Award-Winning Copywriter

Alt-health ad Breakdown | Gary Halbert – “Miracle Diet Pill”

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Hey there everybody.

You’re gonna like this…

I was on the Gary Halbert Letter studying for my copywriting and I found this ad that he wrote for the alternative health niche. I hadn’t seen it anywhere else, it’s pretty short and was crazy-effective.

Gary said that it got five to six times the ad spend, which is pretty impressive. And I figured, “you know what? I’ve never seen this before, so I want to break it down and see what makes it work.” Because short to-the-point ads are perfect for that. You get to see what the bare essentials are that make things run… when you only have limited space, what do you do?

I had a lot of fun with this and it turned out to be pretty interesting, so I wanted to share it with you… whether you’re in the health niche or not, there’s a lot that you can get from this.

So let’s, let’s dive right in. Click here to follow along in the document or check out the video below!

(Now this is the disclaimer. I’m not evaluating this ad on compliance. Just going to put that out there. I’m looking at it from a persuasion perspective. So…disclaimer.)

Gary Halbert wrote this ad for Nutramerica. I don’t think it’s around anymore, but they did all sorts of alternative health products. And this particular one was a diet pill.

Superscript: stops hunger 100%.

Gary goes straight for the throat on this. Hunger is probably the number one objection to most diet solutions. People don’t like being hangry and people don’t like being around people who are hangry… So if you can lose weight without being hangry, that’s a big plus.

Headline: Amazing high-speed diet pill produces extremely fast weight loss.

This attacks two very important points that people need in the sales process.

  1. They like things that are fast
  2. They like things that are easy.

And so “high-speed” “extremely fast” right out of the gate.

And then that’s what makes the diet pill so attractive. It doesn’t matter that it’s a pill… who cares.?It could be anything, but the fact that it’s a pill means that it’s easy. It means that you take this little thing, you drink it with water and it’s like, magically things start happening. That’s why diet pills are so popular.

So we got some really pack-a-punch headlines here.

And then we get into the body. The defining quality I would say of these first sections are the power words.

I’m not going to go through everyone, but especially for this niche, there are some really, really good gold nuggets here.

  • “all natural”
  • “extremely fast acting”
  • “miracle”

You can go through and you can just find all sorts of great words. But I wanted to point out here is:

“flood of letters to the small company that developed it”

What they’re trying to do here? Gary is trying to generate a little bit of social proof, a little bit of buzz.

So if you’re reading this letter and you’re like, “oh, you know, a flood of letters are coming in because people like it. People want it. Maybe I want it to…” it’s a, it’s a bandwagon effect.

And then here I don’t know that this would fly anymore…

One doctor says it burns off more fat than running 98 miles per week.

Probably nowadays you’d at least have to include the name of the doctor insight the study, but it’s a really impressive claim. And this demonstrates a principle in copywriting, which is: never separate your promise from your proof.

Now this is not the strongest proof obviously, but when you use the word “doctor”, there’s a proven increase of trust in your advertising. It’s a weak form of proof, but again, it demonstrates the principle.

Then comes the “reason why” section. This is about creating credibility for the claims Gary is making.

There are seven highly unusual and extremely hard-to-find ingredients.

You read this whole ad… you still don’t know what’s in this pill. I don’t know if that’s okay these days, but you have no idea what’s inside of it. But Gary does hint at the unique mechanism. And the unique mechanism is what makes this diet pill special and why you should get this diet pill and not another diet pill…

He explains:

it’s because of a thermogenic interaction with all of the other ingredients… combined in a certain scientific way…

Not really giving away a whole lot here, but he’s trying to hint at why this is unique…

Because these unique, mysterious seven ingredients are combined in a very unique and mysterious way to give you these incredible results.

And then he gives a few proof elements. He talks about “scientific testing” and “sophisticated scientific testing” and all the while he’s going back and hitting these major benefits of extremely rapid weight loss…

Proof, promise, proof, promise, proof, promise.

It’s a great structure.

Now, the end of the first column and the second column are all about building credibility…

He describes (but does not reveal) each of the seven elements in this advertisement. Hnever gives it away, but he starts by saying “one of them a is designed to maximize your body’s metabolic process…” And then he goes on to describe the other ones, not giving away anything, but trying to get you interested.

You see, if you give specifics, you enhance your credibility. That’s what he’s trying to do there. And then he talks about how this diet pill is:

trademarked and patented by the United States, federal authorities

This provides credibility. It makes you feel safe, even though you don’t know what’s in it, even though you don’t know exactly what this thing does, at least it’s protected by a patent by the United States, federal authorities, big promise, big proof.

Next item of interest is a strategic “if-then” statement…

Sometimes if you give a very simple qualification to achieve the promise, it makes believing the promise a little bit more believable. So it says:

take this pill with water three times per day for five days a week, and you can eat anything you want…

Unbelievable promise, right? “You can eat anything you want and lose weight”, but he gives this little qualifier. And Gary Bencivenga talks about how, if you provide a little qualifier, even if it’s just really easy, it somehow disarms our skepticism… it makes us more open to believing even outrageous claims…

…not to say that this is an outrageous claim. I sincerely hope that it does work as well as it was advertised.

But that’s the principle there.

Next up… future pacing!

People who have tested this pill say they rejoice almost every day as they look in their mirror and see the visible results of unwanted fat flab and cellulite totally disappear…

Future pacing, because this is the result that people want to have. And so Gary is painting that picture in their mind. It’s also a form of social proof because this is an indirect testimonial. As in: “people who have bought this product to say that they rejoice every day.” It’s also a little bit of a trigger, or maybe you could call it anchor imagery. When they look in the mirror, there are certain visible signs that people have that they associate with certain things.

And one of them losing weight is you look in the mirror and you love what you see.

So if you can use those visible anchors, visible triggers to create an emotional response in the mind, that’s a really powerful thing you can put in your advertising. And that’s what Gary is doing here. “Look in the mirror”, get that trigger going so that people can visualize for themselves.

Oh, I love this part. This part is good…

He explains that because this weight pill works so well… and there’s a tendency in this country (USA) for women to want to be so dangerously thin…

You must be careful not to lose weight too rapidly.

I call this a “win bigly” and that’s a reference to exactly who you think it is.

It’s a reference to his speech where he said, “we’re going to win so much. You’re going to get tired of winning.” And that’s exactly what Gary is saying here. He says, “you’re going to lose so much weight. You’re going to have to be careful how much weight you lose.”

I really like it, it’s entertaining… and even though it can be a little unbelievable at times, but it can be an effective tool and even add some humor to the situation.

And right before that, he hit another big pain point for the alternative health market, which is:

it has no side effects.

A lot of times people go to alternative health because they don’t like the side effects of conventional medicine. And so he does a good job to call that out.

This is followed by a staple of Gary’s… The DOUBLE your money back guarantee…

Now, the thing about this is that the double, your money-back guarantee is almost exclusively a conditional guarantee. Meaning, “yeah, you’ll get double your money back… but only if you check all of the boxes and prove that you followed the instructions…” Which is completely fair…

Gary walks us through it… He says,

If you are not satisfied with the results, simply…

  1. return the empty product container. (condition 1)
  2. with a short note about how you took the pills. (condition 2)
  3. followed the simple instructions (condition 3)

So it’s three conditions needed to get the double, your money-back guarantee.

Now, when you add conditions, most people won’t do them. So even if you do a double your money-back guarantee, if you make it conditional, I don’t have access to the studies, but the leaders in the field say that your returns do not go up. In fact… they go DOWN

Even if you have an outrageous guarantee, like double your money back, they just don’t go up because people trust you more. They’re less likely to mark their calendar “Be sure to return the product.” They’re just not thinking about it.

And now we come to the close, which is exactly what it sounds like. And it starts with a very user-friendly call to action:

simple and easy to order. All you have to do is call toll-free and enter your credit card information.

This is an often overlooked aspect of an effective advertisement that Gary Bencivenga to be one of the only four things that you need to write an effective ad… a user-friendly call to action.

And then it gives the various options that you they offer the prospect.

You have the small, then you have the medium and you have the large, and as usual, the large is the best value.

You want this to be a no-brainer thing. You don’t want people ordering the small or the medium, especially not the medium. Because if you get more people ordering the higher value, then you’re going to be able to spend more on advertising because your cost per order is going to be significantly lower… comparatively speaking,

And then the last thing here,

orders will be shipped within 24 hours.

So he’s showing a little bit of light in the darkness. People don’t like being left in the dark. As soon as you order. within 24 hours, your package will be shipped. It’s fast and it keeps them in the loop. People like that…

And then the last thing he leaves is

first come first serve.

He mentions that create a sense of natural scarcity, natural urgency. “If you don’t call now, this is on a first come first serve basis. So there’s no telling if we’ll have anything left by the time you order.”

And then he gives the phone number.

If you liked this breakdown, please share it on social media and do all of the “liking” things to make the algorithm happy…

Or leave a comment below!

Kind regards,

Mike Cassman

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