Sales tips from the goat gland guy
Making Them Believe: The 21 Principles and Lost Secrets of Dr. J. R. Brinkley-Style Marketing by Dan S. Kennedy and Chip Kessler (Glazer-Kennedy Publishing trade paper, 2010, 304 pages, $19.95)
Brief review by Rob Neufeld
Congressman Felix Walker’s long-windedness in “speaking for Buncombe” in 1820 may be one of the most enduring publicity flaps in local history. After all, “bunkum” is in the dictionary.
But Dr. J. R. Brinkley, Jackson County-raised entrepreneur, is a contender with his early twentieth century version of Viagra—goat glands. He made millions, thanks partly to revolutionary marketing techniques.
In 2008, Pope Brock wrote a compelling biography about Brinkley, titled “Charlatan.” Now, two flamboyant and successful businessmen, Dan Kennedy and Chip Kessler (who married into the Brinkley family), boldly celebrate Brinkley’s boldness with “Making Them Believe: The 21 Principles and Lost Secrets of Dr. J. R. Brinkley-Style Marketing.”
Brinkley’s greatest secret, Kennedy reveals, was having his clients “desire to believe” in a product so strongly that they abandoned critical thinking.
Kessler, who writes alternating chapters, sets that notion up with a story about Brinkley’s first sale in 1917. Brinkley had already moved to Kansas.
Bill Stittsworth, a farmer, complained to Brinkley of lack of pep in bed. Goat parts were surgically added to Stittsworth’s make up. Billy Stittsworth Jr. resulted. Brinkley then had a hook to tap people’s overwhelming desire for offspring as well as for performance.
Modern marketers have followed Brinkley’s lead, the authors demonstrate, by tapping people’s desires to be accepted and loved as hooks for a slew of miracles.