Take the Outrageous Path to Outrageous Success

You can (and should) always be different with your advertising. Because when you are… you accomplish your #1 goal.


OUTRAGEOUS doesn’t always mean getting wild (like me on the cover of my newest book, where I’m wearing a straightjacket). It can be as simple as changing the font in a letter you send to prospective customers so it looks like you wrote it with your own hand.

Thinking Differently

The clutter of advertising messages can be overwhelming to your prospect. But by cutting through it and understanding that there are only three possible responses — “yes,” “maybe,” or “no” — you have the best chance of getting a “yes” or “maybe” if you do something OUTRAGEOUS enough to get noticed.

For example, I owned some menswear stores before I became a marketing strategist. And to promote one of our sales, I decided to write a handwritten letter to my customers.


But my letter was more than just handwritten. It appeared to have been written extemporaneously — with big letters and small, wildly drawn parentheses, scratch-outs, and hand-drawn arrows pointing to a side note. And it was on yellow legal pad paper.

Plus, get this — it was five pages!

C’mon! No one sends out a five-page handwritten sales letter! No one! I mean, who would read it?

Well, it turned out that lots of people read it. But more on the results later. First, take a look at the letter.

OUTrageous Produces Results From… EVERYONE

You might find it interesting to know that this five-page handwritten letter won the prestigious Multi-Media RAC Award at the 2002 Retail Advertising Conference.

But winning an award doesn’t pay the bills. Money pays the bills, and this advertisement was my most successful ever.

In fact, from 1996 to 2006, I delivered 18 direct-mail campaigns per year, each and every year. That totals 180 different campaigns. While most of them were successful, the five-page handwritten sales letter printed on yellow paper received the highest response of any of them.

Who responded? Presidents of banks. Board members of Fortune 1000 companies. Accountants, doctors, and lawyers. They came to our sale because there was a piece of mail in their mailbox that could not be ignored.

It looked handwritten. It looked important. So when the bank president/doctor/lawyer came home from work, his wife gave him an envelope and she said (we were later told), “You’ve got to see this. It looks important.”

And it was important. OUTRAGEOUSLY important!

Now think about that. People who you would think would not respond to five pages of UGLY handwriting responded. These are educated, professional, affluent people — and they responded to a handwritten sales letter.

Whenever I do a presentation at a seminar and show many of my OUTRAGEOUS examples to attendees, one or two of them always come up to me afterward and say… “While what you showed us was great, my customers won’t respond to that kind of advertising. They’re too sophisticated for it.”

No, they’re not! If it’s interesting, people will respond to it. Everyone responds to OUTRAGEOUS advertising.

That’s exactly why I wrote my recent bestselling book about OUTRAGEOUS advertising. Ninety-nine percent of small-business owners and entrepreneurs are dissatisfied with the results they get from their current advertising. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember, EVERYONE responds to OUTRAGEOUS advertising.

OUTRAGEOUS Ideas Are Everywhere

Once I started developing the concept of OUTRAGEOUS advertising, I was always looking for opportunities to use it. Mostly because it works. But partly because it’s fun.

I often view my vacations as marketing opportunities. For example, when my wife and I were on vacation in Greece, I had a picture snapped of me on a donkey. I put it on a postcard and sent it to the customers of my menswear stores and the members of the Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle.

It made for big laughs and big sales. Below is a photo of that postcard:

One of my best marketing campaigns stemmed from a cruise my wife and I took to Alaska. Prior to the cruise, I saw a postcard of the ship with Alaska in the background. I liked it. I thought it would be a nice thing to send to my customers.

But first, I wanted to OUTRAGEOUSLY personalize it. So on the front of the postcard, I wrote this: “Even when I’m on vacation, I’m thinking of you…” Then, atop the cruise ship, I drew a little stick figure with an arrow pointing to it that said “ME.”

And on the back of the postcard, I put a coupon for $10 off any purchase with a “respond by” date.

I had 10,146 customers. So I went to my printer and had them print up 10,146 of these postcards. I had the cards addressed and stamped. But since I was actually headed to Alaska, of course I wanted them to have an Anchorage postmark.

When my wife and I arrived at our hotel in Anchorage, I went up to the desk clerk and asked if I could mail postcards there. She smiled and said, “Sure.” So I reached down and picked up my box of 10,146 postcards. I smiled back and said, “I wrote them all last night — and my arm is killing me!”

Needless to say, we all had a big laugh. And when my wife and I returned home from our cruise, I found out that the postcard campaign had been a huge success.

As I said… OUTRAGEOUS advertising not only works, it is fun! In fact, it became the most enjoyable and fun thing I ever did in my business.

Try it and see for yourself.