For those marketers who labor tirelessly, though fruitlessly, oblivious to marketing history and unversed in copy that brings home the bacon... please take note: This article is for you.

One of the most famous questions ever asked in an ad was penned almost a century ago by copywriting legend Maxwell Sackheim. It read: Do you make these mistakes in English?

It was the headline for an ad that sold a pedestrian mail-order language course.

Yet it worked so well—pulling in so much money—that the company that owned it continued to run it for 40 long and successful years!

To be sure, a myriad other headlines were tested, all using the same body copy, before that now-famous winner was discovered.

One competing headline read: Do you make mistakes in English? Certainly close enough, you would think. But it failed miserably, as did all others.

It was only when that seemingly innocuous word "these" was finally inserted that direct marketing history was made—and a lesson for direct marketers was learned.

Well, some endeavored to learn it, most never tried. They merely copied its form without understanding why it worked so well.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barry A. Densa is a freelance marketing and sales copywriter at Writing With Personality. For more, visit his blog Marketing Wit & Wisdom.