"You could already be a winner!" And who wouldn't like to win $10,000,000?
This intriguing book tells the never-before-told, true story of a legendary company that is now part of American pop culture: Publishers Clearing House.
The saga of Publishers Clearing House has been called one of the greatest marketing stories of the 20th century. As the veils of secrecy behind this iconic company are uncovered, the tale is sure to fascinate both consumers and the business world alike. The account tells how a small mom-and-pop company became one of the most profitable private companies in America, while the founders quietly became one of the most philanthropic families in the country. But after almost fifty years of spectacular growth and great acclaim, at the peak of their success, the tides suddenly took a disastrous turn. PCH was fiercely attacked from all sides, and faced an avalanche of negative publicity and lawsuits. This captivating chronicle reveals the private company's fabulous highs and devastating lows, the single incident that caused the dramatic change in climate, PCH's intense battle for survival, and the ensuing destruction of an entire industry.
With thirty years at this famous company, the author has more insider knowledge of the history, inner workings, and personnel at PCH than any other person alive. This former Senior Vice President also shares many comical tales of the playful management team, fun-filled adventures of the Prize Patrol, and much more, including the provocative incident of the surprised, towel-wrapped prizewinner on the cover.
|Edition description:||Revised 2015 Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.49(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wonderful behind the scenes accounts of one of the great direct mail stories. Enjoyed the read!
This book offers a great behind-the-scenes look at Publishers Clearing House. I found the different methods by which PCH put together its mailings very informative.
For years I went to my mailbox, anticipating the mailing from Publisher's Clearing House. Not necessarily for the magazine subscriptions, but to enter the sweepstakes and possibly win $10,000,000! Of course, I wasn't one of their lucky winners fortunate enough to receive a visit from the Prize Patrol, but it was fun entering and hoping, nonetheless. When I saw this book written by an insider at PCH, I jumped at the chance to read it. I wasn't disappointed. The author was a former Senior Vice President and worked at this company for 30 years, so he experienced all the highs and lows experienced by this corporation. He told all inside the pages of this very entertaining book about the founders, his colleagues, what brought Publishers Clearing House almost to their knees, and how they responded and rebounded with grace. If you have ever wondered if the million dollar winners were real. Wonder no more. Read this book and find out!
An interesting, story about the author's 30-year experience as a vice-president at Publishers Clearing House (PCH), Darrell Lester's book appeals to sweepstakes fans and direct marketing professionals. I worked at PCH as a Senior Copywriter for two years. I thought I knew a lot about PCH. But I had no idea about much of the information in Lester's book. Lester tells fascinating tales of a workplace culture that demanded long hours and hard work, but was full of fun as well, with practical jokes abounding, like the time a retiring executive hid his alarm watch in a conference room ceiling, set to go off during a critical meeting. There are colorful characters, like the Ferrari-driving company president, who'd drive his car into the warehouse, and tinker with the engine while smoking a stogie and wearing a pinstripe suit. And then there are incredible tales of sex and skinny dipping. I won't give that one away, see pages 55, 166, and 167-168 for yourself! For sweepstakes devotees, Lester's book answers that perennial question: does PCH really give away those prizes? They do, and the book is loaded with stories about winners. Like the time the time the PCH Prize Patrol delivered a winning check by dogsled in Alaska (page 155). Or the prize check delivered to a winner on a flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles (page 160). Or the time a PCH $1 million prize check saved the winner's home from foreclosure. Many people wonder if you really have to order something to win a PCH prize. Lester reveals 76% of big prize winners didn't order a thing (page 117.) He also tells how PCH got free publicity from Ed McMahon -- while their competitor paid the bills for it (page 15-16). And he points out some strange customer behavior, of interest to marketers. PCH found that their customers would buy cookbooks with calorie-packed chocolate recipes -- and a few weeks later, the same customers would order diet cookbooks. Lester also highlights a little-known side of PCH: It has given about $780 million to charities from its founding in the early '60s through 2011. About half the company profits now go to charity. For marketing professionals, there are some gold nuggets in this book. PCH established, that for their marketplace, direct mail packages with lots of inserts brought in more orders. Every time they tried to simplify their packages, the order rate dropped (page 75). Ever since PCH heard stamp sheets were working well for Doubleday Book Clubs in the '60s, and tested them, they've been a winner. PCH has done dozens of tests to try to eliminate these expensive print jobs, but stamp sheets always won (pages 74-75). PCH, which is legendary for testing everything, even tested the testing process! They found that two exactly identical control packages mailed at the same time, got different results. That meant rollouts of a successful test could vary so much, some of them could be unprofitable. This is one of the two most important items for marketing professionals in Lester's book (pages 75-76). The other critical lesson is how a sudden change in the regulatory environment can almost sink a highly successful company. Lester chronicles how a scandal at a competitor set off a regulatory witch hunt that, at one point, cut the company's sales in half, year-to-year. It's a cautionary tale for direct marketers, who must work together as an industry to respond to regulatory and legislative threats.
This quick and entertaining read gives a wonderful insight into the inner workings of one of America's iconic companies. The friendly tone combined with the interesting personal vignettes make this an entertaining read. Whether you are looking for insights into how to be a successful marketing executive or an entertaining story about a company you have always heard of - you will be glad you read this book. I highly recommend it!