Who am I?
I’m a direct response addict, advertiser and archivist.
A hopeless bibliophile, history buff, linguistic dilettante, gym rat and dad. The young’uns often rib me about being a boomer. I’m not!
Now a semi-sane teetotaler and a pretty pious Roman Catholic (when not sinning). 1890 ELO rating in chess. Former governor of the storied Marshall Chess Club in New York. So was advertising legend Rosser Reeves, who was a strong master — he has me trounced in both advertising and chess.
I’ve been fortunate to have met and worked with hundreds of fantastic marketers, copywriters and business builders from around the globe.
I’m still captivated by all facets of direct response, but particularly the old school of direct mail and print. I’ve spent over a million bucks on subscriptions and products to keep my name (and aliases!) seeded on direct mail lists.
As for print, even this last chapter of newspaper print in the States fascinates me and offers plenty of overlooked opportunities for the right advertisers.
The pandemic, shutdowns and massive riptide across ALL industries is a challenge of everyone’s marketing mettle — and beyond that, spiritual fortitude.
I subscribe to Solzhenitsyn’s assessment of the West as a throne to Godless decadence. We’re deep into the 9th inning of that ballgame, in this humble junque mail archivist’s view.
What’s going on in the major American cities in mid-2020 is likely just a taste of what’s to come in November — no matter who wins the election. Copywriters, break out your prepper pitches!
Of course, just as I patted myself on the back for moving out to cactus country, after the civil unrest broke out in Manhattan, a hundred thousand acre fire, the size of the country of Andorra, broke out in my backyard!
Man plans and God laughs.
World’s biggest block party or Great Depression of 2020?
What will New Year’s Day of 2021 look like?
As Bohr said, prediction about the future is damn difficult.
Second-quarter GDP collapsed at a calamitous 33%! It’s hard to wrap the mind around a figure like that.
Sure, Wall Street is booming, but Main Street is HURTING big time.
Anecdotally, the economic suffering is intense for many: waiters who’ve been out of work for five months, swimming coaches who’ve been furloughed and house cleaners who haven’t touched a mop in a customer’s home since March.
The manager of my local hair salon told me business is down 50% since this time last year. Life was good in 2019, now she’s looking for a second job.
One of Buffett’s favorite quotes describes our world today: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”
There are huge swaths of humanity swimming naked and even more rudderless at sea. They need our help because things are likley to get worse.
But as the Good Book states 365 times — once for every day of the year — “Be not afraid!”
It’s important to keep in mind there’s ALWAYS opportunity, no matter what’s going on in the world or the economy. Sometimes that’s doubly so in down markets, especially when you’ve got the bandage for a bleeding neck.
I remain an eternal optimist.
Yours for bolder response,
(Toll-free 24 hour hotline in North America)
Some comments from colleagues, clients and friends
bribed asked(!) for a blurb
“There are few who can hold a candle to Lawrence Bernstein when it comes to knowledge of direct mail and print advertising, past and present. I turn to him for one reason and one reason only — because he’s a walking encyclopedia. His input has helped me with significant customer events.”
(Perry Marshall, The man’s got a Wiki page.)
“From zero to $20 million in two years… at 25 years of age”
(João Eduardo de Campos, Brazilian direct response entrepreneur)
“Looking for BIG IDEAS that could catapult your copy (and your royalties) into the big leagues?
Lawrence has always been my GO-TO guy for finding direct response blockbusters (recent and back to the beginning of time)…
… that light up the neural pathways, and spark connections and ideas I would have never considered otherwise.
Ad Money Machine is aptly named – a resource no self-respecting direct response copywriter can live without!
(Kelvin Parker, Kelvin Parker, Direct Response Copywriter, CustomerTriggeredPersuasion.com)
“Lawrence. The truth is I lied ! A few days ago when I messaged you that I had already made the price of admission (7500usd) by just reading half of your direct mail masterpiece well let’s just say it was 10 times that. I thank the Lord for having rediscovered you again.”
(Peter Nicholas, Australian serial entrepreneur and world beating health & beauty brand builder)
“Thanks to your guidance, my business is booming. I literally have more clients than I can handle.”
(Financial copywriter, (Awaiting permission to use his name.)
“I love receiving packages from you. You’re like a Direct-Response Santa.”
(Dr. Karl Blanks, Chairman and Co-Founder of Conversion Rate Experts with clients including: GE, Lloyds, Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Sony, Vodafone and PayPal)
“If I told you how many times I made my investment back I would lose all credibility.
Lawrence, I really have to thank you for your very clever and powerful marketing tool. The tool responsible for our surge in sales!
Every company — direct response or not — should get their hands on it. If you don’t make at least 25 times or more on your investment I don’t think you opened the package and followed the step by step instructions.
