Breakthrough Advertising Summary – Best Advertising Book On Copywriting?

If you have time to read one book on advertising, choose Breakthrough Advertising. This book is written based on experience and real-life practices. So, if you’re looking for takeaways that make total sense, this is the book for you.

The author Eugene M. Schwartz wrote this ad copywriting book in 1966. Back then, his ideas were new to the industry. Fast forward to a few years later, the concepts shared in this book were advanced and supported by researchers and theorists. This only goes to prove that experience is truly the best teacher.

Breakthrough Advertising Summary

To give you an idea of what the book is all about, check out the Breakthrough Advertising summary below.

breakthrough advertising summary - Eugene M. Schwartz

According to the author, there are two main ways of building your business: making new products and creating a need for them or making a product around people’s current needs. This book focuses on the second method. It acknowledges the different needs of people, and to build a successful product that these people would want; you need to complement it with their desires.

According to the author, marketing is not meant to create desire among the masses. Instead, it’s meant to acknowledge and embrace these desires, fears, dreams, and hopes. These are natural feelings that exist in people.

As a successful marketer, your role is to drive these desires into a specific product or service. Furthermore, the author added that it would take years for the masses to develop a collective passion. These are usually shaped by technological, economic, and social factors that are often too complicated for regular businesses to handle.

According to Schwartz, it’s impossible even for the wealthiest advertiser to spend their resources to drive business. He added that the desire you need to work on in your marketing strategies must be existing. These desires are not something you can fight or create.

Best ideas from Breakthrough Advertising Summarized

Here are a few ideas from the Breakthrough Advertising

Start by identifying the most powerful human desire around your product

A specific product can meet a lot of desires. However, the author argues that you should base your product positioning on one powerful human desire. Your marketing team should understand that they have to identify the strongest desire. After which, they also need to determine what are the things the company’s products should work on to address these desires by answering these questions:

  • How solid and urgent is the desire you identified?
  • How long will this intense desire last, and how often does it manifest?
  • How many people share this desire? Is it common?

The phase that involves identifying this desire is essential in coming up with a specific product marketing strategy. Your subsequent marketing communications will be based on these decisions.

Instead of controlling these desires, it’s best to focus and direct them on a specific product. A telling example of these needs is Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It says that before you can progress to higher demand, you need to meet your basic survival needs like water, food, safety, and water.

Once you satisfy these lower-tier needs, you can move to a higher need like the need for self-esteem, belongingness, and self-actualization. In countries with developed economies, basic needs are easily met. Hence, the needs they’re satisfying are emotional.

Create a novel product call-to-action

This Breakthrough Advertising summary also suggests that after identifying the strongest, most intense desire around a specific product, you need to offer ways to satisfy these desires. This is where product messaging comes in. Its purpose is to connect the product sold and the prospects.

Schwartz suggests the following powerful product awareness messaging as call-to-action:

  • Make people aware of the desire, cite the problems they need to solve and introduce the product
  • Awaken the people’s desire but don’t address the exact problem
  • Show people different desires that need to be addressed

Regardless of the method you choose, you will have the opportunity to awaken the desire and tell the market what you’re selling.

Highlight the actual benefits of the products

According to this Breakthrough Advertising summary, you don’t stop at showing people these strong desires and not doing anything about it. That would be anti-climactic. The next step would be to highlight the product benefits. In doing so, make sure that it satisfies the desire you awakened.

People don’t just buy anything, most especially the steel in cars. However, the automobile industry is good at providing ways to make people think they need cars. So, they highlight the need to move his family with ease.

Apart from that, they highlight the car’s dependability. You can rely on it without being inconvenienced, embarrassed, or burdened with repairs. They also highlight the economic benefits from the vehicle – it’s durable, has cheaper insurance costs, and has a better trade-in value.

When you master these steps, you can sell whatever product and be successful at it.

Who should read vs. who shouldn’t read Breakthrough Advertising?

Those in the advertising and marketing industries are the apparent target markets of this book. If you want to make marketing campaigns that sell, you need to learn from the expert. Please read this book, take note of the strategies shared, and apply them to your projects. You can never go wrong with these principles.

This book is for a specific audience. So, if you’re not interested in business and you’re not planning to widen your perspective by simply reading something out of your line of interest, then this is not for you. However, if you want to be empowered despite not currently dabbling in sales, marketing, or anything business-related, I strongly suggest you read the book.

Review of the book Breakthrough Advertising

The lessons and strategies you learn from Breakthrough Advertising are not only meant for business. It can be used in life as well. It tells us more about the needs of human beings like us.

It also opens our eyes to these needs and how businesses capitalize on these needs to sell products. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. All I want to point out is this – if we know what we want, we can choose better.

The same is true for businesses. If the company knows exactly what it wants from its target market, it can sell better. Why? Simply because they can align their products and marketing efforts to fit these needs.

At the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation for both parties.

Should I read the complete book?

Through this Breakthrough Advertising summary, I hope you gain a better insight into this book.

The straight and downright answer to this question is yes; you should complete reading the book because you can learn a lot from it. Especially in the marketing and advertising industries, the book can be your guidebook in all your marketing endeavors.

It’s easy to follow because of all the examples and explanations. So, you can also easily apply these concepts in your campaigns.

Marilyn Nissen
Written by Marilyn Nissen

Marilyn Nissen is the founder of, a highly reputable book summary and reviews website. With over a decade of experience in summarizing and reviewing books, Marilyn is a trusted authority in the book industry.