February 27, 2022

Those of you who have been reading these blog posts for any length of time know that I often quote (and refer to) Gene Schwartz…and for good reason. 

Not just as a copywriter or a marketer…but as a true Renaissance man. 

This week, while working on a new book based on Gene’s classic tome, Breakthrough AdvertisingI thought more deeply about Gene and his contribution to our industry. 

Why am I so obsessed with getting as much of his wisdom as possible to a new generation of marketers and copywriters? 

Because Gene, through his writing (and how he lived his life), left us much more than excellent theories and new ways of thinking about marketing and copy. 

Yes, he left us all that…but he also created a doorway for everyone who comes in contact with his work to become a “Market-Maker.” 

Here’s what I mean… 

Actually, I’ll let Gene explain it to you:

As you may know, all of us – no matter what official designation we give the industry we do business in – are actually on a deeper level, in exactly the same profession.

We are all simply creating markets for our products.

When the market is born, our business is simultaneously given birth.

When it grows so does our share of it.

When it is mature, our sales charts develop their first aches and pains.

And at that point, if we can develop a fresh new market for that old product, it is exactly as if we enabled that product to drink from the proverbial ‘Fountain of Youth.’

There is a way to develop an entirely new market for a new or an old product. That way involves a certain number of clearly-defined steps. And in this book (Breakthrough Advertising) I show you every single one of those steps.

We are, in a single phrase, Market-Makers.”  

Gene wrote the above as part of the original preface to Breakthrough Advertising. 

Step one is understanding this truth, as Gene did, as do so many students of Breakthrough Advertising, that you are much more than just a “copywriter” or “direct marketer.” 

Following Gene’s lead and theories, you become someone much larger and potent, with new capabilities… someone who understands how to develop a market around a product or service. 

And when you do that, an entire new world (and doorway) opens up for you.  

Back to this new book I’m working on with my marketing partner Chris Mason…which speaks to the “how” to do all of this. 

I referred to Breakthrough Advertising as a “tome” above …and for fear of mislabeling his masterpiece, I went to The Google for a definition of the term…which is…

…a large academic book. An example of a tome is a very complex, complete physics textbook. A large or scholarly book. 

And used in a sentence:

The professor pulled a dusty old tome from the bookshelf.

Breakthrough Advertising is not large (in pages that is…just large in impact), and it is not academic or scholarly in a traditional sense (it’s far from a physics textbook). 

But it is very complex…and dare I say, far more meaningful than many other “tomes.” 

And if you have a copy on your bookshelf collecting dust, shame on you. 

The fear of the book collecting dust on anyone’s shelf is the reason for this new book…to help people who buy the book apply it to their businesses…making it a working asset rather than simply an expense. 

As someone who worked directly with Gene Schwartz, I feel like I understood much of what made him tick; and I’ve read almost everything he ever wrote. 

However, he still remains a mystery to me in so many ways. 

Especially when I read (and re-read) Breakthrough Advertising. He was scary smart. 

Those “mysteries” were something I had in common with my marketing partner, Chris Mason…and because Chris made it his mission to help us both solve some of those mysteries, he began to study Gene at a much deeper level (as I had for over 40 years). 

The result of all of that research has led to a new book—not published yet but we are close—with the working title of “The Breakthrough Advertising Study Guide” (”BASG” for short). 

Today I want to tell you the “why” of this book…and the “what” of it too. 

And those who eventually buy it, will get the “how” (to be a Market-Maker). 

I also have a request of you today: 

We need a better title. 

Since so many of you are owners, readers, fans of Breakthrough Advertising, who better to ask? 

But first, let me tell you more about the why and the what of the BASG. 

The first time I was exposed to Breakthrough Advertising, I knew it was a book like no other. 

Upon securing the rights to bring this masterpiece back to life (with Gene’s wife Barbara) I also knew that I needed to create other materials and resources (e.g., courses, workbooks, seminars and more) to help a new generation of copywriters, marketers (i.e., “behavioral scientists”), understand this dense and game changing volume at its core. 

And to grow a new generation of “Market-Makers.” 

The BASG, which will probably be close to 300 pages, spiral bound, is on the verge of being one of those resources…and I’m really excited about it. 

Our goal in creating the BASG is to provide readers (and users) of the book with practical exercises they can use to make the promises found in Breakthrough Advertising ring true for their businesses. 

This brief introduction will walk you through what’s inside the BASG. 

In part one, there is a summary of each chapter of Breakthrough Advertising followed by an “Exercise and Application” section. 

These exercises are specifically designed to help you implement the ideas discussed in each chapter. 

They provide clear cut, tactical steps you can use to practice Gene’s methodology…and genius. 

Many of the exercises include links to worksheets you can use to practice the concepts Gene teaches in the book. 

Buyers and readers of the BASG will also have access online to demonstration videos for many of the exercises. 

The demonstration videos will show you how to do some of the exercises in case it’s helpful to see them in action.  

There will also be space to do many of the exercises directly in the BASG if you choose to do them that way.

Yes! You’ll have our permission to write in this book if that is your preference. 🙂 

To that end, some of the chapters have “fill in the blank” exercises to help you retain many of the key concepts. 

Many of these exercises were created as part of the Breakthrough Advertising QuickStart Bootcamp that we offer to buyers of Breakthrough Advertising throughout the year. 

The Bootcamp is yet another one of those aforementioned resources we felt it was our duty to develop as a companion to the book. 

If you are interested in finding out when the next “BA Bootcamp” will take place, see the P.S. 

In part two of the study guide, we will have almost every ad mentioned in Breakthrough Advertising, approximately 150 of them, on full display in living color and indexed for easy reference. 

We even have different versions of the same ads so you can see the changes that were made when the book discusses those changes. 

The ads were a gift from a young Brazilian copywriter named Luis Flavio Nunes, a student of Breakthrough Advertising of the highest order and one of the buyers who illustrates the global impact of this special book. I am so grateful for his contribution. 

We’ve sold thousands of books in over 50 countries…and we now want to go deeper into the wisdom of this book with those who have bought it from us. 

For those of you who own the book, you have noted that Gene refers to ads as examples when he discusses things like states of awareness and levels of sophistication…but he only gives you the words from those ads…but we felt we could honor Gene by adding the pictures. 

Knowing Gene as I did, I know he’d appreciate the effort we have made to compile these ads…with a huge assist from our Brazilian secret weapon, Luis. 

As often as possible, Gene, with his own copy, wrote words that enabled the reader to paint pictures in their mind …which then made the words permanently indelible in their mind. 

Gene eventually wrote another masterpiece which talks about this phenomenon of reading in pictures which is titled, The Brilliance Breakthrough. 

And the subtitle says it all:

How To Talk And Write So That People Will Never Forget You. 

People will never forget you if you create a picture for them of everything you speak and type. 

This second “tome” is yet another valuable resource in understanding the genius of Gene Schwartz. 

You can read about this “previously lost classic,” and the story of how it was brought back to life, in my post, “Grammar is overrated”

That post includes the new foreword I wrote for the Titans Marketing edition of The Brilliance Breakthrough. 

And in “Reading pictures,” I included an insightful podcast from copywriter coach extraordinaire, David Garfinkel, which gets to the essence of this idea of words creating images…and much more about this landmark book. 

You can purchase The Brilliance Breakthrough here

I never saw it as a “sister book” to Breakthrough Advertising…until now. 

But I digress… 

Part Two of the BASG gives you a unique opportunity to look up any ad mentioned by the chapter and page number it was mentioned in Breakthrough Advertising…and see exactly what it looked like when it was published. 

There are many classic and rare ads…mostly from the 1950’s and 1960’s…when “Mad Men” ruled the advertising landscape. One of those Mad Men was Gene himself. 

With the exception of a few hard-to-find ads, we’ve done this for every ad mentioned in Breakthrough Advertising

Gene would be proud. 

We’ve also tried to let you know which ads were commonly attributed to Gene’s pen and brain…many of the ads are ads he wrote and made a lot of money using. 

Regardless, they are all written promotions Gene admired for their “brilliance” …and the “breakthrough” concepts they represented. 

This Breakthrough Advertising Study Guide (still a mouthful…help with a title please!) …as well as the Breakthrough Advertising Bootcamps…along with swipe files and interviews with Gene and his students…and the re- publishing ofThe Brilliance Breakthrough…all represent the responsibility we have taken on to continue the lessons of Breakthrough Advertising…and the legacy of one of the greatest creative minds of all time, Eugene M. Schwartz. 

Hopefully you at least have a copy of the book already…and you’ve pulled it off the shelf many times during the year…with no opportunity for it to collect any more dust. 

If you don’t have a copy, what are you waiting for? 

Snatch one up here. 

It’s hardcover and hot off the press (we just received our fifth printing at our warehouse). 

It’s the word-for-word manuscript of the original 1966 edition…which is still 100% relevant today…with a new afterword by me and a few of Gene’s best performing ads in an appendix…but wait until the BASG comes out for 150 more. 

Please send me your suggestions for a title for the BASG…and any additional ideas to improve the BASG (it’s still in process and changes can be made). 

And any other experiences you’ve had with the book that has helped your business in any way. I will consider publishing some of those experiences in future blog posts. 

And anyone who responds to this email with a title suggestion for the BASG…or a suggestion for the BASG that we consider using…or a successful “case history” of how Breakthrough Advertising has changed your business…we will send you a hard copy of the 300 page BASG when it is published. 

Consider it an ethical bribe. 🙂 

Here’s to breakthroughs and brilliance in everything you touch today…and always.   



P.S. The next Breakthrough Advertising QuickStart Bootcampwill begin on April 5th

You will be hearing more about it in the coming weeks but click here to get on the early alert list when we open the doors so you will be guaranteed a seat. 

The last two BA Bootcamps sold out since we limit the seats for more hands-on training, with hot seats and “ask us anything calls” sprinkled in. 

It’s a 2-week sprint through the book, interacting live (on Zoom) with as many as 60 of your peers…marketers, copywriters and curious entrepreneurs…all behavioral scientists…with me and Chris Mason acting as your guides. 

With BA, the BASG and the BA Bootcamp, you will be off and running to share your mission or vision with the world…with influence and power.   

P.P.S. But I need a better name for the BASG…

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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