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The Lure of Exclusivity

Beware the siren song of privacy, privilege and riches!

Vol. 6, Issue No. 13 | July 6, 2010 By Denny Hatch
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IN THE NEWS

Exclusivity at Viva Cala Mesquida Resort, Mallorca
Deep in the secluded luscious greenery of
Cala Mesquida, it isn’t traffic I hear when I awake, but the gentle sounds of waves and the coercing murmurs of sea breeze. This is as far as one can get from bustling urban life, raucous tapas bars and skyrocketing shopping malls. I open the curtains of our deluxe apartment to a jaw-dropping sea view, and an inviting Jacuzzi right on our patio.

A sea of turquoise blue and a multitude of ragged cliffs lining the coastline, Cala Mesquida is a secluded and unspoiled corner of Mallorca that thrives under year-round sunshine and natural architecture. Secretly tucked within the craggy coastline of the bay is the Viva Cala Mesquida Resort, a lavish property poised right on the cliff’s edge.
—Nellie
WhyGo Spain travel website, June 17, 2010


For years I have been preaching that successful advertising efforts must contain at least one of the key copy drivers: fear, greed, guilt, anger, exclusivity, salvation, flattery. “If your copy isn’t dripping with one or more of these,” said Seattle guru Bob Hacker, “tear it up and start over.”

“Why don’t you put these into a book,” asked my wife Peggy, “so the marketers and writers can see actual examples how they are used?”

“Great idea,” I said. Last month DirectMarketingIQ.com published “The Secrets of Emotional, Hot-Button COPYWRITING,” by yours truly, with the invaluable assistance of the brilliant Who's Mailing What! Archivist, Paul Bobnak.

Of the seven drivers, “exclusivity” may be the most overused and corrupted word in the English language. For example, when I entered “exclusive” into Google, I was instantly informed of 30.4 million new entries in the past 24 hours.

Nellie’s paean to the hilltop resort in Mallorca (see “IN THE NEWS” at right) is harmless enough. “On the secluded bay, there are no other resorts besides Viva Cala Mesquida and its jointly owned Club and Vanity Hotel Suites,” she writes a couple of paragraphs later. “Such exclusivity gives guests plenty of privacy and privilege.”

Privacy and privilege.” Isn’t that what many folks crave in this epoch of Internet social media, Web cams, street-corner security cameras, paparazzi, GPS tracking devices and thousands of behavioral databases where your most intimate demographic and psychographic secrets are being rocketed around the country hundreds of times a day?

If you can persuade people that you offer privacy and privilege―along with the opportunity to get rich―you’ve got yourself a tidy little (or maybe a very big) business.

Here’s how some entrepreneurs did it.

Joel Nadel
In the mid-1980s―in my early years of collecting junk mail for the newsletter, WHO’S MAILING WHAT!―I began receiving some truly exotic #10 envelopes with return addresses in the upper left corners that indicated they were mailed from London and Zurich. If you click on the first image in the mediaplayer at right, you can get a sense of the mystique these seemingly international envelopes created.

Takeaways to Consider

  • “Privacy and privilege.” Isn’t that what many folks crave in this epoch of Internet social media, Web cams, street-corner security cameras, paparazzi, GPS tracking devices and thousands of behavioral databases where your most intimate demographic and psychographic secrets are being rocketed around the country hundreds of times a day?
  • The lure of exclusivity—of privacy, privilege and wealth—is an emotional hot button for people in every demographic stratum from ordinary folks all the way up to the ultra rich and famous. Look at the luminaries that fell for Bernie Madoff’s siren song: L’Oreal billionaire Liliane Bettencourt. Kevin Bacon, John Malkovich, Larry King, the estate of John Denver, Henry Kissinger, Eliot Spitzer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Elie Wiesel, Fred Wilpon (owner of the New York Mets), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Steven Spielberg.
  • If you can persuade people that you offer privacy and privilege—along with the opportunity to get rich—you’ve got yourself a tidy little (or maybe a very big) business.
  • “The right offer should be so attractive,” said great direct marketing guru Claude Hopkins, "that only a lunatic would say no.”
  • At the same time, “exclusivity” may be the most overused and corrupted word in the English language. For example, when I entered “exclusive” into Google, I was instantly informed of 30.4 million new entries in the past 24 hours.

 
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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Rezbi - Posted on July 07, 2010
I thought that sampling from The Royal Society of Liechtenstein looked familiar. Then I read on to see The Oxford Club.

I received a similar letter from them only last year. I didn't know they're a part of Agora.

I wanted to join... and I'm not even interested in that kind stuff.

"trusting suckers."

Hindsight's a great teacher, isn't it?

Best
Rezbi
http://directmarketingcourse.com/
Wash Phillips - Posted on July 06, 2010
This piece aimed mostly at the use of exclusivity in scams/quasi-scams. The effectiveness of the tool is undeniable, Denny. I'm no snob, but wondered how I was targeted some time back when a full sign-up package for the Prodigy online service arrived by mail, totally unsolicited. It was clearly an expensive package, too costly to send to EVERYONE on every mailing list. How did they target me, I thought? What did they know about me that was SPECIAL to their marketing scheme? Surely they did not send this to every computer user around, I reasoned. Did they think me a leader in writing on computers? I must be different, somehow. I thus tricked myself into thinking I was some kind of worthy to receive this "gift," the province of only special people chosen--as your one example said--mysteriously. Self-delusion. Like any tool—nuke power or the Internet are good examples—exclusivity can be used for good or ill. It’s the writer’s call. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

DH Replies: Thanx for writing Wash. I haven’t seen the Prodigy mailng, so I can’t comment on it. But you might find a clue in the piece I did, “The Decline and Fall of AOL.” Good hunting.

http://tinyurl.com/2a9xa7m

Bob Paroski - Posted on July 06, 2010
Denny,

Thanks for the tremendous insight on exclusivity as a driver in sales.

We see it frequently in limited time offers - buy by a certain date. We also see it when limited quantities are being sold.

I was unaware that this was an approach Bernie Madoff used.

When exclusivity is used, it frequently ties into the greed on the part of the buyer. They feel that if they don't buy now, they will miss out forever on something which will bring them the riches or status they crave.

Bob Paroski
www.wordcrafterscopywriting.com
Dev. Kinney - Posted on July 06, 2010
Very interesting exposé, Denny. But rather a late one, since our Nigerian banker friends and their ilk on the Internet have pretty well used up the personal exclusivity thing. We have become a rather calloused people, as recent government reform initiatives clearly show.
Carolynn - Posted on July 06, 2010
This is rather disturbing to me. Snake oil sales are alive and well in the copywriting world! I hate to sound fusty and old-fashioned, but is there any place for honesty in this realm? Or is it just about duping and deceiving the naive buyer-believer into signing up for endless promises of future gain ad infinitum?

And the point here is, so you CAN write copy that is so compelling, appealing and alluring that people will abandon whatever shred of common sense they may possess to agree to the fanciful offers and vain hope of....riches? power? keys to the universe? To what end? Oh right: wealth untold.

This doesn't inspire me. It makes me feel like I've been swimming in the oil-slick waters off the Gulf and no amount of scrubbing will ever remove its residue.

Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Rezbi - Posted on July 07, 2010
I thought that sampling from The Royal Society of Liechtenstein looked familiar. Then I read on to see The Oxford Club.

I received a similar letter from them only last year. I didn't know they're a part of Agora.

I wanted to join... and I'm not even interested in that kind stuff.

"trusting suckers."

Hindsight's a great teacher, isn't it?

Best
Rezbi
http://directmarketingcourse.com/
Wash Phillips - Posted on July 06, 2010
This piece aimed mostly at the use of exclusivity in scams/quasi-scams. The effectiveness of the tool is undeniable, Denny. I'm no snob, but wondered how I was targeted some time back when a full sign-up package for the Prodigy online service arrived by mail, totally unsolicited. It was clearly an expensive package, too costly to send to EVERYONE on every mailing list. How did they target me, I thought? What did they know about me that was SPECIAL to their marketing scheme? Surely they did not send this to every computer user around, I reasoned. Did they think me a leader in writing on computers? I must be different, somehow. I thus tricked myself into thinking I was some kind of worthy to receive this "gift," the province of only special people chosen--as your one example said--mysteriously. Self-delusion. Like any tool—nuke power or the Internet are good examples—exclusivity can be used for good or ill. It’s the writer’s call. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

DH Replies: Thanx for writing Wash. I haven’t seen the Prodigy mailng, so I can’t comment on it. But you might find a clue in the piece I did, “The Decline and Fall of AOL.” Good hunting.

http://tinyurl.com/2a9xa7m

Bob Paroski - Posted on July 06, 2010
Denny,

Thanks for the tremendous insight on exclusivity as a driver in sales.

We see it frequently in limited time offers - buy by a certain date. We also see it when limited quantities are being sold.

I was unaware that this was an approach Bernie Madoff used.

When exclusivity is used, it frequently ties into the greed on the part of the buyer. They feel that if they don't buy now, they will miss out forever on something which will bring them the riches or status they crave.

Bob Paroski
www.wordcrafterscopywriting.com
Dev. Kinney - Posted on July 06, 2010
Very interesting exposé, Denny. But rather a late one, since our Nigerian banker friends and their ilk on the Internet have pretty well used up the personal exclusivity thing. We have become a rather calloused people, as recent government reform initiatives clearly show.
Carolynn - Posted on July 06, 2010
This is rather disturbing to me. Snake oil sales are alive and well in the copywriting world! I hate to sound fusty and old-fashioned, but is there any place for honesty in this realm? Or is it just about duping and deceiving the naive buyer-believer into signing up for endless promises of future gain ad infinitum?

And the point here is, so you CAN write copy that is so compelling, appealing and alluring that people will abandon whatever shred of common sense they may possess to agree to the fanciful offers and vain hope of....riches? power? keys to the universe? To what end? Oh right: wealth untold.

This doesn't inspire me. It makes me feel like I've been swimming in the oil-slick waters off the Gulf and no amount of scrubbing will ever remove its residue.