Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Real Secret to "The Secret"

There is no secret? 

After a 50-year sleep, I suddenly woke-up and realized that God had endowed and bestowed upon me, half a brain and good common sense. (Thanks a lot m' Lord.) That’s when it hit me. The Secret book, the movie, and everything associated with this product, is backed with a clever advertising/marketing/promotion/publicity campaign, like no other. One of the best campaigns that marketing experts have ever “perpetrated” on humankind, in fact. This book is an international and worldwide phenomenon so the use of the word “humankind” is not so out of place as one might think. It appears that since its debut, this book has revolutionized “the marketing world?”


First of all, let me say that Rhonda Byrnes is a marketing maven. Although accused by many, she has done nothing wrong, and has accomplished, with standard, run-of-the-mill marketing, a promotional campaign that capitalizes on the human desires and wants of a generation in search of the truth. And she has done so in grand style and with astonishing success. Good for her. Others, who apparently either cannot read, or know the law, will disagree and accuse her of misrepresentation, falsehoods, and maybe even blasphemy.



Let’s get one thing clear. I’m not defending Ms. Byrnes. She does not need defending, either morally or legally in any court of law. I’m simply making an observation and a commentary about her product and its willful buyers. That’s my disclaimer folks. Now for Ms. Byrnes disclaimer, all you have to do is go to “The Secret” home page and read it, right there in plain English. No, it’s not a legal disclaimer, as I’ve done in the example above, but it is a disguised limited disclaimer nonetheless.

My definition of a legal disclaimer: A legal disclaimer is a statement or series of statements that deny any claim associated with any given product or service regarding its benefits, warranties, or promises implied to the buyer. In other words, the seller does not claim their product will do or undo anything to benefit the buyer. Every product comes with a legal disclaimer, buried somewhere in the fine print.

However, there is another way to present a limited disclaimer, which is exactly what the information on Byrne’s home page does. Read it for yourself.  In fact, Byrnes tells you the secret to “The Secret” right there in plain sight, on the first page, front and center. (For the details of her legal disclaimer, see “Terms of Use” for the particulars.) She has nothing to hide and therefore discloses the meaning and purpose of “the secret” upfront. It’s your choice whether to continue with your search for answers and products associated with TS for your personal use.

Byrnes simply presents her product and establishes its purpose and possible benefits to the prospective buyer (you) and the rest is in your hands. You can either, dig deeper into the website for more information about the book, or you can point the mouse to the top, right-hand corner of your browser window and click on the big red X, thereby closing the browser window and making “The Secret” a fleeting, blipping memory, as opposed to a potentially important aspect of your boring, miserable life, and mine too.

This BTW, is the impetus behind many marketing endeavor. The fact that marketers tap into the human condition and find ways to personalize an aspect thereof and incorporate it into their marketing efforts. In this case, (The Secret) book taps into the need for something so universal and so fundamentally human, that the effects of their marketing reaches, and touches the masses with a message they cannot resist responding to. How do the masses respond? By associating this product with their own needs and desires. What are their needs and desires? Whatever you think they are. A successful business person, a smarter person, a magnetic person. Fill in the blank folks. Your desire ______ here. This is the product that will help you get there. That’s the inference, but never the claim. Big difference.


The secret to marketing “The Secret”

To this writer, there is no secret to the marketing of this book. I’ve seen nothing that hasn’t been done before. The “Secret” book is the result of masterful packaging and nothing more. It is an old idea taken from another book whose copyright has expired and is in the public domain, The Science of Getting Rich, by Wallace D. Wattles, and re-packaged it with 21st century technology and social sensibilities in mind.  That’s not a crime, that’s the free enterprise system at work. Capitalism, coupled with gullibility at its best. They’ve done a bang-up job of it too. Clever positioning, alluring graphics and a slick website complete with promotional gimmicks, plenty of subtext, notable individuals from times past, implying the potential benefits of this book and all the byproducts associated with it. Nothing new and groundbreaking. Just good, solid, tried and true marketing.

