Ca$hvertising by Drew Eric Whitman Notes (cashvertising)

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Cashvertising is one of the few marketing books I’ve read and continue to read and apply to my marketing efforts.

Chapter 1 – The 8 life forces

In true advertising fashion the book advertises something along the lines of 100+ advertising secrets. But the greatest value one can gain from Ca$shvertising is by understanding the 8 life forces.  Drew explains that fundamentally people are motivated by 8 essential life forces, including but not limited to survival (including enjoyment of life, preservation), freedom from fear & pain, sexual companionship and 5 other life forces. If you’ve ever come across Maslow’s hierarchy of needs the 8 life forces are pretty much that.

Drew explains that ultimately the biggest motivator is the 8 life forces so whether you’re selling bread, cars, kitchen cleaner, electrical tools they all need to anchor towards attaining positive life forces or moving away from negative life forces.

E.g. you can sell wholemeal bread by implicitly stating that white bread causes cancer. Of course if you want to avoid a lawsuit you would mention how your break DOESN’T cause cancer – implying white bread does. Car adverts are full of life saving safety features and so are electrical tools.

Now, these uses of life forces are pretty self explanatory. But the best marketers are able to really push the envelope and combine many life forces to create a masterful ad. A power drill might feature all the lifesaving safety features such as auto cut out, short circuit protection, overheat protection etc. But it won’t really sell power drills unless it has a plus to it. How about adding some more life forces do it e.g. (enjoyment of food/beverages, sexual companionship, care and appreciation of loved ones and social approval). You can do this by ending the ad with the hero in the ad putting up a shelf in record time. Just in time to cuddle up with his loved one in the sofa getting the appreciation of his wife. TV ads tend to have a lot of these cut scenes to really hit home the message.

The life forces are:

  1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, danger
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval

To understand these concepts full Buy the book from Amazon.

As I mentioned earlier, understanding the use and implementation of life forces is crucial, a poor writer who understands life forces well will do a better job of writing ads than a wordsmith who doesn’t understand it.

Although do note. Life Forces 8 is just a way to wet the prospects appetite, create tension (desire). But it in itself will not sell products. The rest of the book deals with how to market your products and how to maximize sales through conversion optimization.

Chapter 2 – theories & principles

Contains 17 segments consisting of different marketing concepts expanding on the 8 life forces and introducing more concepts. This chapter would be revision for experienced marketers and well worth the read. For apprentice marketers this would be essential reading. Reading this chapter and then watching a shopping channel will be an eye opening experience as you can see much of the concepts discussed in play.

My favourite segments:

Ego morphing

This is used by all marketers; the hero used in all advertising will play an aspirational role. Someone who’s attractive, cool, successful. Think of the Marlboro guy – turning a disgusting habit into someone that’s aspirational. I bet there were people who hated smoking but smoked anyway to feel cool like the Marlboro man. The hero in your ads should be similar.

Examples vs. statistics

In the Adwords consultation industry, I’ve seen firsthand this effect in practice. I’ve produced detailed case studies of past clients and published them for their viewing with less than par results. However after publishing a few testimonials my lead generation has increased to the point that I have to think twice about accepting more work. People are drawn to stories not numbers. The challenge for me is that I work in an industry that deals with numbers, I also think in numbers so I often have to train myself to think in stories.

Chapter 3 – examples & techniques

The chapter is full of fantastic tips that apply to web marketing as well as print marketing. I assumed before reading this chapter that there will be little relevant advice for an Adwords consultant. However I was amazed to find how relevant their examples were for small web ads that I run.

My favourite segments.


This was particularly useful for Adwords ad writing; learn to keep your ads short and sweet. This applies to all print ad writing not just Adwords. Sometimes authors can get locked into trying o use fancy words and using filler words to make a point. But ad writing does leave room for narcissism – you have to always think about sales and the consumer. Not be concerned with trying to express your “creativity”.

Benefits not features.

Easy to forget from time to time, so needs constant reminding. Always think about what the consumer wants and why they want it. Don’t state features more than you need to.

Chapter 4 – examples and ad writing in play

The last section of the book contains various different examples of ad writing. Can be useful for reference but I think it was just to fill up the book and get the “100 secrets” in.


All in all, greatest marketing book I bought and well worth the $10 or so that it costs. Buy the book from Amazon.