Did Gary Halbert Consider Himself The Best Copywriter?

by 17 replies
It is undeniable that Gary Halbert was one of the greatest copywriters of all time and an inspiration to a great many. Not taking anything away from that, I must ask however, why is Gary Halbert considered to be THE greatest copywriter of all time when at least three different times he himself said that there were copywriters better than him?

(1) He said that Claude Hopkins was the greatest ad man who ever lived. The Gary Halbert Letter

(2) Concerning the other Gary - Gary Bencivenga he said, "Many people think Gary Bencivenga is the best copywriter on earth. And, believe it or not, it's hard for even me to dispute that." Gary Halbert, The Gary Halbert Letter (12/29/93 issue, page 7) Marketing Bullets

(3) Concerning Michel Fortin he said As far as Michael Fortin goes, I have to grudgingly admit he is hands-down the best sales letter writer on the entire Internet. The Gary Halbert Letter

Yes, there were times he said he himself was the best and other times when he reluctantly but graciously pointed in another direction. A couple of others are touted as the best too besides those Gary Halbert mentioned. What do you think?
#copywriting #best copywriter #copywriter #gary #greatest copywriter #halbert
Avatar of Unregistered
  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    Among those four guys it's a fool's errand trying to
    make the case that any is better than the others.
    Signature
    If you knew what I know you'd be doing what I do...
  • Profile picture of the author SARubin
    Most top copywriters, like most top sales people, have a certain amount of "big ego." I would imagine that right after Gary got the results from a wining control piece, he may have temporarily thought of himself as "the greatest?" (I know I've been guilty of such ego based thoughts, on occasion)

    But once the high wears off, then we all must come back down to earth. At that point he likely remembered that he's "among the greatest" copywriters, but surely not the only one.

    A lot of it also has to do with what style of copy you are looking at.

    For example: Eugene Schwartz was brilliant (probably one of the best ever) at writing sales letters to sell books. But I'm not sure he could ever compete with the likes of Perry Marshall when it comes to creating Google adword campaigns.

    And who among us could compete against John Carlton, when it comes to selling golf equipment?

    Basically, I agree with @Tsnyder... "it's a fool's errand trying to make the case that any one top dog is better than the others."
    Signature

    SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Advertising and Marketing Aficionado

  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by peare7 View Post

    It is undeniable that Gary Halbert was one of the greatest copywriters of all time and an inspiration to a great many. Not taking anything away from that, I must ask however, why is Gary Halbert considered to be THE greatest copywriter of all time when at least three different times he himself said that there were copywriters better than him?

    (1) He said that Claude Hopkins was the greatest ad man who ever lived. The Gary Halbert Letter

    (2) Concerning the other Gary - Gary Bencivenga he said, "Many people think Gary Bencivenga is the best copywriter on earth. And, believe it or not, it's hard for even me to dispute that." Gary Halbert, The Gary Halbert Letter (12/29/93 issue, page 7) Marketing Bullets

    (3) Concerning Michel Fortin he said As far as Michael Fortin goes, I have to grudgingly admit he is hands-down the best sales letter writer on the entire Internet. The Gary Halbert Letter

    Yes, there were times he said he himself was the best and other times when he reluctantly but graciously pointed in another direction. A couple of others are touted as the best too besides those Gary Halbert mentioned. What do you think?
    Doesn't matter if he did or didn't... he wasn't.
  • Profile picture of the author Fras
    You are always best copy writer. When you note others action in deep way.
  • Profile picture of the author peare7
    Thanks for the comments and insight, guys.
    Signature

    "Most people, sometime in their lives, stumble across truth. Most jump up, brush themselves off, and hurry on about their business as if nothing had happened." (Winston Churchill)

  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    No offense but - why does it matter?
    Signature

    For women ONLY...start getting what you want, when you want it. Join the Club.

    • Profile picture of the author SARubin
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      No offense but - why does it matter?
      It doesn't really matter. I think the OP was just tryin' to start a friendly little chat by asking the question.


