I was asked if Haanel spread himself around in publications as Hill did.
Well, it doesn’t seem so. Haanel knew he was onto a gold mine and he expected people to pay pay pay for what he was selling. While I haven’t yet come across any freebie bylined pieces by Haanel, I sure have evidence of his high-powered selling of his Master Key System!
From a 1919 issue of The Independent:
From a 1920 issue of Popular Science:
Blame Google ScanOps for that trimmed text.
The above were all full-page ads.
From 1919 and 1920 issues of Association Men, a publication of the YMCA (pages 2, 66, 138, 202, 274, 338), Haanel took ads that were two-thirds of a page but were placed on the masthead page. I’ve trimmed these down to just the ads:
From 1919 and 1920 issues of the The Western Journal of Education, Haanel repeated one ad four times (here, here, here, and here) and it took up about a quarter of a page, which I’ve trimmed down to the ad itself:
From an 1893 issue of American Printer and Lithographer, we learn this about the beginnings of Haanel:
I’m not even sure how to translate that into our modern dollar. Ten million dollars, maybe? At any rate, he spent a lot of it on ads!
The concept of a “master key” to life was a rage back then. It’s unclear to me if the New Thought permutation of it originated with Haanel. A sketchy fellow named L. W. de Laurence published a book in 1916 called The Master Key too — and he went full-blast with design:
He didn’t seem to have the advertising budget of Haanel, but he sure was prolific when it came to ad copy:
De Laurence wrote a lot of his own material in addition to his habit of “borrowing”, and what he wrote best was ad copy. He managed to fill over 500 pages in his 1931 catalog, and it stands to this day as a monument to bombast. Long before David Ogilvy wrote his famous book on advertising, L. W. de Laurence had already determined that “the more you tell the more you sell”. The ad for his book The Master Key fills 26 pages and the ad for the book Great Magical Art goes on for 22 pages. Sworn testimonials, price reductions, free offers – these ads are masterpieces of salesmanship. De Laurence’s techniques are used to this day, particularly in direct mail advertising.