(Direct response founder, Anonymous)
“God, Lawrence, I really appreciate your stuff, so here’s a testimonial:
If you want to succeed gloriously in this business (assuming you have any talent, of course) sit down for a month and read, learn and practice the principles you unearth in this treasury of great stuff. Marvelous!”
(Drayton Bird, Direct marketing legend, London)
“You’re one crazy dude to do all this work, but until you get therapy, I’ll take advantage of it with glee!”
(Dr. Jack Booman, Leading Chiro copywriter, Spring Grove, Minn.)
“As a marketing enthusiast and dedicated student of the craft, I’m constantly searching for valuable insight and information. And once I found YOU (many years ago) I felt like I had finally found what I was looking for.
I was right.
Since that day, EVERY marketing strategy, sales system, retention model, acquisition model, process, advertisement, etc., that I have executed started with FIRST referencing one or more elements from you, your website, or your partners. From my own house ads to ads for my clients, the foundation of everything I have done began with listening to your teachings, or the teachings of those that you reference/endorse. Dead or alive.
I now own and operate a successful digital ad agency with over 50 employees (give or take a few employees depending on economics 😉 and feel as though I owe you more than a bit of gratitude for my success.
(Digital agency founder, received 1/7/14, prefers anonymity)
“I get loads of emails from online marketers looking to sell me stuff to improve my marketing, but I trust Lawrence to deliver quality every time.”
(Jamie Sylvian, London)
“By the way, Lawrence, I should thank you directly…
Back in early November, Michael Masterson and I gave a speech at the AWAI Copy Bootcamp in Delray that dealt, in part, with the value of focusing on one theme rather than many in headlines and leads.
And the example I threw into our Powerpoint came directly from your website (attributed) where you compared two products for better vision. Naturally, I don’t remember much about the convoluted example. But the better version came from Gene S., “Your Eyes Can Heal Themselves…”
I don’t know where you find this stuff, but the examples were invaluable at making a strong point quickly.
I hope some of the 300-400 people present took my advice during the talk and went looking for your site.”
(John Forde, A-List copywriter and Parisian)
“Lawrence is the world’s greatest direct response researcher.”
(Gary Bencivenga, Copywriting legend)
This is REALLY GOOD STUFF! Also, GREATLY, appreciate the fact that you blew up the examples and published them in a Tabloid format.
Not everyone would go to the expense of doing that, but its the BEST way to see these examples. Thanks, AGAIN, for making this course available.
(Real estate marketing guru, Name withheld)
“Your manual has been instrumental in me writing an ad that generated over $20,000 in just two weeks, so cudos to you Lawrence.”
Dr. Ivan Carney, Temecula, CA
“My jaw is literally black and blue from hitting the floor over and over again as I got to see the techniques you’ve uncovered. I never dreamed many of these things were even possible, let alone how easy you’ve made them. The word ‘miraculous’ comes to mind.”
(Ken McCarthy, System Seminar Founder)
“If you want to learn what it really takes to sell – well, every single thing he shows has a lesson. I got two ideas this morning for something I am working on, which is actually a get-rich-slowly-but-surely educational service for marketers.”
(Drayton Bird, David Ogilvy said of him: “Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world.”)
“I want to take a moment to thank you for providing these updates. You are one of those rare marketers who supports his customers LONG after the sale.
(Karl Barndt, Kuncketown, Penn.)
“I want to thank you very much for coming out to Paradise Valley. It was a great day together with you. We very much appreciate your deep knowledge, insight and love and passion for the history and present of our industry.”
(Norman Rentrop, Founder Rentrop Verlag and one of Europe’s biggest direct marketers)
“Lawrence, you are probably the most dedicated direct response scholar I’ve ever met.”
Tony Flores, Financial Copywriter and longtime #1 to Clayton Makepeace
“I think you’re a genius.”
(Christian Godefroy, European direct response legend)
“I saw you on the Gary Bencivenga retirement DVDs that I purchased. Great publicity for you.
I have to tell you, combining Gary’s wisdom with your swipe files is a lethal weapon.
Confidentially, because I’m not a braggart (in fact, you’re the first person I’ve told this to), my design partner and I have beaten A-list, world-class copywriting and design competition – 4 straight times. That’s how much I’ve benefited from–and appreciate – your material.”
(Rich Silver, Crow Moon Marketing, Dahlonega, GA )
“Brilliant examples, great commentary. This one just gave me an idea for a newsletter we’re about to launch that I think will hit large. I don’t know where you find this stuff, but I’m glad you do.”
(John Forde, Paris)
“If Lawrence has got a product for sale, you should get it!”
(Marty Edelston, Direct response legend and Founder of Boardroom Inc.)