North of Jewfish Creek
I have a confession to make.
But, don't get too excited. It's not much of a
"juicy" confession. Nothing about drugs, sex, rock
'n' roll or felonious misconduct.
Here it is: I've gotten into the habit of
writing my December newsletter on December 31 and, I start
writing it a short time before midnight. I did that again this
year but, after only a few minutes, I stopped writing.
You see, earlier in the evening, I had visited
with the father of my son's wife. His name is David Proval and
he played the vicious "Richie" character on the hit
T.V. series "The Sopranos." On the show, he was a
very believable 'scary mob guy.' In person, he's quiet,
soft-spoken and totally non-threatening. Obviously, he's a
very, very good actor. After visiting with him, I went with my
son and his wife to a party in Palos Verdes hosted by my
friend, Dave Kekich. Dave has a new woman in his life and, I
think they are going to get married.
Anyway, I left the party early so I could
compose my December newsletter before midnight. I went back to
La Reve (a great little, almost "secret" hotel in
Los Angeles) and started on it when I realized I couldn't
think of anything significant to write about. My thoughts
flickered back over the events of the past year. I had
"mind flashes" on stuff like the unbelievable and
mostly insane presidential election... all the people I had
known who were suffering mightily at the unmerciful hands of
fate... the immense joy I had playing with my new
granddaughter (Emma Rose) who is the most beautiful and happy
baby I've ever seen. There were a lot of incidents of note in
the year 2000 starting, of course, with the
"non-event" of the Y2K crisis, the demise and
bankruptcies of enumerable dot.com companies, etc. I found it
astonishing that Time magazine
selected George Bush as their "Person of the Year"
since his singularly outstanding achievement was the
successful theft of a presidential election.
Can you imagine such a man being elected
"Person of the Year"... and... the scientific team
who broke the genetic code (the most important achievement of
the 20th century) was not even mentioned?
Thinking of all this made me feel more like
sleeping than writing. So, that's what I did. That's why there
was not, nor will ever be, a December 2000 issue of The
Gary Halbert Letter.
But now, here it is January of a sparkling new
year with all of the promise of pleasure, profits and pain of
the coming twelve months that is laid out before us. Since
it's my job to help you with the profit part of that equation,
I thought I'd begin by giving you another lesson in
copywriting. This lesson is designed to jump start your
sluggish mind and multiply your income. Why didn't I write
about this particular topic before? It's very simple, I
forgot. Without further adieu, let us begin this lesson.
Here are 35 facts I bet you would have never
known, if you weren't reading this issue of my newsletter.
Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
There are more chickens than people in the world.
Two-thirds of the world's eggplant is grown in New
The longest one-syllable word in the English language
On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the
Parliament building is an American flag.
All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction"
are stuck on 4:20.
No word in the English language rhymes with month,
orange, silver, or purple.
"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends
in the letters "mt".
All 50 States are listed across the top of the Lincoln
Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.
Almonds are a member of the peach family.
Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a
Maine is the only State whose name is just one
There are only four words in the English language which
end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous,
The characters "Bert" and "Ernie"
on Sesame Street were named after "Bert the cop" and
"Ernie the taxi driver" in Frank Capra's
"It's a Wonderful Life."
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
In most advertisements, the time displayed on a watch
Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture
Los Angeles' full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra
Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula."
A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.
A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.
A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world.
In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to
The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by
a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
Mr. Rogers is an ordained minister.
The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.
There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.
"Stewardesses" is the longest word that is
typed with only the left hand.
Well, all that was interesting, wasn't it? But
so what? How can that help you make any money?
Let's take Interesting Fact #31, the one about
the guy inventing the microwave oven after his candy bar
melted when he walked by a radar tube. Obviously, that caused
him to have an "aha" experience which led to the
invention and sales of tens of millions of microwave ovens.
Today, I read something in the news and it gave me an
"aha" experience: A recent survey shows the number
one reason people purchase a camcorder is the birth of a new
child. It seems to me that nugget of information would open
all sorts of possibilities for people who sell camcorders.
First, they could get a mailing list of mothers-to-be or
brand-new mothers who recently gave birth to their babies.
They could solicit these specific mothers by direct mail with
an enticing reason to buy a camcorder from them.
Another possibility, is running headlines of
this nature: "K-Mart
Offers 50% Discount On Sony Camcorders To All Women Who Are
More Than Seven Months Pregnant."
Or, perhaps, a certain camcorder could be
"positioned" as a "baby cam" specifically
designed to record the adventures and events which occur as
your new child's life unfolds.
One thing I failed to emphasize when I wrote
so many copywriting "lessons" recently is... how
important it is to make your sales message interesting and
Let's take another look at those 35
Interesting Facts and see if there is any way we can use them
to start a sales letter or an ad that would capture a reader's
interest... and... allow us to smoothly segue into our main
By the way, if you are not familiar with the
word "segue" here is the dictionary definition, "to move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one state, condition,
situation or element to another." For our purposes, a
segue is simply a slick way of capturing someone's attention
which makes it possible for us to make a logical and seamless
transition to the really important message (why they should
buy something from us).
Shall we begin with Interesting Fact #3?
That's the one that says, "There are 293 ways to make
change for a dollar." We could put up a big sign in a
retail store and have a contest to see who would be the first
of our prospects or customers to come up with all 293 ways
listed on a piece of paper. The winner would get something
valuable, like a big screen, high-definition television set.
Then, the "losers" would all get a letter telling
them they didn't win the contest (but telling them who did)
and also informing them they have won a valuable second place
prize. Perhaps that valuable second place prize could be a
drastic reduction in the price of the television they were
competing for, justified by all the time and effort they put
into the contest. Perhaps the prize could be a waiver of any
down payment necessary for them to purchase the T.V. Whatever.
Now let's talk about Interesting Fact #34,
which is, "There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf
ball." Suppose we started a sales letter like this:
Did you know there are 336
dimples on a regulation golf ball? And guess what? It
is the material directly
beneath each of those dimples that determines how far
that golf ball will go when you hit it with a golf
club. Even though all regulation golf balls have 336
dimples, the material immediately beneath of those
dimples varies greatly from brand to brand.
Now, there is a brand new golf
ball that has a tiny circle of material called "Zoomonian"
beneath each dimple. Zoomonian has qualities found in
no other material. The main quality that makes it so
unique is... it retracts under pressure (like when
it's hit by a golf club)... but then... it "unretracts"
(snaps back to its regular size) faster than anything
else known to man.
What does this mean to you as
a golfer? Simply put, as soon as you hit one of these
new golf balls... before it has even gone three inches... the Zoomonian will have
already expanded back to its natural size. That
instantaneous action will send that golf ball
rocketing down the fairway as though it were propelled
by 336 tiny jet engines. Of course this means you will
have a significantly lower golf score the first time you use this
"miracle" golf ball.
Etc., etc., etc.
Our next example, using Interesting Fact #21
("Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur")
could begin with a message like this:
Did you know tigers have
striped skin and not just striped fur?
Isn't it unfortunate the same
is not true of human beings?
What I mean is, wouldn't it be
great if all crooks, thieves and scam artists had some
type of tattoo on their foreheads which identified
their true nature?
Unfortunately, the reality is,
many of the most immoral and unethical people on this
planet have gleaming-white, engaging smiles and
honest-looking, open and charming faces. They are also
dressed in expensive shirts, suits and shoes which
disguise their street-thug nature. All of this outside
appearance is to gain your confidence and to
camouflage their true objective... which is... to
pounce on you and bilk you out of your life savings.
There is a man just like that
lurking in your life and, if I weren't writing this
letter to you to tell you the truth about him, you
would probably be bankrupt by this time next year.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Continuing on with Interesting Fact #20 which states, "An ostrich's eye is bigger than its
brain," we might start our sales pitch with wording
similar to that on the following page:
Did you know ostriches have
eyes bigger than their brains?
Guess what else? So do 99% of
people who invest in the stock market.
These people watch CNBC, read
the "Wall Street Journal" and participate in
computer chat rooms... and... every time their eyes
process some type of
into their brains... they make incredibly bad
decisions and lose a healthy chunk of their
And they never learn.
Did you also know a goldfish
only has an attention span of three seconds? [Sidepoint:
This is Interesting Fact #26.] This also seems to be
true of many stock market investors. What I mean is,
they seem to have an inability to remember how often
they have already been bilked by MLM scams, new IPO
scams, 900# scams, and over-the-counter bulletin board
companies that have no reporting requirements which
can blithely make claims about the new technology they
have developed which will give your Cadillac 100 miles
to the gallon.
A goldfish is a very poor
learner. After all, if he forgets everything he's been
taught in just three seconds, how could he be expected
to master a simple fact that every time he eats one of
those green and purple-striped worms, he will get sick
to his stomach? He'll just eat the worm, get sick,
forget about it in three seconds, eat another of the
worms, get sick again, forget about it again, and
continue the process adinfinitum. So what? How does
any of this apply to you?
