The Movies Do It. Radio Does It. Why Don’t You Do It?

Listen to this post:
Want to become an internet entrepreneur? The Art of Twitter will show you how you can make thousands of dollars a month with social media. Click here to learn more.

A few years ago, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin was being slandered by a dangerous whispering campaign. A malicious rumor was being circulated. Advertisers were being told that the newspaper carried too much advertising and too little news, that it was no longer attractive to readers. Immediate action was necessary. The gossip had to be squelched.

But how?

This is the way it was done.

The Bulletin clipped from its regular edition all reading matter of all kinds on one average day, classified it, and published it as a book. The book was called One Day. It contained 307 pages – as many as a two-dollar book; yet the Bulletin had printed all this news and feature material on one day and sold it, not for two dollars, but for two cents.

The printing of that book dramatized the fact that the Bulletin carried an enormous amount of interesting reading matter. It conveyed the facts more vividly, more interestingly, more impressively, than days of figures and mere talk could have done.

Read Showmanship in Business by Kenneth Goode and Zenn Kaufman – an exciting panorama of how showmen are ringing the cash register. It tells how Electrolux sells refrigerators by lighting matches at prospects’ ears to dramatize the silence of their refrigerator… How Personality enters Sears Roebuck catalogues with $1.95 hats auto-graphed by Ann Sothern… How George Wellbaum reveals that when a moving window display is stopped 80 per cent of the audience is lost… How Percy Whiting sells securities by showing prospects two lists of bonds – each worth $1,000 five years ago. He asks prospects which lists they would buy. Presto! Current market figures reveal that one list (his, of course) appreciated. The element of curiosity holds the prospects’ attention… How Mickey Mouse nibbles his way into the Encyclopedia and how his name on toys pulls a factory out of bankruptcy… How Eastern Air Lines packs them in on the sidewalk with a window reproducing the actual control panels of a Douglas air liner… How Harry Alexander excites his salesmen with a broadcast of an imaginary boxing bout between his product and a competitor’s… How a spotlight accidentally falls on a candy display – doubles sales… How Chrysler stands elephants on his cars to prove toughness.

Richard Borden and Alvin Busse of New York University analysed 15,000 sales interviews. They wrote a book entitled How to Win an Argument, then presented the same principles in a lecture, “Six Principles of Selling”. This was subsequently made into a movie and shown before the sales forces of hundreds of large corporations. They not only explain the principles uncovered by their research – but they actually enact them. They wage verbal battles in front of an audience, showing wrong and right ways to make a sale.


This is the day of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship. The movies do it. Radio does it. And you will have to do it if you want attention.

Experts in window display know the trenchant power of dramatization. For example, the manufacturers of a new rat poison gave dealers a window display that included two live rats. The week the rats were shown, sales zoomed to five times their normal rate.


James B. Boynton of The American Weekly had to present a lengthy market report. His firm had just finished an exhaustive study for a leading brand of cold cream. Data was needed immediately on the menace of cut-rates; the prospect was one of the biggest – and most formidable – men in the advertising business.

And already his first approach had failed.

“The first time I went in,” Mr. Boynton admits, “I found myself side-tracked into a futile discussion of the methods used in the investigation. He argued and I argued. He told me I was wrong, and I tried to prove that I was right.

“I finally won my point, to my own satisfaction – but my time was up, the interview was over, and I still hadn’t produced results.

“The second time, I didn’t bother with tabulations of figures and data, I went to see this man, I dramatized my facts.

“As I entered his office, he was busy at the phone. While he finished his conversation, I opened a suit-case and dumped thirty-two jars of cold cream on top of his desk – all products he knew – all competitors of his cream.

“On each jar, I had a tag itemizing the results of the trade investigation, And each tag told its story briefly, dramatically.

“What happened?

“There was no longer an argument. Here was something new, something different. He picked up first one and then another of the cold-cream jars and read the information on the tag. A friendly conversation developed. He asked additional questions. He was intensely interested. He had originally given me only ten minutes to present my facts, but ten minutes passed, twenty minutes, forty minutes, and at the end of an hour we were still talking.

“I was presenting the same facts this time that I had presented previously. But this time I was using dramatization, showmanship – and what a difference it made.”


Therefore, if you want to win people to your way to thinking, Rule 11 is: