[Review] BUY NOW by Cesari and Lynch
This book might be good if you have NO background in Direct Response. If you have any background more advanced than a basic understanding of the mechanics, skip Buy Now.
I was pretty excited to read Ron Lynch’s book. I know of him from the podcast interview circuit and he delivers many high value insights there. So I was extremely excited to read this.
But Buy Now is an extremely formulaic regurgitation of simple Wikipedia information about the various stars Cesari Direct has worked with. They take you through the stories of OxiClean, George Foreman Grill, and Juciemaster. I will spoil it for you, here is how it all happened: Cesari discovered the pitchman (whether it was George Foreman, Billy Mayes). The pitchman happened to have a product that was a PERFECT fit for mass market, and they were extremely talented and charismatic right off the bat. (Insert generic Wikipedia description of the pitch figure — for example George Foreman “Outside of being an amazingly talented boxer was a gregarious, warm man. That personality came across really well on camera, people loved getting to know this other side of him”). Then they filmed a commercial for $X budget, aired it on TV, and it was a huge hit that changed the industry forever. Rinse and repeat for every single “story” of the brands.
I really was looking forward to learning more about the background story of these products, but the “storytelling” (if you can call it that) was subpar.
The only good things I can say about this book are this: They talk about the budgets for buying the media, the budgets for filming, what a good cost of good ratio is. But like peppering in a few sentences saying hey it cost $X to make this commercial, while helpful, doesn’t make for an entire book.
If you come across this book in a book store (or the library), read the last 2 chapters. There is a section where they give an outline, with how many minutes approx. to spend per section, for a 20–30 minute long form direct response commercial. Literally those 2 pages were the only interesting thing I learned from the book (besides a few of those other $ figures).
The only other SLIGHTLY interesting thing I learned is that the Juiceman product involved a seminar tour of 35 cities across America BEFORE airing commercials.
Otherwise, Ron Lynch and the Cesari Direct team really phoned it in. Buy Now just seems like a thinly veiled “authority” book meant to establish one as a thought leader. This is a scattered book that briefly overviews VERY BASIC DR concepts, and otherwise I’ll save your eyes: they made a commercial that was longer than 20 minutes, and the product became a hit.
Anyone who wants to learn more about Direct Response would be better off (and learn more from) reading copywriting books from the direct sales masters like Joseph Sugarman, Dan Kennedy, or Bob Bly.
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