Book Review: CA$HVERTISING

I received so many recommendations for this book I just had to read it. And casually, it will also be the first review I’ll share with you on my blog.

Before I dive right into my comments on this book, let me add a little bit of context. I love reading. Since we started AdEspresso I’ve always tried to improve myself by reading books about marketing, business, startups, self-improvement, and psychology. While my favorite ones are by far marketing books, I’m trying to learn something new every single week about any topic.

In the process, I’ve literally wasted hundreds of hours reading bad books, and only accidentally discovered (often too late) gems I could have easily missed. That’s why from now on I’ll try to share here a quick summary and my 2 cents on every book I’m ready. Hopefully, this will help you avoid horrible lecture and discover the good ones as fast as possible! Let’s get started with the first review now!

I was pitched “Ca$hvertising: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone” as a must-read book for anyone doing advertising. And I must admit that Drew Eric Whitman does an excellent job in explaining the human psychology behind a successful ad and how to use in your ads the eight desires every human is programmed to follow:

  1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension.
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages.
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger.
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
  7. Care and protection of loved ones.
  8. Social approval.

I couldn’t agree more with each one of them. These are the basics of advertising and in Ca$hvertising Drew describes actionable tactics every advertising agency should embrace to create successful ads. Also, the definition of successful ad that Drew uses is spot on. Don’t read this book if you want to create the fanciest, smartest ads ever. Drew writes: “The Goal of Advertising Is to Get People to Act” and following this (right) belief, he focuses only on creating ads that will sell your product even if they’re not the smartest, best-looking ones.

Quotes

Whether you want them to ask for more details, shoot you some cash via PayPal, or whip out their Visa, it’s action that makes advertising pay off. Because advertising is not journalism.

Studying psychology to boost the effectiveness of your ads isn’t evil. It simply teaches you: 1. What people want. 2. How they feel about what they want. 3. Why they act as they do.

Fear sells. It motivates. It urges. It moves people to action. It drives them to spend money.

Psychologists tell us there are three primary types of groups, regardless of the group’s purpose: 1. Aspirational—Groups to which you’d like to belong. 2. Associative—Groups that share your ideals and values. 3. Dissociative—Groups to which you do not want to belong.

Just remember, for most products, it’s not the product itself that people want, it’s the bottom-line benefit they’re buying. If people could snap their fingers and magically have a hole appear in the ground, you’d be out of the shovel business.

The question, “Everybody else is doing it, why aren’t you?” exerts a powerful effect on consumers. Human psychology teaches us that no one likes to be left out, and that we’re all driven by a need to belong

Pros

The book is overall great to get started with Advertising and has some tips that will also help pro advertisers.
It’s reach of examples. For every principle Drew provides great examples of how a terrible ad’s copy can be transformed into a great one
It’s fast and enjoyable to read. I finished it in less than three days
It’s very focused on creating ads that generate revenues, not buzz

Cons

Every example is supported by real world studies and data. Unluckily most of the studies are pretty old and pre Internet
It focuses 90% on the ads’ copy providing few insights on the visual aspect
It’s meant to improve printed ads, not digital ones. Not a big deal as most of the principles are valid online as well but you’ll likely skip some chapters.

Vote: 7.5

Author: Drew Eric Whitman
Price: $9.05
Purchase: Amazon Kindle
Pages: 210
Publication Date: November 3, 2008

3 thoughts on “Book Review: CA$HVERTISING”

  1. Thanks Massimo good review i’m always on the lookout for good marketing book recommendations and I’ll certainly check this out, sounds like it would be useful for copywriting advice in particular. Many thanks

    • Glad it was useful Jamie! I have 2 more on the way! Lost 6 Founder by Rand Fishkin and 10x Marketing Formula by Garrett Moon :)

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