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  • Writer's pictureDavid de Souza

Breakthrough Advertising: 80/20 Summary

Updated: Feb 9, 2022


Mental Models from the book:

'Breakthrough Advertising' can be summarised into 13 mental models:

1. Algorithms

  • After centuries of use and conditioning, these words, regardless of their truth carry weight and should be woven into your writing:

    1. It's as simple as

    2. Here's why...

    3. And, most important of all is the fact that

    4. Therefore...

    5. There is a basic underlying reason for this...

    6. They discovered in case after case that....

    7. This has been proven in thousands of studies

2. Association

  • Using the word "and+most important" as a joining phrase which implies the sentence after is similar to the one before.

3. Attentional Bias

  • The only job of your headline is to stop your customer and to compel her to read the second line.

  • Your st/age in the market determines your headline.

4. Authority

  • Use "experts have discovered" which continues the acceptance momentum.

5. Commitment & Consistency Bias

  • The Rule of Belief: "If you violate your prospect's established beliefs in the slightest degree nothing you promise him, no matter how appealing, can save your ad."

6. Desire

  • "People don't change: only the direction of their desires do."

  • Desires can be: Physical (strong), Material (car), Sensual (thirst for a cold beer).

  • Their beliefs may be shallow or profound, valid or false, logical or wishful thinking. It is not your job to argue with them.

7. Emotions

  • The job of the copywriter is not to create desire but to channel and direct it by taking hopes, dreams, fears and desires.

7.1 Emotions: Fear

  • Don't build better mousetraps. Build larger mice (or the perception that they are big). Build a fear of mice in your customers.

8. Evolution: Adaptation

  • Build a bridge between what your reader currently believes and what you want them to believe. Build up using their kind of logic, not your own.

9. Momentum

  • Use common symptoms that allow for a stream of "yes" answers.

10. Status

  • Make them feel like the prestigious group that owns the product.

11. Trust

  • To strengthen believability use an inclusion question.

12. The Ikea Effect

  • "Your prospect must identify with your headline before he can buy from it. It must be his headline, his problem, his state of mind at that particular moment".

13. Vividness Bias

  • Sharpen desire by allowing the reader to see it, feel it, touch it, sit in it, imagine their friends talking about it.

  • Use mental imagery through verbalization which will do 3 things:

    1. Renew the claim by making it fresh again: highlight it from a different angle or use an example.

    2. Intrigue the reader and pull them in by promising information, a partial payoff/open loop.

    3. Strengthen the claim by measuring it or making it more vivid.


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