Sell People Problems...
But... DO Sell Them Solutions!
Gary C. Halbert
can't program my V.C.R. I can't master my microwave. I
can't operate the remote on my television. I can't
keep my car insurance up-to-date. I can't fill out the
forms necessary to join a gym. I can't keep my papers
in order. I can't write a check to pay a bill. I can't
schedule appointments to see my doctors. These are
things I can't do.
However, there is one thing I can do... and...
do better than anyone else on this earth. That's write
an ad or sales letter.
So take Dennis Haslinger's simple but profound advice:
Hire someone else
to do the tasks in your business which are
"dispensable"... so... you'll be free to do
those things in which you are absolutely
Call Theresa at (305) 534-7577 and tell her you
want to make a phone appointment with me so you can be
one of the elite few to take advantage of my God-given
Copyright © 2003 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights