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Kevin Francis


I enjoyed this crit. It's interesting to get your take on what is a very successful letter. I have wondered about the lack of a headline (there's the same issue with the American Express "Quite frankly..." letter).

As always, it's your insights into the buyer psychology that I find most valuable. I guess the primary motivations apply across all groups with some subtle differences!

As an aside, be interesting to see if there's any great change to the marketing approach of WSJ now Rupert Murdoch is the new owner.

Thanks for an interesting and informative critique.

Kevin Francis

Richard Geller

Hi Peter, I love your observations -- "Paste the WSJ on your forehead and you will get to the president's office" indeed!

You pointed out how this is busop copy...

What is interesting about this letter also, with its no-headline, is that it takes "the creative gamble" (Eugene Schwartz's term). You have to read a few paragraphs into it before its significance becomes clear.

We are usually taught that the headline must get you to read the first sentence which must be so compelling that you read the second sentence.

This turns that on its head, doesn't it?

No promises at all in the beginning. Who would have thought it?


Peter Stone


Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. The same goes for others. Something's amiss in my email notification... Nothing intentional...

Regarding your comment about Rupert Murdoch -- brilliant insight.

As always, thanks for you guidance.


Peter Stone


Yes, this turns my entire understanding of the letter around. For instance, I've never noticed the bus-opp copy, until reading it aloud.



Great insight. I've read this before and missed the biz op angle.

Copywriter :: Peter Stone


Thanks for your comment. It took me by surprise, too.


Swans Paul

Dear Peter:

In one of your posts you talked about swipes.

Would it possible for you to analyze the original print ad which Martin Conroy might have used as "inspiration"

I believe that original print ad was written by Bruce Barton.

If you don't have copy of the ad, I can scan it for you. This ad is found in a book called Advertising Copy by George Burton Hotchkiss.

I am sure other readers of your blog would greatly appreciate your masterly compare-and-contrast of Barton's ad and Conroy's ad.

Will you do it, if I sent you a copy of Bruce Barton's ad which starts like this: "

Headline: "The Story Of Two Men Who Found in The Civil War"

Lead: "From a certain little town in Massachusetts two men went to the Civil War. Each of them had enjoyed the same educational advantage, and so far as anyone could judge, their prospects for success were equally good...."

Do you want to see the rest? Will you do us the favor of your insightful analysis?

Swans G Paul

Copywriter :: Peter Stone

Dear Swans:

I'm honored by your request and I'd be delighted to accommodate you with only a hope of satisfying your desire for increased erudition.

Yes, if it's not too much trouble, would you, please send a scan of Mr. Barton's version of the ad in question to me at, peterstonecopy [AT] gmail.com.

Please include your name in the subject line, so I can keep an eye out for it.

And many thanks for your kind comments and for you request, Swans.


Andrew Cavanagh

There are 3 things I like about the Wall Street Journal letter:

1. The letter opens with an interesting story (and the story dramatizes why you should subscribe to the journal).

2. The letter is persuasive but low key. This is especially important given the demographic you mention.

3. The P.S. is a wonderful incentive..."It's important to note that The Journal's subscription price may be tax deductible."

Kindest regards,
Andrew Cavanagh

Andrew Cavanagh

You can see a copy of Bruce Barton's original Civil War letter (the swipe for the Wall Street Journal Letter) at the link in my signature below.

Kindest regards,
Andrew Cavanagh

Copywriter :: Peter Stone


Thank you for both contributions; your comments and the letter I've been looking for.

Much appreciated.


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