Six Business Lessons From ‘Claude C Hopkins’ and his ‘Scientific Advertising’

Shah Mohammed
12 min readJul 14, 2018

Claude C. Hopkins (1866–1932) was one of the great advertising pioneers. He showed many companies how to sell their products. He was famous for building the habit of ‘brushing’ the teeth daily, among millions of people through ‘Pepsodent’ ads. One of the main reasons for his success was that he lived as one of his product’s users. He lived among those users. He knew about them very well. He understood their needs, desires and behaviours better than any other advertiser. That helped him a lot.

Claude Hopkins had written about his experiences and lessons in the book ‘Scientific Advertising’ and the following content is predominantly from this book.


H.P.Crowell, of ‘The Quaker Oats Company’ was struggling to sell a couple of his products, ‘Puffed Rice’ and ‘Wheatberries’. Every expert advised him to drop the products from his catalogue as selling them would be infeasible. Crowell finally approached Claude C. Hopkins.

Hopkins did a detailed research. He was looking for some remarkability that could be used to promote the product. Remarkability, that could arise curiosity in a consumer’s mind- Something out of ordinary, unusual, interesting and worthy of attention by consumers.

During research, Hopkins learnt how Professor Anderson accidentally discovered ‘puffed’ grains. He studied the process of making the puffed grains. He saw how every food cell was exploded resulting in multiplication of grains to eight times normal size. He saw how every atom was made available for consumption. He was ‘astonished’ to see grains being shot from the guns while making puffed grains. And then… the ‘light’ blinked in his mind — The Remarkability — Shot from the gun! — He coined the phrase “Food shot from the gun”. He was sure that this phrase would arouse curiosity. He saw a couple of other remarkable…