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My Apology: A Really Dumb Ad Was Sent by Tea Party Economist

Written by Gary North on June 5, 2014

Yesterday, someone in marketing made a bad decision. He accepted an advertisement for Tea Party Economist. In my view, it is the dumbest, most ridiculous ad I have seen in years. It read:

THIS JUST IN:

There is a huge, hushed-up conspiracy that may wipe out 281 Million Americans in the next 6 months.

The media has been forbidden to report anything about it.

I have written ad copy for 38 years. From my perspective, this ad is just plain dumb. My guess: nobody with an IQ over 90 should believe such nonsense.

But at this very moment, the final part of this sinister agenda is being carried out…

…and this will bring God’s Judgement onto America.

God’s judgment on the copywriter, maybe. Not America.

When you see scare headlines like this, ignore them. Some guy is just getting started in the copywriting business.

My apology. I don’t select the ads. I just write the articles.

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12 thoughts on “My Apology: A Really Dumb Ad Was Sent by Tea Party Economist

  1. bojidar says:

    Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

  2. desierasmus says:

    It did seem a bit over the top, but not that far from a blizzard of Y2K prep promotions we received back in the period 1996-1999, from several vendors including many from yourself. Having become something of a connoisseur of such ad copy, I listened to the pitch to the bitter end. Somewhere in my archives collected from the various prep and survivalist literature I have a series of "letters from Argentina" that are probably ancestors of the product this vendor is attempting to sell. No doubt they are still "out there" online, available to anyone who knows how to use a search engine. The content of the "letters from an Argentine financial collapse survivor" was interesting but, of course, not the wonderful and mythical "complete guide to cheap, easy, and certain escape from bad times" the pitchman was promising. The pitch will probably resonate with the utopian sluggards out there (regardless of IQ), however a better starting point for "prepping" is Psalm 127, Proverbs 3:5-6, and a close walk with the one whose promises those testimonies endorse (Matt 7:21-23, John 14). .

  3. You know, this ad really isn't all that much different than a lot of the others the Tea Party Economist sends out. Breathless hyperbole? You're soaking in it.

    I'm glad Dr. North noticed, though.

  4. allosaur says:

    Let us not hype, spin and please never lie as does the left. The truth shall set us free. Not the Liar Of The Year Winner.

  5. Tionico says:

    I read about three lines and realisd it was empty. One clue is something I learned from you many years ago: when writing persuasive copy to sell something, use precise numbers. Not "two millio", but "197,465, 381" When a product is the real thing, such attention getters are not needed.

  6. obsidian says:

    You nailed it desierasmus. With North, there is always some type of apocalyptic theme. Before Y2K, it was nuclear war with the soviet union. Before that it was AIDS. Now his latest theme is the "great default". Anything to sell an information product. The problem is that he is not a subject matter expert in many areas that he is selling information products. Case in point is his endless drivel on obtaining a degree for under $15,000. I am a hiring manager and know of other hiring managers. We would never hire a candidate that came from such an online program. Here is the reason. If I hire someone from a well recognized university and they don't work out, I won't get blamed. If I hire someone from an online and not well recognized university, and they don't work out, I have some explaining to do. My judgement will be called into question for hiring someone from such an institution. That is a discussion that I do not want to have. I don't care that someone went into debt $250,000 to get that degree. It is not my problem. The forums on his website specific answers are pretty good. He is a good economist and probably the best in the business. He does however, take specific positions based on flawed logic and assumptions such as the case I outlined above. The drawback to his website is that the majority of participants possess with average or below average intelligence and all of his advice and information products are geared to the lowest common denominator. Personal attacks are quite common towards anyone exhibiting above average intelligence such as doctors or engineers. He does have some useful content on the forums but the content is getting stale. If you subscribe, you will notice maybe 6 or so forum topics generate most of the traffic. You will also notice a pattern to the responses to the forums. I would sign up for 30 days, obtain the information that is needed, and then cancel.

  7. bojidar says:

    ,,One of my goals with this website is to warn people against scams, or worse, dedicated suicidal nonsense, that can destroy their lives."
    Read more at http://teapartyeconomist.com/#ITU1QtLQxVX60OOz.99

  8. Some hiring managers actually make decisions based on the quality of the candidate, not to "cover their ass".

    The statement that you make decisions like that reveals a flaw in your character.

    It also calls your judgment regarding Dr. North's site into question.

  9. desierasmus says:

    Obsidian must work in a different type of organization than the ones I’m familiar with. Perhaps by “hiring manager” he means HR person in charge of facilitating hires. Or perhaps he means a line manager responsible for hiring one’s reports. In either case, at least where I worked, a manager who made a bad hire and tried to mitigate the blunder by citing the “brand name” academic credentials of the dud employee would have been laughed out of the room. It had been evident for a couple of decades that academic credentials were mainly useful for checking superficial signs of the applicant’s basic honesty, e.g., verifying that the candidate actually earned the credentials claimed. That, and obtaining and digesting the applicant's college transcript in preparation for in depth interviews and inhouse exercises testing the candidate’s actual proficiency with the topics they studied (as well as any prior work experience which implied familiarity with particular tools and methodologies). For those with MS or PhD degrees, I would request copies of their thesis and quiz them on the contents. It was interesting how many times we never heard from applicants again after waiting for copies of their transcripts or thesis for a claimed advanced degree.

    As for candidates who received academic credentials via the ‘nontraditional’ pathways pointed out by Gary North, a couple of my sons followed these pathways before we ever heard of North’s guides, and both have had little difficulty pursuing careers in both project-oriented consulting work and responsible well-paying positions in major corporations. When we encountered applicants with similar pathways in their background, they would get the same in-depth testing of their knowledge claims and competencies, and we saw little difference in the later performance of those hired from either category (except the ones who managed to avoid crushing student loan debts were at lower risk of going rogue on us, as a couple with deep debts did, manipulating their expense reports or, in one case, attempting to walk out the door with copies of our proprietary transaction processing software). On the whole, we cared a lot about our applicants’ financial soundness, especially after experiences like that. If obsidian's organization were a direct competitor, we would be happy to know that their staff was selected in the manner obsidian describes…sounds like "easy pickings" to me!

  10. desierasmus says:

    I agree, Oregon Muse, but these marketers are similar to most of the financial-information marketers efforts one encounters, regardless of the source. They tune their pitches to attract a particular audience, though with the low cost of mass online delivery, they may be less careful in testing response rates than was the case when printing and postage costs imposed a heavy penalty on sloppy direct-mail response analysis.

    Regardless of the source, a good place to peel away the hype and begin analysis of the reality behind the teaser stories in these ads is an observer one of my sons told me about: the Stock Gumshoe, Travis Johnson. He's both fun and sometimes rewarding to read. Use your favorite search engine to find his contact info, if you would like to see what he offers in the way of freebies and premium subscriber options. He saves me a lot of time filtering out risible teasers, and assessing the risk in those that pass the initial smell test.

  11. desierasmus says:

    Using "precise numbers" may be effective ad copy advice, but in my experience they are major red flags. Over-the-top claims of measuring precision target both the innumerate as well as the formally numerate (those who IMAGINE the are numerate, but who are innocent of experience with the data quality problems faced by analysts of census survey and business experience data). During the residential finance debacle of the past decade, credit rating agencies issuing ratings of mortgage-backed securities (fees paid by the issuers) were pumping out ridiculously over-precise estimates of risk, which I liked to describe to my analysts-in-training as "claiming to know a value to six decimal place of accuracy when you are fortunate if you got the most significant digit right". As it turned out, even the leading digits in their estimates were wildly wrong, but plenty of supposedly sophisticated portfolio managers ended up with piles of this crap on their books.

  12. Holy Shirt says:

    Perhaps a fine choice, Dr. Ron Paul is not perfect.

    There are reasons his first staff economist was not his last.

    When all is said and done, almost invariably,, more is said than done.