      If only there was some magical platform where people could exchange ideas, and even ask rhetorical questions just to stimulate creative thought. How wonderful would that be?

      We could even give the platform a pithy, or catchy name. (Oh, I dunno... maybe call it sumthin' like... "a forum?")
      Signature

      SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Advertising and Marketing Aficionado

  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Maybe I'm just the party pooper LOL. I don't understand the point of trying to guess what someone who's deceased may or may not have thought of himself.

    I'm much more interested in what living people (preferably prospects) think.
    Signature

    For women ONLY...start getting what you want, when you want it. Join the Club.

    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      Maybe I'm just the party pooper LOL. I don't understand the point of trying to guess what someone who's deceased may or may not have thought of himself.

      I'm much more interested in what living people (preferably prospects) think.
      Yep, dead people have no ability to give you money.

      What prospects and buyers think of us,
      now that's where the fun and money is.

      Best,
      Ewen
    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      In that case, know that there's no better copywriter in my entire house than me, living, dead or invisible.

      But, if we left my house alone, I'd like to know who people on this forum think is the best (living or dead) copywriter and why.

      Because I can't make up my mind. I read/see/hear an ad/book by one great copywriter and he/she is the best till I read/see/hear another copywriter's words.


      [QUOTE=angiecolee;11020109

      I'm much more interested in what living people (preferably prospects) think.[/QUOTE]
    • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      Maybe I'm just the party pooper LOL. I don't understand the point of trying to guess what someone who's deceased may or may not have thought of himself.

      I'm much more interested in what living people (preferably prospects) think.
      "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

      Sometimes it's just fun to engage in a little idle speculation. No harm, no foul.
      Signature
      If you knew what I know you'd be doing what I do...
  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Gary Halbert was a Genius at Copywriting, no doubt. I really love the following headline:

    Wife Of Famous Movie Star Swears
    Under Oath Her New Perfume Does Not
    Contain An Illegal Sexual Stimulant

    You can read more about Gary's adventure in creaing that amazing Ad here:

    The Gary Halbert Letter

    Jonathan
    Signature
    "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
  • Profile picture of the author michaelscollins
    I believe Gary Halbert considered himself the greatest living copywriter at the time, and I personally believe he was right... obviously opinions differ.

    1) Claude Hopkins is the undeniable god of "reason why" advertising, and was maybe the second most influential copywriter at the Lord & Thomas agency, which is the most influential ad agency ever. I think John E. Kennedy influenced Lord & Thomas more, because he taught Albert Lasker (the "father of American advertising") the principals of reason why advertising to begin with. But Claude Hopkins took Kennedy's principals and absolutely perfected them. He is in a league of his own.

    2) Whether Gary Bencivenga or Gary Halbert is better than one or the other is pretty much impossible to say. As far as I know they played slightly different games. Gary Bencivenga made his fortune writing for the big mailers like Phillips. I think Gary Halbert did write for some of these, but he also was a crazy ass copywriter/entrepreneur hybrid who could take a list, write an ad and make a ******* fortune.

    Gary Halbert achieved the pinnacle of a copywriter– he wrote a letter that could be mailed to every name in the yellow pages profitably. Gary Bencivenga wrote some pieces that mailed over 100,000,000x. But even he didn't reach this level.

    3) Michael Fortin is a phenomenal internet copywriter, but couldn't hold a candle to Halbert in direct mail, a very different medium, which Gary Halbert basically revolutionized.
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    I believe Gary Halbert considered himself the greatest living copywriter at the time, and I personally believe he was right... obviously opinions differ.
    Statements like the one above are hero worship more than anything.

    You're not privy to the needed information on which to base a reasoned opinion.

    And then there's the other masters of Halbert's era... Jim Rutz, Mel Martin, Ted Nicholas, and Joe Sugarman... just to name a few. Did you consider their work when forming your opinion?

    Alex
  • Profile picture of the author abuhasan12
    Banned
    [DELETED]

Trending Topics