“The naked truth is always better than the best-dressed lie.” – Ann Landers

You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.

Yikes. That jingle is so old, it scares me that I know it. Pepsodent used to be the 800-pound gorilla of toothpaste. In 1927, Pepsodent was sold in 52 countries and advertised in 17 different languages. And yet, it was less than 100 years ago that toothpaste was considered a frivolous item … almost impossible to sell.

Claude Hopkins was one of those who “cracked the code” on toothpaste sales. And he “scientifically stumbled” across the marketing formula that made him a million dollars. (Before 1925!)

To his shock – as a seasoned 30-year veteran and master of direct response marketing – much of his winning marketing formula ran counter to everything he had previously learned. (For example, he was shocked to learn that the word “free” reduced response to toothpaste sales. This remains the only case where I have ever seen that to be true.)

The wisdom he passed on from his Pepsodent experience? “What is the lesson? It is that none of us can afford to rely on judgment or experience … After this experience, I can cite a hundred ways to advertise a tooth paste wrongly. Pepsodent offers the best argument I know for being guided by actual data.”

What kind of actual data? Every ad, measured. Every lead, measured. Every sale, measured.

Of course, you should always start out with what we “know” to be true. But the breakthroughs come from accurate and scientific testing, testing, testing.

For more of Mr. Hopkins, and a book that you should very much check out, go here: