It even appeared in the conservative financial publication, “Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly.”
It’s a little high brow yet at its core, it’s a business opportunity ad.
You can click on the thumbnail to the left for a fully readable PDF of the ad but if you do nothing else, put this one into your headline swipe file.
Few could package a giant (often bordering on an unbelievable) promise into an irresistible read like Eugene Schwartz.
The “Do you have the courage…” preamble really adds topspin to the claim.
Imagine running across a headline today that reads: “Now You Can Earn a Half Million Dollars a Year.”
Even for the average white collar worker reading Barron’s, this is hard to swallow.
Now, imagine encountering this ad in 1967. That year, $500 thousand was worth over $3 million in 2010 dollars.
The claim seems nuts.
Yet this ad had a ton of insertions over the course of several years.
Were people just gullible in the 1960’s?
The beauty of “Do You Have the Courage to Earn a Half Million Dollars a Year?” verses “Now You Can Earn a Half Million Dollars a Year” is it deflects the attention from the claim to an internal quality in the reader. The headline is then paid off perfectly with the qualification process spelled out in the body copy.
This is one of those evergreen headlines that’s very customizable today. The real beauty of it is it’s still virgin swipe material for use online.
Unlike the now nauseating “Who else wants?” headline which mindless marketers continue to ape, this is the kind of headline that can add a jolt of power to your promotions and make them stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Yes, there are a few dated elements to the ad like the exclusive use of masculine pronouns but Gene’s copy is timeless.
Here are the lapel grabbing fourth and fifth paragraphs of the ad.
And above all, [for the kind of man] who is willing to accept the responsibility for other men’s futures, the loneliness that always surrounds the person in command, and the envy and hostility that will plague him for the rest of his life.
Do you have the courage to reach out for this kind of life? To accept its incredible rewards and incredible hazards? If you do, read on. If you don’t, consider yourself lucky and turn the page — there is nothing left in this ad that will make an iota of sense to you.