Hopkins wasn't paid $185,000 a year for nothing. Through data and testing, he finds the psychological triggers that make us buy....
1. The Secret of Curiosity
In Scientific Advertising, he explains our natural wonder and how it propels us to buy:
“Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice were made successful largely through curiosity. ‘Grains puffed to 8 times the normal size.’ ‘Foods shot from guns.’ ‘125 million steam explosions caused in every kernel.’ These foods were failures before that factor was discovered.”
He means when the copywriter discovered that factor.
The inventor had long before. This was botanist Alexander P. Anderson who first made puffed rice. But Quaker, his employer, didn’t see the retail promise of it until Anderson demonstrated the food could turn a profit.
At the 1904 World’s fair he debuted his unique process. In eight 20-inch bronze tubes Anderson heated 48 pounds of rice at once. When he opened them, expanding water molecules in each grain erupted into steam shooting puffed rice out like popcorn. It erupted from his miniature cannons and filled a two story cage. During the fair he sold 20,000 pounds of puffed rice distributed in a quarter million bags at five cents each. That got Quaker’s attention.
The first ten years of advertising focused on Alexander Anderson and his discovery. The headlines included:
- "Prof. Anderson's Gift" and
- "The Eighth Wonder of the World"
Look at the original ad — are you curious what his gift is? Maybe. But I think the problem is these two flat headlines created no image in the mind.
Later Claude Hopkins investigated puffed rice and caught the most exciting thing in the process — exploding food. He explained what everyone loved about the World’s Fair exhibit: “Food Shot From Guns.” It not only formed a pyrogenic picture for both adults and kids, but eventually created a link between the Wild West and breakfast.