W-A-Y West of Jewfish Creek
Dear Friend & Subscriber,
I used to drink a lot of beer.
Not anymore. In fact, I don't drink anything
alcoholic at all these days except for an occasional shot of
Nyquil when I've got the sniffles and can't sleep. It's a
shame in a way. Sitting in a seaside bar sipping brew after
brew and watching the boats go by was very pleasurable. But
alas, I got to where the fun of drinking simply wasn't worth
the hangovers I had to endure.
Oh well, I supposed there's worse things in
life than not being able to drink.
And besides, booze made me do dumb things.
Like this: Once upon a time (circa 1970) I was attending a
seminar near Baltimore that was being given by a company
called DUALABS or DUOLABS -- I can't remember exactly. Anyway,
the subject of the seminar was how direct marketers could
obtain the demographic info that was then being gathered by
the 1970 census and how they could use that info to help them
sell their goods or services.
Of all the organizations in attendance at that
seminar, the one that sent the most people was...
The Republican Party
Yea verily, they were there to learn how to
use that census info to help elect all those slimebags they
had managed to get on the ballot. Well, I've got to tell you
something: I do not like
politicians. None of them. Democrats. Republicans.
Independents. You can have them all. It is my belief that it
is virtually impossible to go anywhere at all in politics and
arrive there with your ethics intact. Politics is
A Compromise Of Ethics!
Many of you will agree with what I've just
written. Almost. You'll agree except for the candidate you
support who is, you believe, an exception.
You are wrong. The only difference is that the
guy you support hasn't revealed his scumminess just yet.
Trust me on this. Anyway, so now that you know
where I'm coming from, perhaps the rest of this story will
make more sense. So, there I am at this
"confidential" census data seminar and I get invited
to a cocktail party one evening. Most of the seminar people
including all those mucky mucks from the Republican party are
there. I make conversation. I drink. I talk some more. I
And so on. And so it comes to pass that one of
the politicians asks me if I've ever done any political work.
wouldn't think of it," I reply.
not?" asks the slimebag.
I say, "I don't
think a politician could lose if a I worked for him and I
wouldn't want that responsibility."
They began to snicker. They thought I was a
yeah," one of them says condescendingly, "why
don't you tell us how you'd do it so a candidate couldn't
lose? We'd just love to hear that!"
And so I did. Like I said, I was drinking. I'd
had just enough to be garrulous but not enough to stop me from
being lucid. I told them how I'd:
all data on every zip code in the U.S. into a computer
how I'd massage that data to enable the computer to
kick out groups of zip codes with similar
and how I'd
overlay that info with all the data from the voter
registration lists that had been computerized
how I'd feed into this database all sorts of other
info from all sorts of other sources.
The slimes were paying attention now. Most of
this was new to them and they were eager to learn it all. And
then I told them how...
I'd Create A Full Print
Computer Letter That Would
Be Individualized To Every Person
On That List Based On
What My Research Revealed
To Be His Or Her Particular
In other words, the racist pig in Georgia
would get a totally different "pitch" than the
ghetto welfare recipient in Newark.
I'd 'customize' the TV and radio commercials too," I
told them. "Each geographic cluster with similar characteristics could get the
exact 'electronic pitch' most likely to fire up the greed
glands of the voters in that particular area and make them
vote for my guy."
would your guy be?" they asked. "What
would he be like?"
be almost a non-entity," I said. "Somebody
who was bland, homogenous and easy to manipulate. Someone who
would do what he was told, who would stay on his marks. No
blacks. No Jews. No radicals. Somebody who I could insulate
from the public by making sure all his remarks were pre-canned!"
Sound like anybody you know?
Shame on me. The Republicans have, for almost
20-years, followed every shred of advice I gave them. And
they've made tremendous gains while the Demos lose ground
almost every year. Why? It's simple...
Politicians Are Not Elected,
They Are Sold And The
Democrats Are Lousy
As I understand it, the Demos have been using
quasi-mainstream agencies like Rapp & Collins while the
much shrewder Republicans use real
marketing experts like Richard Viguerie.
And, you know what? This is one of the few
instances when I'm sorry that 20 minutes of drunken advice
from Sir Gary of Halbert is worth more than 18 years of
misdirection from mainstream agencies peopled by marketing
morons. You know, the Demos don't even know what to promise!
They blather on about the environment, international diplomacy
and "concepts" when, in fact...
Americans (In Spite Of
What They "Pretend") Never
Vote Anything Except
Whatever. Listen: This letter is very
deliberately being sent to you the day before the presidential
election. Therefore, by the time you read it, George Bush will
be the president elected. Dukakis never had a chance. Whomever
is handling his campaign has made so many stupid mistakes it
makes me wonder if maybe they are secretly working for the
Aw nuts, who cares anyway? As my late friend,
Freddy Maughiman, used to say when explaining why he didn't
Can't Stop Them From
Stealing My Money But I'm
Damned If I'll Voluntarily Let
Them Steal My Time!"
boogie. Last month I gave you 50 titles of 50 proposed reports
and asked you to pick the 10 winners and the 10 losers. OK, I
don't know the answers yet except that #9 is one of the
winners and I know that because Robert Allen told me so and
then I told him I didn't want to know the other winners (or
losers) till I took the test myself. So, now I've taken the
test and here are my picks including #9 which I would have
8, 9, 10, 13,
15, 25, 37, 46, 49
24, 26, 33, 34,
43, 44, 45, 48, 50
Let's see how I did. May I have the envelope
please? Ah, there is it and the real
9, 43, 6, 42,
3, 20, 39, 25, 2
19, 18, 5, 4,
29, 31, 33, 23, 26
Which means I got 3 of the winners and 4 of
Geez, I'm rather sorry I started all this.
This sucks. My guru status is in real jeopardy. All I can hope
for now is that some of my readers are as hopeless as me. I am
now going to go through all the entries and see who won.
Back in a little.
Hey, here I am again and I've got a big smile
on my face! Why? Simply because...
Nobody Did Great!
In fact, every single "marketing"
person (like myself) did just awful. In fact, one of the best
marketing minds in the U.S. didn't guess a single
winner. Zero. Zilch. And whom might that be? Why it's none
other than my good friend...
Hey, Frank, isn't it wonderful to have a
"friend" like me? A "friend" who, when you
enter his contest and fail to guess a single winner, he
trumpets that sad fact from coast-to-coast? And in many
foreign countries? Lordy, won't this do wonders for your
Fear not for Frank.
I'm only kidding him because he's big enough
to take it. (Plus, the fact I'm so relieved to have someone do
worse than me.) I'll put Frank's marketing abilities up
against just about anyone's. Because, he knows and I know and
every good marketing man already
knows that, the main lesson of this issue is...
You Can't Know That
You Don't Know!
A dumb marketing guy gets an assignment; the
first move he makes is he goes into splendid isolation and,
while mentally tramping around in his creative woods, he tries
to "dream up" answers. He guesses.
Just like you and I've been doing on those 50
titles. Except that, you and I haven't been so dumb (or
irresponsible) to ask a client to back our guesses with his
No. You see, what you and I have been doing is
playing a harmless game.
And, the loser - if there is a loser is ol' Frank C. who got
none of the winners right.
Hold your tears. You see, even though a guy
like Frank may lose at a game like this of little consequence,
he manages to win and win big when it comes to the major
league game of real
business. Because then, he
does not guess. He tests. Everything. Copy appeals.
Headlines. Price. Publications. Position. Etc.
And That's Why Poor
Old Frank Sells Millions
Of Books To Millions
Of People And
Rakes In Millions
Let's say you ask a "creative type"
to help you hype a drug store. Do you think he could ever
guess what's the most profitable item in your store?
Toothpaste? Shampoo? Magazines? Prescriptions? Could you
I couldn't. You see, the most profitable,
hottest selling item in drugstores comes in a little green and
white box and it's called:
The Fleet Enema!
Now tell me: How could you know that
Another example of a guy who does not know to
whom he markets: He gets this idea for a machine that you blow
into and it tells you your alcohol level. What he figures on
is putting this gismo in bars where the patrons will use it to
see if they've had too much to drink.
Trust me, that man didn't know drunks. Not at
all. Want to know why you don't see that gismo in bars? It's
The Drunks Used
It As A Contest Machine
To See Who Could Get
The Highest Number!
You're in real estate and one of your houses
needs to be painted. Could you have guessed that the very best
color would be yellow? Yup, it's true; yellow has more
"curb appeal" for a house than any other color. Why?
Who knows? But the point is, you couldn't have guessed that, now could you?
And, it's real dumb to assume things when,
with a little effort, you can really know
the answers. By the way, you know what you do when you assume
You Make An ASS
Of U And ME!
Gary C. Halbert
AKA "Hangover Halbert"
By the way, only 3 people (Harry Englert, J. L. West and
Jack Flanagan) were able to guess even 5 of the 10 winners
and the winner of my
contest is Harry Englert because he also got 6 of the
||I don't like
this issue of my newsletter. As I reread it, it seems
to me it's not up to my usual standards. Too much
preaching. Too much blowing off of steam. Too little
Nuts. I've been writing this letter for more than 2
years and this is the second time I've felt this way.
And, since I don't charge for that which I am not
This Issue Is Free!
I've extended Harry Englert's
subscription by 13 months for winning the contest and
the rest of you I'm extending for 1-month because...
I'm Not A Politician!
||Do you have
anything good to say about me? Would you be willing to
say it in front of a TV camera? Soon? Please let me
know ASAP! Thanks.
Copyright © 2003 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights