In this issue, Sir Gary of Halbert explains how celebrities
boost the performance of ads and marketing campaigns, even if
they appear to be an unlikely spokesperson.
Other than contact info (listed after the letter), this issue
needs no updating and is as powerful today, as it was when this
letter was written and...
If you think you can't afford to use recognizable stars in
your marketing, you better read this issue to learn how to put
the power of celebrity status to work for you at dirt cheap
There is one interesting tid bit of information I would like
In this issue our father talks about using Geoffrey Scott in
an ad he wrote, and coincidentally, we just finished a video
breaking down that super successful promotion (details at the
end of this letter).
It might interest you to know that this particular ad was a
huge winner which made the client so much money he bought a
In fact, that ad broke a lot of sales records and made tens
of millions of dollars so be sure to pay close attention to
what the Prince of Print has to say in this particular issue
of The Gary Halbert Letter.
------------- Original Letter ------------
W-a-y West of Jewfish Creek
Dear Friend and
Some people who scuba dive are into photography. Others just like to
cruise around underwater enjoying the scenery. Others like to explore
wrecks. And so on. Not me. No. What I'm into is...
I'm telling you, there is
nothing like going 60 feet down into an absolutely enchanting underwater
world, staying there long enough so the inhabitants of that world
come to accept you, conducting yourself in a non-threatening way...
and then... when you get those underwater creatures to trust you enough
to come up and timidly and curiously check you out...
Oh God, how I love it! So
anyway, earlier this summer, I was diving with Paulette at Sombrero
Reef in the Florida Keys and, being possessed by the urge to slaughter,
I was finning around while carrying a huge spear gun. And soon, I
spotted a stupid little tropical fish and I dropped him just like
I was Dirty Harry. And then, I spot a yellowtail. And "POW!" another
one bites the dust.
the way it usually works is, I get to carry the spear gun and do all
the killing and Paulette gets to carry the game bag into which we
put the bloody-speared fish. However, since I've become supremely
eager to share with Paulette the joy of slaughter, this time, after
I get my two fish, we trade and she's got the spear gun and I've got
the game bag with the two bloody-wounded fish. And there we are, happily
swimming along when...
Come Upon A Shark!
And what does Paulette do,
God bless her soul? She grabs my shoulder, points to the shark, gives
me the spear gun and...
Takes Back The Game Bag!
Well, nothing happened.
After a bit, the shark swims away and we continue our dive. And, when
we get back to the boat, I give Paulette a lot of praise. I tell her
she did just right. "Yessir baby, anytime we see any of those nasty
old sharks, it is your duty to make sure it is you who is carrying
the game bag with all those wounded, bloody fish."
a true story. I swear.
I'll tell you something. No matter how long you've been diving, no
matter how macho you think you are... A SHARK WILL ALWAYS GET
YOUR ATTENTION. And last month, I told you your first job, if you
want to to sell somebody something, is to get their attention. And
I revealed to you how you could do this by writing what I call "killer"
good. But, I'm not finished. This month I'm going to take it a bit
further and expand on two more ideas that, just like that shark, will
always get attention. These ideas are not appropriate for all
situations, all the time... but... when they are appropriate,
they can very dramatically increase the effectiveness of your marketing
what is it that will always get attention? The answer is...
be careful! If you don't do it right, putting sex appeal into your
ads can backfire like crazy. Consider the plight of the "Playboy Channel"
which has the highest percentage of "disconnects" of any cable hookup.
Why? It's simple: The "Playboy Channel" is too risque for the Bible
thumpers and not raunchy enough when compared with what today's smut
viewers can get from X-rated films and videos.
is life. Too bad for Playboy.
I want to impress upon you there is a fine line between using pictures
of sexy women to attract attention and going too far and ending up
offending those very people whose attention you have captured.
And know this: Using pictures of sexy women will always offend
some people, no matter how tame the pictures! Therefore, if you are
the type of person (or else, you work for the type of organization)
that won't ever risk deliberately offending anybody, then you
should never use sexy pictures in your promotions.
the other hand, for the rest of my smut-minded readers (just kidding,
just kidding), using such pictures (if you do it right) can help you
rake in mucho fungolas.
what's the first step to doing it right? Simple: It's using the right
woman in your ads. You see, just because a woman is beautiful
doesn't mean she will photograph beautiful. I had a "funny"
experience once. There was a model I wanted to use in an astrology
ad but I'd only seen her pictures, and I wanted to meet her in person.
Well, the photographer said O.K., he'd set up the meeting but that
I'd better be prepared for a shock.
wow, did I ever get one! You see, this woman who looked so great in
pictures was truly just a "Plain Jane" (and I'm being kind) in person.
It was weird. I was sitting at my desk looking at her pictures with
one eye and looking at her in the flesh with the other and I could
hardly believe it was the same lady. On the other hand, there are
plenty of truly gorgeous women who look just awful when they are photographed.
So therefore, don't fall in love with a pretty face until you see
how pretty that face looks when photographed.
speaking of pretty faces, what part of a woman's body attracts men
most? Can you guess? I bet not. You see, studies show men are more
attracted to a pretty face than any other part of a woman's anatomy!
How about that?
So anyway, Paulette and I often eat lunch at a little place down the
street called "Cafe L.A." It's a neat place, right in the heart of
ShowbizLand and therefore, it has plastered on its walls, hundreds
of publicity photos of celebs, non-celebs and "would-be" celebs. And
one day, as we are walking out rather indifferent to all these hundreds
of photos (as usual) we walk by one that reaches out and virtually
grabs your attention. You know, it's been said the late Marilyn Monroe
had skin so photogenic it would seem to "talk to you" from her photos.
Well, this photo we saw on the wall at "Cafe L.A." has that quality.
Want some proof? Just take a look at the photo below and see for yourself.
you convinced? I thought so. By the way, the woman in the picture
is Raven Bleu and that picture appears on her record album called
"Kiss The Boys." Whatever. So anyway, Paulette and I make it a point
to get to know Raven... and... not only does she photograph like a
dream, she also is a very nice lady.
the point: Her photograph really got your attention, didn't it? And
likewise, using Raven's photo, or the photo of some other photogenic
lady in your promotions, will also get the attention of your customers!
please, be careful. If you are selling Bibles to old ladies,
or, if you are selling something to a bunch of phony, stuffed-shirt
prudes, you may get some backlash you are not prepared to handle.
It's a "judgment call" and only you can make it.
where do you get pictures of foxy women like Raven to use in your
ads? It's deceptively simple: Just look in the yellow pages under
"Modeling Agencies" and you'll find all you need.
make sure your call is a genuine business call! Do not call
any model and tell her you've "fallen in love" with her picture and
you want to see if the real thing is as good as the photo and you
want to take her to dinner.
serious; that stuff won't fly and you'll look like an idiot.
now, here I am, a sitting duck to get bitch letters from my female
readers telling me I'm a male chauvinist pig and I don't deserve to
live. I can see it now! Here sits Ms. Elizabeth Adams out there in
Baltimore about to write:
I always suspected you were a slimy pig and now I know it's
Liz, don't do it. I don't deserve it because I'm really a nice
anyway, just to keep Liz an Alicia Evans and all those other fine
ladies out there happy, I guess I'd better reveal the other side of
the coin. Which is, using attractive men in your promotions.
Now, I must tell you, this is the kind of stuff (using men) that offends
even me... but... my job is not to pass judgment. No, my job
is to help you make a buck.
hear this: Some time ago I did a piece of work for a client in Arizona
and it did really well. And then, the client wanted to know if there
was any way to punch it up even more. So I say to him, "Look, if you
want to spend some extra dough, why don't you let me get you a celebrity
to feature in your ad?" And he tells me to go for it and I get him
Geoffrey Scott, who plays Krystle's (Linda Evans) ex-husband on "Dynasty."
What happens next is we make Geoffrey Scott the star of the ad and
we get a nice bump up of the gross (somewhere between 15% and 20%)
which, in turn, means an even more dramatic bump up of the net since,
once your fixed overhead is taken care of, a 1% increase in gross
probably translates to a 3% increase in net profit. By the way, that's
Geoff in the picture below.
thinks this guy is good-looking but I can't see it, can you? O.K.
now listen: There's a "mindset" you have to have if you are going
to use a celebrity in a profitable way. For example, in my opinion,
I doubt many people switch from Pepsi to Coke (or vice versa) because
Michael Jackson or Mike Tyson endorse one or the other.
the other hand though, I do believe using someone with some
"marquee value" can dramatically enhance a mail order/direct response
type promotion because they tend to both glamorize and...
I've said it before and
I'll say it again: The #1 reason people do not buy from you is they
are simply not interested in your offer. However, once you overcome
that first hurdle, the #2 reason they don't buy from you is they are
not completely convinced you are for real. And therefore, what a celebrity
can do for you is, he can make you more credible.
translates to lots more sales.
know, of course, the cosmetic ads I did for Tova Borgnine were hugely
successful, don't you? Well, Ernie was featured prominently in those
ads and, if you ask me, I don't think anybody bought those cosmetics
because they wanted to look like Ernest Borgnine. But nevertheless,
Ernie's celebrity did credential the ads; he did validate
the ads; he made them more credible; he made them more believable.
how much does it cost to get a celeb? Well, that varies and the first
thing you've got to make sure of is you are dealing with a "sane celebrity."
And trust me, they're sort of rare. You know, it takes a lot of people
to make a hit movie or TV show. It takes writers, cameramen, electricians,
directors, producers, lighting technicians and a whole host of others.
However, there are many "insane" celebrities who believe the sun rises
and sets on their silly asses and and they are the sole reason
for a production's success.
as Marlon Brando once said, "An actor is a guy who, if you ain't talking
about him, he ain't listening."
as Gary Halbert says, "Don't let any agent or celebrity B.S. you into
believing you have to pay megabucks to get the credentialing you need.
besides, paying megabucks for all that celebrity firepower doesn't
guarantee you anything. A case in point: Last year a major player
in cable TV produced a show designed to sell water purifiers and they
used Michael Landon and a bunch of other stars. I hear by the grapevine
the show cost $250,000 and it flopped so bad it was like it never
what's the tragedy? It's simply that they could have produced that
show for less than 20% of what they paid and still used stars with
enough "marquee value" to give them all the credentialing they needed.
the way, did you know fewer than 1% of all the actors and actresses
in the entire world can support themselves solely via their chosen
profession? It's true, most of them (even many well-known ones) have
a second job or another source of income.
I'm saying is this: You can get a lot of "sane" celebrities for $10,000
or less, especially if you offer a "carrot" to sweeten the deal such
as a nice bonus if the test campaign works or maybe a percentage of
let's talk about how you go about approaching a celebrity. Well, the
worst way I can think of is to telephone his or her agent. Agents
are scum. As a general rule, I'd rank them somewhere just above lawyers
and slightly below ax murderers. Agents, I believe, probably kill
more deals for their clients than they make!
take a star who's starving, who hasn't worked in six years, who would
be eager to make a fair buck being featured in a marketing campaign...
and... if you call his agent...
Quote You A Fee So Outlandish
You'll Think You Asked Him The
Price Of A Studio, Not Of A Star!
you'll say forget the whole thing... and...
Star Will Never Know The
Conversation Took Place!
know this: If you submit an offer in writing, the agent is compelled
by the "ethics" of his profession to pass that offer on to his client!
the specifics: If you are interested in hiring a celebrity, the first
think you should do is to get yourself a copy of the...
The price of this directory
is $65.00 and it is updated every four months. It is published by,
and you order it from:
Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90211
Telephone (213) 278-8990
directory comes in four volumes and each of those volumes features
8 to 10 celebrities per page. The celebrities are categorized by LEADING
WOMEN, INGÉNUES, LEADING MEN, YOUNGER LEADING MEN, CHARACTERS AND
COMEDIENNES, CHILDREN GIRLS AND CHILDREN BOYS. All in all, the set
I have (May, 1987) has about 15,840 actors and actresses. Now, before
you get intimidated by the idea of contracting these people, consider
Than 200 Of The 15,000+ People In
The Academy Players Directory Earn Enough From
Acting To Pay The Rent!
there. Now, the directory has a picture of each actor and actress,
it tells you the name and phone number of the talent agency that represents
them, and, in many cases, the phone number of their "commercial" agency,
plus the name and number of their personal manager plus...
Number Of Their Answering Service
Where You Can Leave Messages For Them!
Haa! You're starting to get the picture, aren't you? Yea verily, what
you do is you leaf through the directory till you find someone you'd
like to work with and then you make a written offer rather
Dear Celebrity-Type Person,
I am writing to you in care of your agency because I
would like to use you in an advertising campaign.
My budget for the test campaign allows me
to pay you an immediate $10,000 (Note: This will take about 30-minutes
work on your part) and, if the test campaign is successful, I am
prepared to pay you a royalty on sales which could amount to several
hundred thousand dollars.
Also, I am working against a deadline and I need
to hear from you within the next week. Therefore, because of the time
pressure on me, I am sending a copy of this letter to your personal
manager, your talent agency and I am leaving this message verbally
with your answering service.
me, my friend, that message will get through.
the way, you should especially consider using some "star power"
if you do a lot of business by direct mail since a letter from a star
(with his picture on the letterhead) will give you a huge advantage
over your competitors!
last thought: What if you want to use one of those rare (1 in 100,000,000)
pictures of people who are so incredibly good looking they
divert attention from your message? Well, in that case, don't put
the picture on the letterhead. No, that would be unkind. Use the picture
down by the signature so your reader won't see it and be dazzled by
it until he's finished reading your message.
Gary C. Halbert
P.S. By the way, if you'd like to see Geoffrey
Scott,(a celebrity who can pay the rent and is "sane"
anyway and a genuine nice guy), you don't have to go through
any hassle at all; just call me!
Two other sources of celebrities for promotions are Ingels,
Inc., 8111 Beverly Boulevard, Suite 308,Los Angeles, CA 90048
(213) 852-0300 and Don Camp(213) 281-6970.
P.P.S. When you use celebs like Raven and Geoff, you also get
the "reflected glory" of all their credits because you
can legitimately mention in your copy all the magazines
(Playboy, Vogue, etc.) and the TV shows ("Dynasty",
etc.)and movies and stuff they've been in. More credentialing!
The Players Directory
is no longer associate with the Academy but the book is still
being published in a print and e-book version.
The ebook is really an online directory you get access to for
6 months and sells for $50.
The physical book is $75.
Obviously the online version would be updated more often but
the print version would still be useful after 6 months.
You can find it here:
Interestingly, the first actor I recognized when looking at
their old sample page was Ernest Borgnine for whom my father
and I both had a lot of respect for. May he rest in peace.
Also, as I mentioned above, this letter was written around
the time our father wrote a record breaking promotion in which
he used Geoffrey Scott and...
Kevin and I just finished breaking down that ad to explain
all the hidden psychology and unique tactics our father used
in that particular ad.
If you would like to hear more about that masterpiece ad and
know what was going on behind the scenes, you can listen to
a free interview we did with two of the key people who, through
some very unorthodox ways, made this super powerful ad campaign
into the multi-million dollar blockbuster it became.
Just visit: http://halbertising.com/gary-halbert-ad-breakdown-berry-trim-10/
All the best,
Bond & Kevin
Copyright © 2003 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights