The 18th Century economist, Adam Smith, was one of the founders of modern economics.
Roust a copywriter from his slumber at 3:00 a.m. and ask him what he knows about Adam Smith and he’s likely to utter the now famous, two-word metaphor: “invisible hand.”
What’s the invisible hand?
In his landmark text — The Wealth of Nations — Smith asserts the free market, instead of being a chaotic battleground, is actually an efficient place where the right quantity of goods is produced…almost as if by a hidden force.
He called this hidden mechanism the ‘invisible hand.’
Once you apply this to the world of advertising, you’ll begin to see there are invisible hands reaching into almost every market. And if you figure out how to harness this natural, hidden force, you’ll be able to increase response at will because you’ll be working with the beliefs your prospects already have.
Case Study Ad #1: How the Beautiful People Get Rid of Both Cellulite and Ordinary Fat — Without Really Dieting!
The legendary copywriter and author of The Brilliance Breakthrough and Breakthrough Advertising, Eugene Schwartz, was the copywriter for this instructive ad.
The headline, besides showcasing the invisible hand concept, is full of masterful nuances.
Like the word ‘really.’
Notice he doesn’t say “without dieting.” Absolutes like that usually backfire because they push the envelope of believability.
The word “really” strengthens the claim because it suggests “the beautiful people” still do some dieting though nowhere near what normal people do.
The invisible hand in this ad is the widely held belief that there’s a group of beautiful people and jet setters who get whatever they want without lifting a finger…eat whatever they please without gaining an ounce…and continue to look and act beautiful almost by some divine right.
How did they achieve this exalted status?
The truth is, it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is there’s large enough segment of people who believes this. So, there’s no need for master-level persuasion because this built in belief system is naturally working for you.
All you have to do is wrap your core claim around this belief.
Case Study Ad #2: “Fortunately most investors think like losers. That’s how people like me get rich.”
This 1980’s ad is a great example of the invisible hand at work.
The photo and headline combination used in this ad is disarmingly direct.
Fat cat, Julian Snyder, is standing with his arms crossed in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Limo behind him and a smug smile on his face…he’s making millions while the little guy is taking a bath.
Thanks to this widely held belief, the reader is yanked into the copy. From there, the core claim of the book is masterfully tied to the kernel of belief already in the reader’s head.
Case Study Ad #3: Why Models Stay Young Till Sixty!
Here’s another Gene Schwartz ad fronting the invisible hand.
Much like the ad in the first example, this promo plays on the natural belief that models are a special class of people.
Whether it’s genetics or some secret regimen that only models know, it’s easy to buy into the claim.
What’s the invisible hand in your market?
No doubt it’s there. All you have to do is get out of your own head long enough to find it…then wrap it tightly around your big promise.