‘Portrait of a True Info-Marketing Hero’ by Daniel Levis
Clayton Makepeace has released the latest issue of ‘Total Package’. The featured article by Daniel Levis is titled “Portrait of a True Info-Marketing Hero”. [Article]
Clayton Makepeace has released the latest issue of ‘Total Package’.
The featured article:
Portrait of a True Info-Marketing Hero
by Daniel Levis
Dear Web Business-Builder,
When I read John Forde’s excellent article on J.I. Rodale a couple of weeks back, one point in particular struck me like a ton of bricks. And that was the level of adversity Rodale endured and overcame throughout his career.
As John indicates in the article, “his first SEVERAL efforts were flops. They included a miserably unpopular humor magazine (closed after one issue) … some health digests … and a book of randomly accumulated health facts. From 1923 to 1940, nothing seemed to work.”
Rodale struggled for 17 long years before anything seemed to work. SEVENTEEN freakin’ years!
Today, most people give up on a business idea after 17 days – if not seventeen minutes.
He didn’t flinch in the face of obstacles and adversity. And that, I think, was the real secret of his enormous success – which incidentally didn’t come until 10 years later, in 1950, when he finally broke through with Prevention Magazine.
Many of us here are professional copywriters and info-marketers, but I’m guessing few appreciate the debt we all owe Rodale’s dogged determination to prevail at all costs …
Even after building his fledgling operation into the world’s largest alternative health publishing company, he kept that spirit … tirelessly risking the substantial fortune he’d built to bring new ideas on health and healing to the American public. Ideas he believed in passionately.
One such idea, in particularly,
got him in scalding hot water …
Rodale believed that a sedentary lifestyle, and a diet rich in red meat and dairy products were detrimental to heart health.
In 1954, he published two books, How to Eat for a Healthy Heart, and The Pace is Not Killing Us that advised the American public to eat less red meat and dairy. And to stay active, even if one had been diagnosed with heart trouble.
It seems hard to believe today, but at the time, these books challenged accepted wisdom about heart disease.
Governments were spending millions of dollars encouraging the consumption of red meat and dairy, daily … presumably at the behest of powerful lobby groups like the American Cattleman’s Association.
And the American Medical Association was influencing doctors to advise heart patients to reduce or outright curtail physical activity, presumably so drug companies could pump them full of dangerous, high-margin “maintenance” drugs.
Rodale believed this was bad advice, and he said so. But getting his books into people’s hands proved problematic.
Like so many other high-profile people in the entertainment and literary fields who had anything unusual to say at the time, Rodale suddenly found himself on one of the many McCarthy-inspired black lists of suspected red sympathizers.
And this made it all but impossible to distribute his books through the large New York publishers. None would touch his new books with a ten-foot pole.
Rodale also had direct connections with a network of bookstores. But they too, refused to have anything to do with these controversial new books. Strange times to be sure …
Most people would have taken the hint and given up. Not Rodale. Undaunted, he decided to go direct to the consumer.
Full-page ads pitching his new books soon emblazoned newspapers nationwide.
Within days, the FTC joined the witch hunt and came
down on Rodale like a 1000 lb. s%#t hammer …
They charged his ads contained unsubstantiated claims detrimental to the public interest, and demanded they be pulled from circulation.
This made Rodale even more determined. And what he prepared to do next set an important precedent that to this day underpins our entire industry …
Immediately, the FTC took him to task at hearings that demanded Rodale provide proof that people following the advice in his books would reduce their risk of heart attack.
At these hearings, the feds called in medical experts who testified that there was no correlation between the consumption of large amounts of red meat and dairy, and heart attack … and that following Rodale’s advice on remaining physically active could prove fatal to heart disease sufferers. The FTC examiner ruled against Rodale.
Rodale appealed on the grounds that the First Amendment prohibited the FTC from regulating information-based products. It was a powerful argument, because the first amendment guarantees freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.
Fearing their original ruling would be overthrown on constitutional grounds, the FTC refused to air the case.
Instead, in closed-door sessions, and without notification, they trumped up new charges that Rodale’s sales copy failed to accurately represent the content of his books. Rodale was then convicted of this new charge, and his ads were effectively censored into oblivion.
A man can be destroyed,
but not defeated …
““ Ernest Hemingway
Bloodied and battered, Rodale refused to give up and carried his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals, where it dragged on for the next several years. He was resolute in his conviction, determined to take the issue all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
Eventually, Rodale’s high-priced legal team was able to finagle new testimony from the same medical experts that helped discredit Rodale’s books.
These new statements actually refuted their original testimony. And eventually it became clear that over the years many of Rodale’s pie-in-the-sky theories had later become established medical facts.
The FTC withdrew its case, and eventually amended its policy to no longer require information product publishers to establish the efficacy of their claims.
This ruling, and the precedent Rodale helped set, was instrumental in creating the relatively unfettered regulatory environment we info-marketers enjoy today … and that has allowed the incredible growth in our industry since Rodale’s time.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to J.I. for being such a hard-headed son of a three-eyed beef steak. These days, it’s damn hard to find somebody who exhibits the same strength of character and ironed-willed faith that he did.
Here was a man who dared to stand
for something larger than himself …
He genuinely cared about the ideas and principles he wrote about, and the people he communicated them too.
His conviction to his own personal ideals – and even more importantly, his willingness to sacrifice, and sweat, and risk for them – was ultimately the source of his incredible wealth and success.
It rallied people around him. It empowered him to build a strong and enduring corporate culture, and brand. And most importantly, it allowed him to become a hero to millions of devout followers of his alternative health crusade.
That’s the kind of character we need to find in ourselves as info-marketers. And it is exactly the kind of characterization we need to dig out of our clients as copywriters.
It’s up to us to find that heroism, and inspire people with it. And with heroism, comes adversity and conflict. They are inseparable.
The more success Rodale enjoyed, the more
adversity and conflict he was willing to endure …
Most people dream of a day when they will become rich and successful. And when that day comes, they figure they’ll be living on easy street.
But that’s not how things work on this planet.
With each new level of success comes more adversity, not less.
And if you’re not continually expanding your capacity to endure that struggle, to relish the challenge it represents, your prosperity will be short lived.
That’s why so few people are truly successful. They’re simply unwilling to endure the pain and suffering success demands.
Until next time, Good Selling!
Editor, The Web Marketing Advisor
THE TOTAL PACKAGE
Daniel Levis is a top marketing consultant & direct response copywriter based in Toronto, Canada and publisher of the world famous copywriting anthology Masters of Copywriting featuring the selling wisdom of 44 of the “Top Money” marketing minds of all time, including Clayton Makepeace, Dan Kennedy, Joe Sugarman, John Carlton, Joe Vitale, Michel Fortin, Richard Armstrong and dozens more! For a FREE excerpt visit http://www.SellingtoHumanNature.com.
He is also one of the leading Web conversion experts operating online today, and originator of the 5R System (TM), a strategic process for engineering enhanced Internet profits. For a free overview of Daniel’s system, click here.
Attribution Statement: This article was first published in The Total Package. To sign-up to receive your own FREE subscription to The Total Package and claim four FREE money making e-books go to www.makepeacetotalpackage.com.
The Total Package
*IMNewsWatch would like to thank Clayton Makepeace for granting permission to reprint this article.
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