The Lure of Exclusivity

Beware the siren song of privacy, privilege and riches!

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 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.

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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