Monday, March 30, 2009

Please. Thank you.

Impressive new glossy magazine seeks ads so it doesn't look like a single company paid for the whole magazine, which they did.

New Maxim-style magazine for pot growers is seeking edgy ads to fill ad spaces.

If you or a student has an ad too edgy for most publications... and you have all the rights and approvals in place, he'll print your ad and give you a dozen copies of his new glossy magazine.

The design house that designed Maxim is the designhouse my client hired... Sorry, I don't remember the name.

His company is the #1 provider of fertilizer for pot growers and his magazine will be like Maxim + High Times.

Lifestyle of rich entrepreneurs.

At WestWayne I remember a studio mgr who had an ad that showed mardi gras beads on the left and a diamond necklace on the right and the ad read: "Remember what she did for these, imagine what she'll do for these."


Go anything you want in print?

With gratitude,

benMackResearch (at)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Richard Lacy <>
to james, justin, me, uberulx
show details
2:34 am (1 minute ago)
Foward this as you see fit. mmm'kay?

Diversionary tactic.

When we do something there are no hard and fast rules as to why we do them. Although I am of the opinion that the why reveals itself in the how. For example, plenty of people go to Church not because they’re brainwashed but because of deep profound spiritual connection to the idea of a redeemer. An often quoted person once said ‘find the others’.

But this is just a diversionary tactic,. I’m an artist, damnity. I’m supposed to be incoherent. That ‘s the point . right now I’m writing a book. And I’m trying to make the ‘plot’ flow in some logical fashion. I’m trying to release information in a way that is compelling to the reader. And hopefully entertains. The first dogma of optimism is to be “yourself” , that’s the key, and all will magically work to your benefit. I’m starting to wonder.

There are many many conflicting –for the lack of a better term– voices in my skull. The foremost is a little paranoid and is easily discouraged by the most trivial set-back. The second is a raging boaster and knows I’m just ‘waiting’ for some big break, this guy isn’t afraid of shit and possibly makes me sleep-walk, my own veritable Tyler Durden. The third doesn’t think at all, it just acts it’s the one that sits down and writes and draws and conceptualizes, then there’s a forth one that’s in tune with the sub-strata of our conspiratorial reality the good and the bad parts, and a fifth voice that just cries. They all surface at various times of sobriety and inebriation. They all talk to each other, and oh yeah, they fight each other. Being aware of all this creates the 6th voice: the Årtist. Not to be confused with someone who writes or draws aesthetically. But more in line with Nietzsche’s Superman. Årtist is my own personal term indicating willful determination.

We’ll be writing a book the way we want to be read. One that isn’t easy to digest, one that will inform and entertain. It will be disturbing, tragic, insane and before you think these are just big promises I’ll just ask you to suspend all disbelief until the plane has landed. Because the seventh voice is an alien from a corporate sin galaxy, and if you have a hard time believing that… you won’t when you try the exercises in the BOOK.

The First Voice. Wants to say something. Being the most confused. Mostly because it IS all the voices. It understands everything but doesn’t know why. IT is the same voice scratching at your brain right now from the inky black depths struggling to be heard. It is the Hand of which your Head is merely a finger. A long time ago this hand was separated from it’s body and now floats in space waiting to find it’s twin and reattach itself to the arms of it’s original possessor. For some reason, I Talmadge, acknowledge this information while my brethren of the Human race do not. You have tasted the Aftermath 55 with my mouth and sung the sorrow. I am a super greasy cheeseburger rotting in your stomach. You must complete me in your digestion.

You must …BUY MY CULT.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Good Public Relations
will hold an audience

Can Public Relations save
the financially ruined,
37 year old Common Ground,
a coop in Brattleboro, VT?

I hired Dave Lakhani
to consult on the matter.

List to Dave's advice hear

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Harris: hey - don't forget to donate a product for IM Against Poverty --
me: THANK YOU! when's my deadline?
Harris:: thur
me:: awesome!
Harris:: and we're doing a no-squeeze page dealie -- just let us download and give the product to the customer
me:: can i do this...
may i use that?
Sent at 4:49 PM on Tuesday
me:: theater...
Harris:: may we just download the PDF and redistribute?
me:: Wow, Ben...

That is someone who "gets" you.

You need to heed that woman, my friend.

- Xxdy
P.S. Do you have a pic of her? [smile]
Just out of curiosity...
Harris:: then yes, of course.
me: sweet.
thank you.
Harris:: what's this 'theater' and 'woman' all about?
Sent at 4:51 PM on Tuesday
me:: here's what i replied... Andy, she's an
avatar. Liz Boswell
is a character I invented.

Get your ass on The BDL
and keep up, dude.

[nose wink]~

Here's your homework...

of course, i did this with CC'ing TK and Jodi... so he knows there's an audience
i probably shouldn't have just shared with you
... but they can't see the theatre
isn't Board Content COPYWRITING?
Sent at 4:54 PM on Tuesday
Harris:: all writing is 'copy' writing ... sure
(if you're a business - with your goal being sales)
me: most forum readers can't see that
Sent at 4:56 PM on Tuesday
me:: now, how do we profit from an insight like that?
not necessarily you as in Harris
we, i mean
Harris:: you mean We?
the royal We?
me:: exactly
Harris:: we write everything with the insight as to what purpose it sheds
subject line of an email = open me
email itself -- click on me
headline - read more
forum post = build the brand of me perhaps
me:: may i copy and paste this on my blog?
Harris:: fuck no
now you can
me:: ROFL.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

[Blaine, this is meant as a tribute to you and your magic. If this in anyway discomfits you then i won't email nor post it.]

subject: he said, "what i'm most scared of is...

"Integrity is the essence of everything successful."
--R. Buckminster Fuller

My Fellow Reader,

when i loose faith in the power of focus...

...the Universe has a way of sending me a message i can't ignore.

Just before JV Alert, i learned that a dear friend Blaine had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease.

not good is the kind of understatement that might help some people get angry

i don't mean to be dismissive of the severity of Hodgkin's Disease

my point is... How The Universe Reminds Me Of My Faith

I visited Blaine and his wife Tresha
last weekend, Friday to Sunday...

The fact that i'm writing about this now
is simply testament to how backed-up
my writing has been and how important
this story is that i have to document that
this stuff really happens


He had said
four separate times...
Blaine ==> "What i'm most scared of IS HITTING A DEER."

For a man with Hodgkin's I see him
as brave that his biggest fear
is Hitting a Deer.

Blaine and I went for a Sunday drive
in his Lotus. It is a sweet car that corners
like it is on rails and yet weighs as little
as possible--> we're in a fast but fragile car.

A fast and fragile car worked in the deer's favor.

We were heading home, just passing through
an intersection when a fawn leaped out
in front of Blaine's car.

The brakes screech,
we hit the deer.

I see the young deer
do a summersault
up-in-the-air and over
the front of the car.

Blaine is sobbing, having just manifested
his biggest fear.

He re-comports himself quickly and says...

"Let's get out and see if it's ok."

i said, "It isn't ok. And, let's get out and see
what we can do."

Blaine nodded.

what we saw astounded us...


Forgive me for going astray as i write
this... but i just got back from a smoke break
where i saw a deaf woman wearing a Tshirt
that read: "Stop Audism"

I love it.

This deaf woman walking down the street
of Brattleboro, Vermont was an XMan...

She is seeing her mutation as an advantage.

The person I moved to Brattleboro to mentor
is Tellman Knudson who had more wrong with
him growing up then most people could navigate.

Tellman discovered strategies for himself
to turn his weaknesses into strengths and
i see this in The XMen and in the deaf
woman who was just walking down
the street. The Universe gave us a hand
to play and she is playing it with panache.

Good for her!


...when we got out of Blaine's Lotus and looked
in the middle of the street there wasn't the carcass
i was expecting to see.


The road was empty and there was no blood.

Blaine spotted the fawn off the road on the side
of the small hill. Blaine pointed to the young deer.
She looked at us all doe eyed but alert.

She then popped-up on her feet and trotted-off.

She was fine.

Being with Blaine on that drive was inspiring.
I have never seen somebody face their worst fear
with more grace or panache.

I admire you Blaine.

I admire you in many ways.

Much LOVE to you and Tresha!

23 hugs.

Your friend,


Saturday, September 01, 2007

how often do you find
the right person?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sources of Learning: Articles & Publications
Bachman, Katy. “BrivicBriggs Media.” Media Plan of the Year. June 2002: SR30-SR32
Bennett, Ken. “A few fundamentals can make radio ads stick.” April 2000.
Bergman, Joan. “Radio: How to do it successfully.” Retail Ad Week. March/April 1995: 16-19
Brokaw, Leslie. “Living Up and Down the Dial.” INC Magazine. March 2003: 47-48
Cebrzynski, Gregg. “An ad really comes to life when it’s all in the mind.” Nation’s Restaurant News. May 1998: 22
Hedden, Jenny. “Sound Solutions: Radio puts you on the same wavelength as your customers.” Restaurants USA (National Restaurant Association). January 1996: 15-18
Herschell, Gordon Lewis. “How to Write Winning Radio Copy.” On the Art of Writing Copy. 2000: 231-241
“Hints for Effective Radio Advertising.” Retail Ad World. July 1999
Kapler, Robert. “No.13 Northwestern Mutual: Famed CBS radioman lends his voice to the quiet company.” FSM. January/February 2000: 26
Kattleman, Terry. “TalkIN’ Radio.” Creativity. May 1995: 18-20
Khan, Mickey Alam. “Radio Ads Spark Sales At California Dairy Site.” DM News. March 2003: 19-20
Miller, Darryl W. & Lawrence J. Marks. “Mental Imagery and Sound Effects in Radio Commercials.” Journal of Advertising. December 1992: 83-93
Murray & Neil Raphael. “Use your imagination… Use radio.” Progressive Grocer. July 1993: 13
Petrozzello, Donna. “The art of making radio spots sing.” Broadcasting & Cable. February 1996: 43-44
“Radio Advertising Used by Telecom Cos.” Radio Marketing Bureau Information. July 2003
Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab (RAEL) Research Compendium. February 2002.
Schulberg, Bob. “Creativity: Process and Product.” Radio Advertising: The Authoritative Handbook. January 1996: 109-128
Trout, Jack & Steve Rivkin. “Minds Work by Ear.” The New Positioning: The Latest on the World’s #1 Business Strategy. 1996: 101-109
Weinberger, Marc G. & Campbell, Leland & Brody, Beth. Effective Radio Advertising. 1994
Wes, Bill & Jim Conlan. Radio Advertising 101.5. 1999

Sunday, August 12, 2007

And boy, it was hard to find people to eat 23 with while the Age of Nixon rolled on.


You couldn't invent someone like Carl Lazlo. He was a... he was one of a kind. He was a mutant. A real heavyweight water buffalo type... who could chew his way through a concrete wall and spit out the other side covered with lime and chalk and look good in doing it.

Will you help me welcome...

allan forrest smith
depending on how we ask him depends on whether or not he comes.

i truly believe my generation is key.

The prodigy 9 year old preacher was wearing a Tshirt with this image...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hello Friends!

Want to be in an Internet reality TV show
about people making a million dollars online?

brought to you and executive produced by
NY Times Best Selling author Joel Comm.

Would you like to be one of 12 contestants?

Casting call is now open...

Are you either:
-> Lovable
-> Motivated by money
-> Geeky
-> Sexy, or
-> Controversial?

How might you add to the drama?

Get huge publicity worth thousands of
dollars, drive money making traffic while
you sleep because this show has A-List

enter now...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Julie Foster is the most beautiful girl I know.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spoon-bending Gellar had The Amazing Randi to debunk him...The Secret has debunkers Dave Lakhani and Blair Warren, and Captology has me, Ben Mack.

Captology = Stanford's center for Computers As Persuasive Technology, except they don't define computers or persuasion and they won't study the two most effective forms of online persuasion: Entrepreneurial and Psy Ops.

You can't run a respectable center about online persuasion and not reference the Zeigarnik Effect! That would be like saying you are the expert on Peanut Butter and you never mention jelly. That's an easy hole to fill-in. However, ignoring the largest data-base of online split-tests... Wait, ignoring is the wrong word because their director claims not to have heard of Michel Fortin. Not investigating the lead, not knowing it exists, that's lazy research. I'd invite a guest lecturer who has access to Fortin's data base.

I'm mad. They rejected an essay of mine because it wasn't academic enough. Being too academic is killing knowledge and many people along with its smugness. THE LARGEST DATA BASE OF ONLINE SPLIT TESTS IS NOT IN YOUR CONSIDERATION SET, your samples are miniscule.

Computers As Persuasive Technology is a broad subject, begging a definition of persuasive technology. Compounded in the notion or persuasive technology is our ability to identify persuasion. What if persuasion that looks like persuasion is really third-rate persuasion? With what certainty can we identify persuasive technology? If state-of-the-art persuasion is invisible to us, then what is it we’re studying?

A similar problem confronts criminology:
“However, for as long as criminology has been a field of study, it has always been haunted by the theory of ‘the competent criminal.’ For obvious reasons criminologists (and psychologists and socialogists, etc.) only study failed criminals—that is, those persons whose criminal acts led to their conviction and to punishment. If there is a group of people out there who commit crimes and are not caught and live happily ever after, then criminology is not a study of criminals but of incompetents, bumblers, fuckups and should instead be called fuckupology.”
--Larry Beinhart, Wag The Dog; pg 314

From a memetic perspective, the greatest threat to the survival of Captology is over-specialization. Evolution has shown us that isolated species that evolve a fit to a specific mirco-environment often don’t survive relative minor changes to their environment. Captology shows evidence of evolving away from both academia’s rhetorical analysis and academia’s advertising research, and even further away from influence as studied by practitioners of online persuasion. As the language of Captology becomes increasingly incompatible with other studies of influence, the insular effect may prove grave.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Good morning Ben,
I had the opportunity in the early '90's to work with a group of women
executives from HJ Heinz. One of the tools we developed together became
the SMART Goals model you cite...
Here is how it was originally envisioned...

S - Specific and Sense-able (I'll know it when I can see, hear, smell... it)
M - Meaningful and Measurable - the emphasis was on What's In It For Me
(WIIFM) - for both the accomplishment and non-accomplishment of the goal
A- Action Oriented, Actionable, Agreed Upon - The phrasing of the goal
needs to support and strongly suggest action - not just to the
individual - but to members of their support system - which makes Agreed
Upon so important...
R- Realistic and Reasonable - again focused as much on the support
system as the individual
T- Time Bound and Tangible - If the outcome aren't Sense-able -
Measurable = Tangible - how will anyone know they've been met

These ladies were part of a pre-emptive turnaround inside of Heinz -
they were the leaders of Weight Watchers...


Sunday, December 31, 2006

For the record, no harm was meant...

Damn intentions.

Brendan, would you mind writing an essay?

Chris Titan & Ben Mack

Friday, December 29, 2006

From: Ben Mack
To: "Mark Joyner" ,
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2005 23:09:11 -0420
Subject: Re: Thoughts on magic

Dear Mark,

Thank you for inviting me to contribute to your book. I am honored. But first, once again, you have created brilliance. In The Irresistible Offer you have simplified the essence of business, the offer and its acceptance. Wow! When I was a Senior Vice President at BBDO leading the strategy on Cingular, I wish I had thought of this simplicity, I would have been more effective.

I don’t think Business can be simplified further than you did in The Irresistible Offer: An offer and its acceptance. The simplicity of this insight will make many skeptical of its value. Those skeptics are wasting their time. Simplicity is a key to power because efficiency respects energy conservation. Waste leads to depletion. Mark, riddle me this, why do so many people enjoy wasting their time with skeptical thoughts? Can you answer me that?

You asked me about how I find thirsty audiences. I rely heavily on Google. I have Google alerts set for my name, my book’s title and proprietary words I use in my novel, Poker Without Cards. When I get one of these alerts, I know I have an advocate speaking to a forum that is likely to be populated with folks thirsty for my wares. Many times I make an appearance and field questions while I encourage them to share with others the benefits of reading my book.

Googling “Google tips” will retrieve a page of various applications within Google. I regularly search for folks linking to my pages. With this I find discussions that fell-through my alerts.

When I’m really hungry for thirsty minds, I go on amazon.con and and see what books people buying my book bought and then I use Google to find these thirsty minds and explain to them why my book has relevance to their interests. I have a very niche book, so I’m often scanning micro communities, either as myself or as an avatar. I never use my avatar identity unless a flame war breaks out. I’ve learned that all publicity is good. I was featured on and that coverage panning my book sold 50 books and another 800 downloaded my book for free.

To drum up drama online I had two blogs running that were fighting with each other. Ben Mack was in a vicious fight with Howard Campbell, a fight that was launched by a podcast with me obviously playing both characters. When there’s drama folks write about it. When they write about my drama I join their conversations to extend the conversation. Over 300,000 have downloaded my book for free. I’m laying the groundwork for my next book which won’t be available for free. The title of my next book is simply: 23. Poker Without Cards and freeBookWorthReading.doc explain exactly how 23 will be marketed.

I’ve been helping Steve Kaplan market his bestselling book Bag The Elephant. I have never met Mr. Kaplan, never emailed with him, never spoken with him on the phone. I imagine he has never heard my name. I don’t really care about Kaplan. But, his book marketer was somebody I wanted to learn from so I offered to help him for free so I could learn what he does. I offer to help folks I want to learn from. The help I give is with no expectation of immediate return other than what I learn in the process of helping. Magically, they wind up lending a hand when something appropriate comes along.

I’ve had a modicum of success with I write an essay and it is pulled as content for various sites. Then, I know that site is interested in my kind of content and I contact them directly. Most of the time I never hear anything back. This is to be expected. I have a rule of two queries and then I don’t contact them again for at least a month. I cover these details in a book entitled freeBookWorthReading.doc, a free book that is downloadable at my website Mark, your readers need to know that while I go into great detail explaining marketing, branding, idea dissemination and memetics, the beginning of freeBookWorthReading.doc work is unintelligible to most readers. Furthermore I use a traditional definition of memetics and not the Jay Levinson definition to which you refer in TIO. Readers who make their way through the homonym play and untraditional use of fonts will learn the exact tactics and strategies I have used. I know it is your rare reader that actually seeks to really work through your tactics so I’m sure this won’t matter.

Obviously, I’m not a best selling author, yet. But, I have a list of endorsements worthy of bragging and I explain exactly how I went about garnering these endorsements. Here are two that I’m proud of and I explain exactly how I get them. When was the last time you saw a book endorsed by Kurt Vonnegut? He just doesn’t endorse books as a rule because he doesn’t want to be barraged by requests. I explain exactly how I used Google Alerts and developed the relationship with Joe Petro III, a business partner of Kurt’s. By tracking Kurt, I was able to repeatedly have an excuse to drop Joe a note. Google News and Google Alerts facilitated the excuse for contact that built the relationship that allowed me to get the quote you read below:

“Ben Mack, Since you don't have the guts to be a homosexual, I'm glad that you are pissing off your parents by writing.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Cat’s Cradle/Slaughter House 5

Mark, I speculate that most of your readers will have no idea who this next guy is, but half my sales are probably due to the following quote. People consuming his words are my most thirsty audience. You studied with Robert Anton Wilson, so I know you respect his technology even if you don’t subscribe to all of his politics or mine. In freeBookWorthReading.doc I explain how I got this quote from a legend of mental gymnastics:

“Poker Without Cards is a consciousness thriller, combining natural philosophy with storytelling—the effect is like taking acid, only you never come down.”
Robert Anton Wilson
The Illuminatus! Trilogy/TSOG/Prometheus Rising

Changing topics--in The Irresistible Offer you write “The magic of marketing has to do with your own enthusiasm, belief, and confidence affecting your results…I can say with reasonable certainty that what you expect will have a significant impact on your business.” These words are evocative. I’d like to write about what these words mean to me. I’d like to write about magic and marketing.

I think magic deserves serious consideration but I fear that this topic may be inflammatory.

On the one hand, magic can be seen as tool of theatrics, a toolset that I have built for myself over the years. I started performing at The Magic Castle at the age of 14. At 19 The Academy of Magical Arts gave me an award that made me the youngest recipient in the history of the award. I get theatrical magic. But, I cannot fully articulate the magical frame of mind. I can say this: when an audience feels safe, respected and cared for, their minds loosen and their defenses drop. Deception created purely for personal gain is a con, but immersive realities manifested for the benefit of the audience may feel magical.

Ad copy can be magical. Good copy respects the audience’s values and sensibilities. Great copy communicates your love for your audience and their passions. You’ve help teach me that if you don’t love them, they won’t love you back, and it’s really expensive to go find new customers.

Magic is the act of facilitating an immersive experience, perhaps best encapsulated by the word phantasmagorical. Something is phantasmagorical when an audience transcends their skepticism and accepts a world where the laws of nature don’t have such a firm grasp on reality. In advertising, copy can become phantasmagorical when it is stoking the passions of a diehard fan, helping them envision driving a golf ball 300 yards or bringing them into a moment of sports history that they can recollect with vivid details.

When copy is transformative, you have magic. The German philosopher Hegel said that an art object is a catalyst to an altered state of consciousness. Great ad copy takes us someplace else. Magical ad copy approaches the sublime.

On the other hand, magic can be a scary word. Last week, I was moderating a focus group among nurses and hospital employees of a children’s hospital and the word “magic” came up and a participant asked that we not use that word because it made her uncomfortable.

I suggest you be careful when you use the word magic or any of its synonyms. To many, the word magic evokes a threat of eternal damnation. To these people, a magician is a spiritual terrorist, striking out to infect the unsuspecting. There are more people who hold this to be true than I imagined as I grew up performing magic. Occasionally, some audience member would want to talk to me and get me to repent and save my soul. I can’t quantify how many of these folks there are, what the incidence is, but the October 11, 2005 USA Today reported that 53% of Americans believe “God created human beings in their present form exactly as described in the Bible”. If you figure half of these folks see the word magic as demonic, that’s approximately ¼ of all Americans. So the word magic should be used with discretion. Shakespeare reminds us: the better half of valor is discretion.

So why discuss magic? There is real power in magic. And as Lord Of The Rings taught us, the one who controls the magic controls the world. Besides, the danger of magic can be exploited for marketing, and so discussing magic can be profitable. Early 20th Century magicians regularly employed images of demons and spirits on their promotional posters.

Besides, magic is real. Faith is powerful. A doctor in one of the groups mentioned above asked me if I knew what was the best predictor of success for patients about to have a critical surgery. I said no. He said the greatest predictor of success is the doctor’s expectation of a good result. He said that mystifies doctors and that most won’t discuss the studies that show that attitude has a physical manifestation on outcome, but he assured me these studies were real and had been adequately replicated to verify the findings.

I hold that prayer works. I also hold that the focus and intention is what works, not the specific phrases. I don’t believe that some words are cosmic triggers. Hocus Pocus is just theatrical dressing.

Stigmatisms blight magical inquiry of the theatrical, let alone the spiritual. Inquiry into the unexplained is limited. Psi search publications are more often a joke than a contribution to science.

Early scholars of magic and perception were persecuted and killed. If I had used the word executed there, it would have depicted a government sanctioned killing. If I had used the word murder, there would be an illicit connotation. Word choice effects how we process information. I see word choice as a form of magic since it can affect how we see things.

Words are powerful. Word choice is crucial. Scientology’s flagship book Dianetics is littered with big words because L. Ron Hubbard wanted to intimidate his reader. Hubbard drew on techniques that a perceptual scientist Aleister Crowley was developing. If you intimidate your reader they are more likely to take you seriously. But the use of big words is off putting to most. Hubbard wanted those taking his words seriously to learn these words. He explains that this then gives his followers a reason for better understanding how the world really works. I agree with a lot of his premise, but the whole alien thing throws me. But Mark, maybe I just don’t see what he sees.

Being exclusionary is powerful. Those on the inner circle feel enchanted by their elite knowledge. Just look how profitable Pokemon was, a property built around big words that literally nobody knew until they defined their terms.

Magic theory is littered with big words like prestidigitation, a word intentionally made cryptic which means the act of quick fingers. Prestidigitation was coined by Reginald Scot in The Discoverie of Witchcraft, a 16th-century classic that attempted to disprove the existence of witches by detailing the charges against women who supposedly practiced the black arts. Scot wanted to present a scientific account of what these women were doing and so he used Latin, the language of science. Presto means quick, digits means fingers, ation is the act there of—prestidigitation, now known as sleight of hand.

The psychology of perception has not long been openly studied. Science that challenged the cosmography (world view) of The Church was labeled as heretical, illegal, and often punishable by death. I reiterate: to this day, the idea of magic is offensive to many.

I respect the scientist Aleister Crowley I mentioned earlier. Crowley said, “We attribute to magick that which we don’t understand.” I fear I may be discomfiting you by my vocabulary. Marketing has a vocabulary. You learn the word “Touchstone” and presto, you communication differently. I see that as magic. An opportunity has appeared to you. A technology has become visible. Vocabulary works like that. Vocabulary is magical.

I see value in cherishing moments that feel magical. I champion copywriters who can enchant their reader. I hope that my contribution to your book can dispel some of the misgivings around the word magic.

I love magic. I’ve been drawn to magicians my whole life. But, I don’t limit the term magician to a person doing tricks on a proscenium stage. Mark, you are a magician. I see you pulling money out of the air far more realistically than the stage trick entitled A Miser’s Dream. I can perform A Miser’s Dream. I can’t make $50,000 in a couple months despite having attended two of your seminars, which you were gracious to include me and these seminars have altered my life for the better. Next year, I might be able to replicate one of your tricks, using original patter and new accessories. Thank you for the empowerment. I can replicate some of what you do because you show me what you are doing. Most magicians won’t do that as openly as you have chosen.

A magician is everybody that does something of value where I can’t see what their doing. They are using tools that I can’t see. Mastery is a telltale sign of a magical mind. However, obsessive compulsions can also lead to mastery while obsessive-compulsive thoughts rarely lead to tool invention. There is a loosening of associations that doesn’t happen with OC thinking. Your humor helps me focus while I relax into perceptions of reality where the insights garnered are new tools for my real world.

You are a science-based magician. You teach a science that facilitates magic. The heart of science is replication. I’m not speaking of viral replication or buzz marketing. I’m speaking about the scientific method, your ability to consistently replicate money making experiments: magical acts of making money out of nothing, or so it appears to the uninitiated. But you have skills and you teach the skills and you appear again and do the trick one more time. You remind me of a young Al Goshman who would repeatedly make a silver dollar appear under a salt-shaker. He would make the silver-dollar appear under a salt shaker 23 times in the course of a show. Goshman was a perceptionist, demonstrating that he could repeatedly misdirect his audience. But, you aren’t misdirecting folks. You are showing everybody how you do your tricks, how you pull money out of the air. Thank you.

Magic is not a thing or a physical act, but a state of mind that approaches the sublime but is more aptly referred to as phantasmagorical. Magic occurs at the intersection of a performer and an audience. There is intentionality to the perception. A stone that looks like an eagle is not magic, regardless of whether or not it is carved to represent the physical traits of an eagle. A sculpture maybe a catalyst to an altered state of mind, but I am reticent to call a sculpture magical. Some panoramas feel almost magical to me, but real magic is dynamic and ephemeral. Magic is the process of engineering an experience where reality emerges as it cannot be, and yet the audience is compelled to set aside their disbelief and flow with the experience as long as it lasts.

Creating theatrical magic entails tweaking our visual prejudices. We drop a coin, and it falls. We know this to be true; we’ve seen the force of gravity pull objects to Earth since before we had words to articulate the phenomena. What most non-perceptual psychologists DON’T recognize is the extent that our mind projects our expectations, our visual prejudices, onto our sight. If a magician creates the physical gesture of dropping a coin from one hand to another, yet palms the coin so it doesn’t actually fall into the second hand, most minds will see the coin fall. The term for this sight projection is sight retention. A normal mind will literally “see” the coin fall. This specific visual hallucination is called a projection, our mind projects its expectation of reality onto our sight. The magician makes note of the triggers that cause these visual breaks from reality and assembles a presentation that often includes a series of these triggers, often strung together through a narrative known as patter. The magician is an actor playing the role of a person with supernatural powers. [The previous two paragraphs were swiped from a chapter I wrote for Dave Zulborsky book This Is Not A Game, a book about using Alternate Reality Games as Internet marketing vehicles, explaining in exacting detail how helped make Halo II the biggest launch of any video game ever released. BTW, the concept of a swipe file has been greatly appreciated by me and many of my readers with whom I shared this valuable notion.]

Projection is a powerful force. We not only see what we expect to see, but often our expectations create our reality. The doctor mentioned earlier was explaining this dynamic, that a doctor’s expectation of results had a higher correlation to a patient’s success than any other element tested. I would tell your readers what Grant Morrison recommended, Fake it till you make it. My Bennington College buddy Bill Scully of said that our college buddy Tom Dunn, a genius artist who is now being recognized, said, Bill, we’re finally doing stuff that is big enough to fit our egos. I’ve known Bill and Tom for 13 years. We each knew we were good. We also were regularly the only ones working at 3AM. Expectation drives determination, hard work reinforces expectation. Grounded planning and stewardship of business plans helps. Scientifically testing your efforts and changing courses is worth the effort. Burning a colored candle is not likely to make money appear unless other preparations are in place, namely smart hard work.

If expectation of success is powerful, the willing suspension of disbelief is powerful. Theatre and magic generate a willing suspension of disbelief creating a magical frame of mind. Phantasmagoria is magic. A phantasmagoric effect generated a magical frame of mind.

Magic can be created from afar. A person who engineers a magical frame of mind, phantasmagoria, for an audience may or may not be a performer on a stage. If the person who engineered a magical experience is not the actor presenting the feats, they are the meme-wranglers of the experience. Clock makers of the 17th Century created automatons, mechanical men whose gears and riggings could be activated to perform the tricks of magicians. These clock makers were not magicians; they were the meme-wranglers of their metal figurines that could perform magic, even in the absence of their creators.

Creating magic requires the recognition of stages within stages, seeing micro-stages within macro-stages. The macro-stage is the physical place the audience encounters the magic. A magician may perform on a traditional proscenium stage, in a parlor, at a dinner table or on a street corner—whatever location the magician interacts with their audience becomes the macro-stage. The micro-stages emerge as the audience shifts their attention. David Copperfield regularly performs coin tricks in front of audiences in excess of 2,000. How? He manages the micro-stages, the focus of his audience. By focusing his own attention, with all his body, on a silver dollar, he can command the attention of 2,000 sets of eyes, whose minds enjoy the representation of a miracle as he makes the coin vanish. Copperfield directs the focus of his audience. Site retention won’t work unless the audience’s mind is engaged. The mind must not only see the cues that trigger the mental projections, but the mind must be so immersed in its focus that the mind accepts the magician’s cues as real. The creation of these cues, the intentional use of projection triggers, is the keystone to invoking illusion.

Misdirection is the magician’s ability to secretly do one thing by directing the audience’s attention on something else. Direction is the root of misdirection. Managing the micro-stages of an audiences focus is at the heart of misdirection—movement hides movement. How powerful is this technique? Harry Blackstone used to have an elephant walked on stage, up-stage-left, while he commanded attention down-stage-right. When Blackstone gestured up-stage-left, the audience was amazed to suddenly see an elephant. Rumor has it that this started as a bar bet where Harry wagered that he was so good at misdirection that he could walk an elephant on stage without any cover and the audience wouldn’t even see it.

Meme wranglers are magicians, playwrights, screenwriters and novelists among other artists who created dynamic performances for the theatre-of-the-mind. The Internet has borne a new species of marketing theatre, the weavers of magic who thread cyberspace into their tapestry are architects of a whole new set of possibilities and alternate realities.

Marketing has emerged as a legitimate face of perception study and the study of effectiveness, a socially acceptable way to understand magic theory. These techniques and discussions would have had us all murdered 200 years ago. The Puritans who founded America didn’t suffer well the presence of alternative perceptions and realities.

Mark, enough about magic. How am I doing? Is the type of material that might benefit your readers?

Touchstone…Here’s what I’m working on…Reading Poker Without Cards disengages your mind from The Matrix by explaining secrets of magic.

Ben Mack

Poker Without Cards, written by Ben Mack, a child protégé magician who grew up to be an advertising guru. Poker Without Cards debunks the popular ken, a consensus reality manufactured to cloud and enslave your mind.

By revealing principles of magic Ben illuminates many of the smoke and mirror tactics of politics. By explaining the scientific techniques of mass persuasion, Ben presents the argument that our worldview is much more engineered than publicly documented.

I am Ben Mack. I also regularly post online as Howard Campbell.

I hold that you cannot see social engineering without a modicum or proficiency at persuasion and direct response marketing techniques. If you see the world as I do, you are actively contributing to a transformation to increase our likelihood of survival as a species. If you are active and want articulation as to how media works, read my book. Otherwise, don’t waste your time. Keep up the good work.

If you don’t like to read, I have worked with Chris Zubryd to make a video showing how masters of persuasion see the world—Google The Pitch, Poker & The Public, a 37 minute video. The DVD has 3 hours of conversations with Jay Levinson, Mike Caro, Joel Bauer and Howard Bloom.

If you think I am paranoid, then Poker Without Cards may change your cosmography. When you see the world differently, you will take action. I suggest you avoid operating heavy machinery for several hours after consuming my long-winded memes.

Thank you Mark!


Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Autobiography of a Magician

A Memoir
Howard Campbell

Ladies and Gentlemen, Benjamin Garth!

“I’m going to give you $100 worth of entertainment. I will show you astounding feats of prestidigitation, mesmerizing feats of the mind and tantalizing feats of bravery. My name is Benjamin Garth. I will be your magician for this evening.” At the age of fifteen, that was how I began my shows. I don’t know what I meant by tantalizing feats of bravery. I must of thought it sounded cool back then. At fifteen I hadn’t learned to eat fire, I wasn’t performing escape magic and there was no physical stunt in my act. What was brave was telling a lawyer I was worth $100 for an hour of my time. I liked telling my audiences how much I was getting paid because it raised their expectations. Unlike a movie, raised expectations for a live performance are regularly met.

Benjamin Garth was my stage name. I discovered the courage to charge $100 for an appearance by Benjamin Garth, the mesmerizing and tantalizing magician. Howard Campbell was a geek who had the greasiest hair on campus and spent most of his time in the computer room of John Burroughs Junior High School. At fifteen I would’ve found it incredulous that I’d grow up to be an advertising executive, a Senior Vice President of a half-billion-dollar advertising account. Yet, as I look back at my fifteen-year-old self through the eyes of a marketer, it all makes sense. I intentionally repeated the word feats. I wanted to be known as a performer of feats more than I wanted to be seen as a great conjurer. I was concerned with framing an audience’s perception of me.

Magic and marketing are two sides of the same coin, both practitioners take elements of truth and create a reality the audience would not have seen had we not told them what to look at. But I’m grouping all marketers into a single mindset. I mean to be talking about the marketers who create the communications architecture or the actual ads. I am a communication strategist. I am the Carl Rove of brands.

I am a magician. I’m not speaking of my profession. It has been several years since I was paid to do a card trick or give that kind of show. I mean magician the way some of my friends say, “I am a lesbian.” The way we see the world isn’t a choice. Despite growing up white-American-male, I have rarely assumed others see the world the way I do. I see systems and intuit alternative realities. Most of the time, this is effortless, the way a math prodigy can be shown a formula and he knows the answer without knowing how he got there.

To muggles, the ability to make something out of nothing is magic. It is the muggle who sees nothing. The magician sees equities and texture invisible to muggles. The difference between muggles and magicians is similar to the difference between baboons and chimpanzees—baboons enviously watch chimpanzees get ants out of an anthill with a stick. The difference is that baboons will never learn to get ants out of an anthill with a stick where a muggle can learn to use a tool. Magicians create tools.

Mastery is a telltale sign of a magical mind. However, obsessive compulsions can also lead to mastery while obsessive-compulsive thoughts rarely lead to tool invention. There is a loosening of associations that doesn’t happen with OC thinking.

There are many kinds of magicians. I never enjoyed playing dungeons and dragons, but I enjoyed the structure of the game. Characters had specialized skills. The more closely a need matched the skills of a character, the more likely they were to succeed at a given task. However, many characters can do many similar tasks, the difference is in the proclivity to succeed.

In corporateland, there are relatively few magicians but many gurus. I’m called upon for answers that are outside my expertise. Magicians are problem solvers. Know yourself. Objectively, know your strengths and weaknesses. The biggest problem to solve is if you are the person to solve the problem you face. If you aren’t the right resource, employ the best guru you can find. Gurus are often colloquially called magicians or wizards. Let them have these labels.

In my experience, more harm than good comes from being called a magician or a wizard. I deny these labels and say I got lucky because somebody said something that helped me think of it differently. I hope to point out important safety tips to magicians. I’ll depict what it was like for me to grow up magician, what powers I have and what powers I crave.

My goal is to create a portrait of a magician as a young man. I want to write something I would’ve wanted to read when I was seventeen. I don’t know why. I doubt my altruistic nature. Maybe my self-serving goal is to soothe my seventeen-year-old self. Maybe my goal is to become gain Achilles status among young minds that I respect. My guess is that there are lessons within the words that I actually need to learn for myself, that you, my dear reader, are merely an excuse for me to teach these things to myself.

When I am at a loss for action, and not enjoying being still, I overcome my anxiety by studying similar systems to what I’m endeavoring to master. Presently, I’m writing my autobiography—not a personal essay, but my whole autobiography. For this endeavor, my autobiography, I’m rereading Aristotle’s Poetics: “A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be.”

Here goes…

Once Upon A Time…

My dad was playing drums and my mom was carrying a philosophy book when my mom mistook my dad as a musician and my dad mistook my mom as a disciplined thinker. I speculate that my parents got married, at least partially, to get validation of the difficulty of their own parents to each other; each had dysfunctional parents of opposite political extremes. My dad’s dad was dead and his mom was a narcissistic champagne-sipping socialist engaged to a blacklisted communist. My mom’s dad was the youngest kernel in the history of the Air Force. Her mom was docile, placating the misplaced rages of the very conservative patriarch.

My parents married. My sister was born. Drum-roll please. On January 31, 1968, the world turned up-side-down, then in-side-out and I was born screaming in America. From what I’ve read, this was the beginning of the end of American naiveté. We were told that freedom, truth and justice were replacing corruption and evil. This was the Age of Aquarius, the dawn of a new era of humanity.

I was told I could be anything I wanted—a fireman, a policeman, doctor, even the president. But like many kids growing up on a steady diet of Sesame Street, I knew I was special—that love and acceptance were what lead to a life of happiness and I wanted to be a trombone player. I didn’t much care for music, at least not as much as my parents respected music, and the trombone looked like the most interesting instrument to play.

I was born Howard Benjamin Garth Campbell. My mom wanted to give me an additional middle name of Siddhartha, but my father suggested that 27 letters was more than enough of a name. My mother loved Herman Hessé’s book Siddhartha. I became Little Siddhartha. Nice try dad with that number thing but Mom decided it was my name. I am grateful Siddhartha wasn’t my first name—that would’ve changed the way people interacted with me.

Shortly after I was brought home from the hospital, my father went MIA for a few days. I’m confident my mother invited my father to leave. My early home life was not emotionally calm. I had my first head trauma at only a few months old when a cab got into an accident and my head cracked the windshield. I was taken to the hospital and things checked out okay. I wish my parents had sued for a modicum of money that could have been placed into a trust fund for me to have when I turned 18. Nope. My father made sure the cabbie was okay and was sorry he might have gotten shaken up.

My parents moved to Michigan. When I was young my mom said they moved because I was allergic to the smog in the city. As I’ve grown older and asked both parents, I’ve learned that my allergies were more of a contributing factor than the sole reason for their move. I think my dad landing a job teaching in Ann Arbor may have been a stronger contributing factor.

I don’t know what kind of magician you are. Chances are you’re a magician—only magicians and religious fundamentalists seek out books on magicians. I’ve been the type of magician that has always been told how smart I am. I don’t know if this is a blessing or a curse. Actually, it’s neither. It just is. Eventually, I’ll get around to talking about how I’ve made a living as an adult magician. Then, I can talk about the different types of magicians I’ve met. I am the type they called gifted from a young age. For a fuller understanding of my very young childhood, please read Drama of the Gifted Child. In short, I didn’t have the common emotional mirroring from my mom. My mom had her emotions and it was beneficial for me to learn how I could dance with her emotions to keep her stable. I learned how to navigate my mom as other toddlers were learning to manipulate their moms. My mom compelled me to learn foresight before I could speak. Thank you mom.

I don’t have many memories of my babyhood. I remember glimpses of a preschool in New York, and a few glimpses from Michigan: a neighbor’s house and their pet bunny, an Easter egg hunt and having my picture taken with my sister for a holiday card. Michigan was the end of my happy childhood. My parents separated. My sister and I went with our emotionally volatile mom. Our dad couldn’t handle her. It makes perfect sense that a six and three-year-old will be fine with her.

I met a second-cousin-once-removed last summer. I had met her once before at a wedding. I never really spent any time with her. She referenced my mom as having always been crazy. I asked her if she always knew that. She said yes. Then, she said, “You mean nobody ever told you?” Fuck them all. I asked. I remember saying, “I don’t think my mom is normal.” Nobody validated my assessment as a kid. I guess the ones I asked either couldn’t see it or were too afraid I would rat them out or something. I explained to my cousin that I’d only come to grips with my mom’s insanity in my late twenties.

Child services should have stepped-in. No good can come from a mom talking with her 14-year-old-son about her contemplating suicide. Mom, I’m sorry you hurt that much. Dad, grandparents, immediate relatives, you vacuous surface bullshitters, could you not see? The answer is no. Willful blindness is very powerful and it is messy to get involved and it isn’t as bad as all that and when kids are fed and warm how bad can it really be when there are kids starving in the world?

Alls well that ends well. Right? I’m a Senior Vice President for the largest independent ad agency in the South East. The benefit of my upbringing is that it helped mold a mind that thinks differently and there are markets for minds that think different.

Shamans have existed as far back as history allows our sight. Historians project Shamans back beyond that. There will always be a need for a Shaman. And, the more people that repeat that notion, the easier it will be for people like us to find work.

Hippies & Idealists

By the time I was four, when my memory becomes consistent, I was living in Idyllwild, California, a mountain community above Palm Springs. I remember being at a hippie party with a bunch of naked people. I remember wanting to stare at the naked women’s pussies but feeling I didn’t want to get caught staring. People who say kids don’t have a concept of sexuality at that age should speak for themselves. I didn’t know what did what or what things were called but I knew what I otherwise wasn’t allowed to look at and I wanted to see it. Maybe that’s not sexuality. Maybe that’s just a curious mind. But from a young age I have wanted to see pussy. Thank you to all the women who have helped to this end, starting back in the spring of ’72.

I went to a cult daycare that summer. The thing about belonging to a cult is that nobody walks around calling it a cult. It was just a bunch of very friendly people who ate organic foods and offered low-cost childcare. My mom may not have known it was a cult. The difference between a cult and a religion is the size of their bank account. If this cult had any less money they wouldn’t have had clout to be called a cult. Being a cult means the organization is on the radar of the traditional money redistribution networks, the larger organization that use guilt or fear to extract their donations. There are thousands of groups that apply these techniques that aren’t large enough or centrally organized enough to be called a cult.

At this cult, we put white energy into our food before we ate it. Not a bad practice as far as cult habits go. I still occasionally put white energy into my food. The mind of a four-year-old is impressionable.

Idyllwild was a safe place in a safe time. Kindergarteners walked to school by themselves.


I’m not very good with static symbols—writing words, painting, choosing clothing; these are not skills for which I have been well paid. I’ve consistently been well paid for my ability to perform, to present ideas in captivating and persuasive ways. I fear the creation of this manuscript draws on my shortcomings and prohibits me leveraging my strengths.

That previous paragraph was a trick. Many readers will find that paragraph endearing. Some will be flattered that I trusted them enough to show my vulnerabilities. Others will be drawn in because they will see themselves in those limitations.

We are narcissistic animals. When we see ourselves, we enjoy gazing at ourselves. When we are welcomed to say, I’m prettier than that, we are also looking at ourselves.

See, if I were better at written words, the previous couple paragraphs would have been much easier to understand.


Magicians tend to be dysfunctional. An Achilles heal became an expression because it described more than a mythical man from the Trojan War. Most magicians are more dysfunctional than extraordinary wielders of power, that’s why we tend to bond together. We need refuge from the confederacy of dunces.


Have you ever seen a ghost or a UFO? I saw both when I was four. I saw the image of a woman in a Victorian dress evaporate through a door and I saw a disc image trailing a plane. The ghost I saw alone. The UFO I saw with four other kids. I don’t know enough of how the mind works or the nature of reality to know how to label these memories. I know I was confident I saw them at the time.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

==> A confused mind always does nothing!

You say it there, it comes out here. Is this
Hip Hop? As Art, I can do as I please.
The Structure of Magic
[What are you willing to make happen? (pt 2 of 3)]
By Ben Mack
Magic Castle Award Winning Magician,
Author: Poker Without Cards
(continued from here )
Creating an illusion entails tweaking our visual prejudices. We drop a coin, and it falls. We know this to be true; we have seen the force of gravity pull objects to Earth since before we had words to articulate the phenomena. What most non-perceptual psychologists DON’T recognize is the extent that our mind projects our expectations, our visual prejudices, onto our sight.

If a magician creates the physical gesture of dropping a coin from one hand to another, yet palms the coin so it doesn’t actually fall into the second hand, most minds will see the coin fall. The term for this sight projection is sight retention. A normal mind will literally “see” the coin fall. This specific visual hallucination is called a projection, our mind projects its expectation of reality onto our sight. The magician makes note of the triggers that cause these visual breaks from reality and assembles a presentation that often includes a series of these triggers, often strung together through a narrative known as patter. The magician is an actor playing the role of a person with supernatural powers.

A person who engineers a magical frame of mind, phantasmagoria, for an audience may or may not be a performer on a stage. If the person who engineered a magical experience is not the actor presenting the feats, they are the puppet-master of the experience, where the magician is a marionette, performing in the puppet-master’s phantasmagorical production. Clock makers of the 17th Century created automatons, mechanical men whose gears and riggings could be activated to perform the tricks of magicians. These clock makers were not magicians; they were the puppet-masters of their metal figurines that could perform magic, even in the absence of their creators.

Creating magic requires the recognition of stages within stages, seeing micro-stages within macro-stages. The macro-stage is the physical place the audience encounters the magic. A magician may perform on a traditional proscenium stage, in a parlor, at a dinner table or on a street corner—whatever location the magician interacts with their audience becomes the macro-stage. The micro-stages emerge as the audience shifts their attention. David Copperfield regularly performs coin tricks in front of audiences in excess of 2,000. How? He manages the micro-stages, the focus of his audience. By focusing his own attention, with all his body, on a silver dollar, he can command the attention of 2,000 sets of eyes, whose minds enjoy the representation of a miracle as he makes the coin vanish. Copperfield directs the focus of his audience. Site retention won’t work unless the audience’s mind is engaged. The mind must not only see the cues that trigger the mental projections, but the mind must be so immersed in its focus that the mind accepts the magician’s cues as real. The creation of these cues, the intentional use of projection triggers, is the keystone to invoking illusion.

Continued... here

Friday, December 22, 2006

What is Intellishit? How about

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

we needed a monitor

Friday, December 01, 2006

Wes' new computer

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Do people find your site through search engines?

Wanna learn how to make this more likely?

Listen up! Last night's recording of Michelle chance teaching SEO techniques can be heard by clicking here.

Here's an example of my applied learning...
Michelle Chance's Search Engine Optimization tips can be found at that hyperlink. Google will now associate with Search Engine Optimization.

Our lesson? Hyperlink the key words we want associated with our site to our site. Yes, this tip is very, very basic. I like those tips. Michelle goes way deeper.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Click here to listen to Michelle Chance teach me about easy Search Engine Optimization.

Homework for next week...

1) Please help us move the needle on Dave Navarro's ranking by posting a link anywhere to and take a few words to say he's a great success coach (see comments for a prize if you do this)

2) ask Michelle Chance an SEO question for next week at

The direct MP3 link for Michell Chance's training is

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My dear reader,

I received an email this morning that knocked the wind out of me...

"Ben, Bernays will go down in the footnotes of history as a complete s.o.b. and precursor of Dubya. You should be ashamed of trying to sell Barnays as any kind of role model." -Probir G.,

I AM NOT ASHAMED. How dare Probir tell me I should be ashamed. Shame is such an ugly emotion to wish upon another.

Persuasion has many faces, few of them are pretty.

I'm TEACHING you to learn the mechanisms of persuasion primarily for two reasons:

1) I see the world as more stable when there are more small business owners as opposed to a few large centers of power; and...

2) The more people that see through these mechanisms the more people we have calling B.S. on the governments of the world.

Tonight at 9pm Eastern / 6pm Pacific I'll do my best along with the lovely and talented Michelle Chance on our teleconference... Dial-In to the Conference 1 (712) 432-3000 Enter your Bridge number 938678

We'll discuss tricks that make search engines rank you higher. This helps your online exposure.

This may seem like a small technique, but it can be used to manipulate reality.

Sixty years ago Hitler made a go for world domination. The techniques of persuasion you learn from me and from my friends come the most extreme sources.

I'm getting my PhD from RPI and one of my teachers did a rhetorical analysis of a Nazis propaganda film...hers was far better than most I have read, and it still felt way behind what Dave Lakhani, Kevin Hogan and Blair Warren are studying and proving and demonstrating.

It is foolhardy to imagine that my friends are the only ones studying the mechanisms of persuasion. NO, IT IS NAIVE AND DANGEROUS to imagine that governments and corporations aren't studying these tools and techniques.

On tonight's call, we take things slow and easy. 9pm Eastern / 6pm Pacific I'll
Dial-In to our Conference 1 (712) 432-3000 Enter your Bridge number 938678

If you think the techniques of hegemony are limited to governments, then WAKE UP and read books like "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of Brainwashing in China" and compare these techniques with P&G sales techniques...Is it a coincidence they both employ having somebody write down statements? NO!

So, somebody telling me I should feel shame for teaching these techniques to small business owners is clueless!!! The BIG BUSINESSES are already using these techniques!

I focus on making you money. I'm teaching how these techniques of mass persuasion get used.

My biggest qualm with what Probir wrote is that he speaks the truth: "Bernays will go down in the footnotes of history..."

BERNAYS deserves whole books written about him!

Do me this favor, if you want to tell me I should be ashamed for what I'm teaching first read The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do by Clotaire Rapaille

I suggested was worth watching.

Come on the call tonight, ask questions, learn how to make more money.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Edward Bernays Is the father of modern advertising. His seminal book has a controversial title...controversial today, but not when it was published 90 years ago, Propaganda.

Why care? Edward Bernays made it okay for women to smoke, invented product placement and made billions of dollars for banks.


How did Edward Bernays do so much? His uncle was Sigmond Freud... Bernays leveraged Freud's ideas for business. In fact, Edward Bernays popularized the ideas of Freud in order to sell Freud's books.

Watch a documentary on Bernays here:

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Instructions for listening to this week's call are below, but first, a couple links of interest...

1) Download my novel, Poker Without Cards, and one of our promotional podcasts that cuased a stir.

2) My school paper on Vonnegut & hegemony.

To listen to Michelle Chance, some friends and me ROCK ON about new marketing ideas from our Tuesday night call...

you must have the bridge number 938678...PLEASE NOTE: after you enter your info, the top of the page has a confusing form asking for members to sign in...just scroll down the page and you'll see the recordings, then click on the play buttons. Thank you.

1. To listen past conference calls online, go to the following link:
2. Enter your information along with the bridge number and this logs you in and takes you to the page with the recordings...just scroll down and look on the left (please ignore the blanks asking for phone number here)
3. Click on play button > to listen, or download the MP3 to your desktop

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tuesday Night Teleseminar...Same Bat Channel
Tuesday at 9pm Eastern 6pm Pacific
Dial-In to the Conference number 1 (712) 432-3000
Enter your Bridge number 938678

We'll be discussing this book...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Brand Misinformation Vs. Back End Thinking

“Advertising is a seduction, not a debate.”
--David Ogilvy

“Branding is an extended seduction, not a color palette.”
--Ben Mack

Branding is often discussed as irrelevant to small business marketing. That’s bunk! If you are running a con-game, then branding is irrelevant. However, every form of legitimate business will benefit from branding. Branding is often described in absurd and outlandish ways. For the record, branding is:
– NOT an exact discipline
– NOT about always using the same logo or colors
– NOT about limiting yourself

Don’t use the dictionary for industry terminology.
brand (brnd)
1. n. a. A trademark or proper name identifying a product, service or a
b. A named product or product line: a popular brand of shoes.
-Most American Dictionaries of the English Language, Standard Editions

Please abandon this common definition of a brand. A doctor needs a medical definition of manic, or he would be prescribing everybody lithium. Marketers need a business definition of brand…
brand (brnd)
1. n. a. The positive or negative inclination to purchase, either in an individual or
among a target audience.
b. The aggregation of stories and associations around a trademark, distinctive name or a product line.
2. vt. a. To increase a target audience’s likelihood to purchase now and in the
b. To imbue positive characteristics into a marketed proposition.
3. n. a. Slang. A colloquial word for a logo, product name or product line.
-Ben Mack Dictionary of My Language, First Edition

A brand is not a physical thing, but the relationship between consumers and a product or service.

On this blog, product names, product logos, and the products themselves ARE NOT BRANDS. They are accessories to your relationship with a customer.

Few products really make a statement about its user. HUGE budget products can become a flag. Flag? What do I mean by a flag…well, carrying a Heineken at a party is a flag that says you’re sophisticated, or in dating terms MATURE. Holding a Corona says relaxation, that you don’t have an attitude…you’re chillin’. The beer you drink says something about you: at minimum it says you aren’t an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

You’re probably not playing this kind of FLAG branding game.

Often I see the word brand bandied about as synonymous with logo. Some brand managers treat their logo like a sacred flag. I saw an off-colored logo on a weekend sales brochure and the brand manager said they didn’t want to use the brochures…they told me I would NEVER hang an American flag with pink stripes instead of red and they were right. I wouldn’t hang a pink American flag. I wouldn’t buy a pink American flag. But, we were selling fertilizer, not flags. I would have preferred the color was perfect, but I would rather have the collateral SELLING my product than not having SALES material.

This flag notion of branding works for HUGE budget advertising, but it doesn’t scale down to small businesses. For a “flag” to have meaning folks must recognize and agree on what a Corona means, which requires a ton of advertising. Big budget advertising can create meaning that is virtually impossible for small budget marketers to garner outside of a very small niche audience. Corona becomes a flag that says, “I’m cool” but without using the word “cool” and seen as cool to a wide variety of people.

Flag branding, being able to turn your product or logo into a meaningful flag, is not a viable strategy for most advertisers. If you have that kind of budget, the rest of this book is important. But, if you don’t have anywhere near that kind of budget then what follows is even more important, because every single touch you have with your dear customer is meaningful and can substantively affect your relationship and their likelihood to buy again.

If a customer or prospect interacts with your product or your communication and is more likely to buy your product or buy your product again you are building brand equity. This is often mistaken as likeability. I have nothing against likeability. I just don’t think likeability should be an overriding business objective. Remember that nice guy in your high school that all the girls liked but none of them slept with? He may have been liked but his brand equity was squat because he could never close the deal. When Ogilvy said that advertising is a seduction he is talking about getting laid, not endless flirting. If you aren’t getting laid you aren’t seducing your prospect. If you aren’t getting sales you aren’t building your brand you’re merely buying media.

I suggest you think of the word “brand” as the likelihood for a customer to do business with you, again. In the next two chapters I’ll discuss nurturing a relationship with somebody you’ll never know personally. Then, in chapter five I show you how all branding schemes are basically the same and how to use these constructs to increase retention for big and small businesses. But, I’m not finished discussing misinformation about branding.

Branding is big business. Millions of dollars of custom and syndicated research is sold in the name of brand planning. If somebody sold you research or a branding process that didn’t generate more profit than it cost…I’m sorry. But, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. There is value in branding, there’s also a ton of money wasted in the name of branding.

Before a client spends money on research I like to agree on what actions we will be taken based on the possible findings. I trust sales data more than I trust most tracking studies that report awareness levels. Tracking studies are where target customers are polled at regular intervals to measure product awareness, awareness of advertising, or to discern who’s considering your product. Neat, but I’ve rarely seen profitable steps taken from tracking data even when glaring insights were screaming to be used. A notable exception was working on Mitsubishi with planning guru Jeffrey Blish. Usually, I see tracking data used to justify marketing inefficiencies. Our sales are down? The whole category is down!!! I’ve seen millions of dollars spent a year so that when sales go down somebody can reply with confidence that our sales dip is consistent with the category average.

Measuring metrics is how research companies make money…that’s what they sell. Their primary job is to sell you on the importance and value of their research. When your advertising agency recommends a research company, Chances are it is owned by the same holding company as your advertising agency. For instance, BBDO is owned by Omnicom. Omnicom owns over 300 communications companies, plus DAS. Never heard of DAS? DAS is their company that helps cross sell clients between Omnicom companies. At BBDO, if I were to recommend 3 research vendors to a client, it was an unwritten expectation that at least two of them be Omnicom companies. Same with branding companies, and for good reason: if Cingular hired a branding company that wasn’t an Omnicom company they would likely undermine our efforts and elaborately detail exactly what we were doing wrong…making Cingular more likely to switch advertising agencies.

Finding problems with your brand is going to happen even if the branding company is an independent and not out to undermine your ad agency. Why? Because if your brand is all-good, then they can’t sell you any more services. Have you heard the expression “never take your car to a bored mechanic”? A bored mechanic is hungry for work and likely to find things wrong with your car. A branding consultant gets more money by finding things wrong with your brand so they can dive down into those issues and help you.

Research should be treated with skepticism. Research is an interpretive tool. After we launched Rollover Minutes, our second round of commercials featured a dance troop that made music on a variety of props in an engaging way with placards that touted the value of Rollover Minutes. Our market-share went up. The ads worked. The research company conducting the tracking study, a company not owned by Omnicom, said this execution was a waste of money—one of the worst ads for the wireless category in recent years. I asked them to explain our increase in sales and increased market-share. They said it was on the strength of the product offering, of Rollover Minutes. Here’s my take: the research was a telephone-interview study. The dance troop spot had very few words in the spot. When research participants were asked over the phone if they recollected a TV commercial with dancers drumming on unusual objects they said, No.

Conversely, we had a spot with a cute dog that would rollover every time the announcer said the word “rollover” in his voice-over. This spot scored off the charts according to their research methodology. The word “rollover” was said 17 times during a 30 second commercial. Customers remembered the commercial and stated over the phone that it made them consider shopping Cingular. Despite sales being flat, the research company released a press release stating this was the best commercial the wireless category had seen in years. Bunk! This spot just happened to test the best against their measurements. We beat the test. We scored an A, but that didn’t make us money.

I’m skeptical of consultants with fancy formulas that derive brand equity. I should know. I’ve been one of these consultants. I’m registered to interpret data on Millard-Brown’s BrandZ study, which is far better than most black-box methodologies.

I’m a huge fan of data but often, general category studies give a marketer as much data as they will ever wisely use. If your sales are plummeting and it isn’t a seasonal deal…get hustling. I don’t care what’s happening to the rest of the category.

When I started my own research company I eventually implemented a policy of charging $1,000 if I could talk a client out of research. I wasn’t a great salesman. Often small companies would come to me wanting to invest $20,000 in four focus groups and I would talk them out of doing research. I still wanted to be compensated for my value but many prospective clients would balk at this. So, with those clients, I became a great salesman…whatever they said they were interested in is what I told them they needed. I stopped doing this because I couldn’t charge them enough for my upset stomach.

Hiring a consultant can be a great way to get somebody else to do your homework. I’ve been that consultant. I’ve been doing other people’s homework since the 8th grade at John Burroughs Jr. High School when Rachel of the Miller twins batted her eyes at me. Rachel, I’ve learned a couple things since I was 14. Next time I’ll charge you.

The successful entrepreneurs I know don’t view digging through data as work. They are driven to know, understanding data is part of the processes of knowing. They either enjoy understanding the underlying dynamics of their projects or they simply can’t sleep if they don’t understand something.

Branding is about planning your customer’s experience, about thinking with the end in mind. Branding is often referred to as big picture planning, asking where are we now, really. Then, where can we be and how do we get there. However, in order to do this kind of planning we have to have a road map of the territory.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

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