As a graphic designer, I love their website, and no, I didn’t have to buy the book because I borrowed a copy and I quickly realized it was not for me. I’ve heard it all before, but in different ways. After all, I would think that the demographics for this book are between the ages of 17 and 35, at best. And that’s not to say that younger or older folks within this range would not be interested. It all depends on your outlook in life more than your education or life experiences. For me, the book has some great redeeming social values and presents them persuasively, but there’s not enough new material/information for me to justify buying it. Been there, done that.


The Secret Hook

  1. There are many other books from bygone eras and plenty of modern books that also have alluded to the “Secret”. Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich, is one of them, and Deepak Chopra’s, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, is certainly another. What Byrnes has done, that these and other books like them did not do, is to isolate and define, and highlight a specific “law”, “The Law of Attraction”, that is. This so-called “law”, can be traced back not just 100 years ago to Wattles book, but all the way back to biblical times to a real prophet by the name of Jesus.

Matthew 7:7-8 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seekfinds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."


Talk about revisionist literature, Byrnes has absolutely no shame in borrowing from the past and turning something ancient and as old as the wind, into an instant mega-bestseller throughout the world in every language you can imagine. Not bad folks. And of course, if you’re already connected in the entertainment business, plus you are an attractive female, that also helps. Let me see, what else am I missing here? Oh, if you assemble a group of "qualified" mystics, philosophers, teachers, and scientists, to help you promote your book, while they promote themselves, well then, there you go. Done deal. 

It’s not as difficult as you think, once you get all the players in position, saying all the right things, triggering the right buttons, you know, the hot buttons I’ve mentioned before, the ones that inspire and motivate prospects to seek more information about your wonderful product. Technically, these are called “landing pages”, which are almost always not effective because the seller is so anxious to make the sale and they pepper the landing page with “buy buttons” everywhere. Nothing could be more detrimental to your sales pitch than a “buy now” button.

That’s hard sales pressure, and no, your prospect is not buying. Not yet anyway. But this is a good subject for another Post that will dovetail with my previous Post on Impulse Buying which is a little different. More about all this in another Post.

Byrnes has managed to sell the concept of “The Law of Attraction” in such a way, that even this short and simple “one statement law” can be milked into a labyrinth of questions by association, which further enhance and expand the message, which has already been delivered on the first page. How does one go about doing that? Well, that’s the big secret here folks. The subject of another book in fact and I couldn’t possibly do it any justice by posting it here in parts. In essence, it is the art of effective copywriting, synchronized with persuasive sales techniques that get the job done in short order. Easier said than done. Leave it to the experts. And she has. Let me just briefly mention the Book Trailer for The Secret, which is very slickly produced, although many parts of it, at least to me, are laughable. Especially the part where the Neanderthal-like guy is trying to unveil the secret by rubbing a piece of parchment over a stone tablet, or something to that effect. Hilarious. But what do they care, the imagery works.

Now, don’t you wish you had thought of this book? It’s never too late folks. Here’s a shortcut: Just revise the damn “Secret” and you’re done. Others already have, and they’re secretly laughing all the way to the bank. Why not you? Just jump on the bandwagon and cash in.

Oh, what a vicious circle my friends! Is there any hope for the rest of us? Sure there is. Just put on your ruby shoes and click your heels three times.

Don’t worry guys, they come in size 12.

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Soft Porno Alert!

Need I mention next week's Post? The long-awaited answer to the burning question: What is one of the most influential novels of all time, and for the love of God, who is the "honey" associated with the film adaptation with the same title? You'll only find out here next week folks. Scroll down for the original, mouth-watering Post.

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Future Post: I'm working on a commentary about Star-Trek, one of my favorite, original TV series. Believe me, it's not just about Star-Trek. This could be one of my most freakish commentaries yet. I just have to get this off my chest: Star-Trek, the evening news, and President Obama? WTF does all this have in common? You'll be surprised, maybe even shocked by my answer. Forget Pavlov, I have to jump through the time machine for this one. I can hardly wait, I might get stuck in a soup line during the depression and never come back. There is hope, after all.