Well, if you're active in the
stock market, you are surely aware that 85% of all
dot.com companies have lost 70 to 95% of their value
in the last nine months. You know what the people who
lost their money in those companies are going to do?
They are going to forget (just like a goldfish) the
consequences of an under-analyzed opportunity...
and... they are again going to jump on another looney-tunes
bandwagon... and... again lose a healthy chunk of
their hard-earned money.
Here are seven ways to make
sure that doesn't happen to you:
1. Blah, blah, blah.
Finally, how about Interesting Fact #27? You
know, the one about a dime having 118 ridges on its outside.
We could open with something like the example on page 7:
As you can see, I have
scotch-taped a dime to the top of this letter.
I want you to remove that dime
from this letter and run your fingers around the edge
of it. Can you feel all those tiny, little
indentations? Not many people know it but, every dime
manufactured by the U.S. Mint has exactly 118 of these
Well, I bet right now you're
what? That's kind of interesting but, what's it got to
do with me?"
My friend, the fact that every
dime manufactured in America has exactly 118 ridges...
and... so few people know about it, has led to a
fascinating situation from which you can profit to the
tune of more than $15,000 per month!
Here's why: Yackety, yackety,
Okay, let's stop and take a breather. That
last example may seem a bit far fetched but, it is by taking
the handcuffs off your creativity that allows you to come up
with far fetched, insane, "crazy" ideas. And, many
of these ideas will spark other ideas that are actually
practical and doable in the real world. Can you write a
stimulating sales message built around the fact that
two-thirds of all the world's eggplant is grown in New Jersey?
[Interesting Fact #7.]
Or a captivating ad about a dragonfly who only
has a life span of 24 hours? [Interesting Fact #25.] Or that a
cat has 32 muscles in each ear? [Interesting Fact #19.] Or
that Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a
dance? [Interesting Fact #15.] Or that a giant squid has the
largest eyes in the world? [Interesting
Remember how I told you earlier in this
newsletter a survey revealed the birth of a child is the
number one reason for camcorder purchases? That's an
interesting fact, isn't it? And the way to incorporate that
particular "interesting fact" in a sales message is
a little more obvious than using the other "interesting
fact" instances I've given you in this newsletter. Just
beware... even if you are a skillful writer and are using the
more obvious "interesting facts" that does not
mean... your sales message will be more effective than...
using those less-than-obvious "interesting facts" to
seduce people to read your sales message.
Here's three more interesting facts I just
learned this morning:
Did you know online sales increased by 54% this holiday
season... despite the failure of 85% of dot.com companies?
It's true. Last year during the holiday season, U.S. consumers
spent 7 billion dollars purchasing goods and gifts online.
This year, holiday online purchases were 10.8 billion dollars.
By the way, the average purchase of those online
consumers was $304 worth of merchandise.
And, all of the online retailers who enjoyed profitable
holiday sales had the same thing in common. I could tell you
what it was but, I'm not going to. If this information would
be of interest to you, it would be a useful and instructional
exercise for you to do the research and find out the answer
Did you know cops have a database for laundry tags?
That's because sometimes, when they discover a dead person
with no identification, the laundry mark will help them
identify the body.
Did you know a product called "Dermaplec" is
an over-the-counter cosmetic that is the best product
available for hiding bruises? Therefore, every patrolman
called out to investigate a case of domestic abuse quickly
learns to check the couple's medicine cabinet for Dermaplec.
If this product is in the medicine cabinet, it's almost as
good as a confession by the husband that he beats his wife on
a regular basis.
That's it for this month. You know, I believe
the most important job a teacher has is to electrify
the minds of his students. Sure, you've got to give them
facts, methodologies and techniques... but... if you can raise
the level of their own curiosity and show them
"tricks" to jump start their thinking processes, I
believe you are doing something extremely priceless. That is
what I have tried to do here... to stimulate your minds to
elevate your own creativeness.
Unfortunately, many of my readers are so
dim-witted and mentally-retarded, I don't really have a chance
of getting through to them.
So why do I bother? I'm not sure. Maybe it's
because I'm pretty much a dumb ass myself.
Gary C. Halbert
friend Dan Kennedy has a killer seminar coming up in the near
future. If you are lucky enough to get an invitation to
attend, I have one single piece of advice for you:
Copyright © 2003 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights