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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » How much information to disclose when marketing an effect? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

scottds80
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Victoria, Australia
730 Posts

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There are so many different ways to write a description of your new marketed effect. Some people disclose information that is on a need to know basis, while some only disclose it once purchased.

For example, if I were to write an ebook for an amazing effect, and it requires a hidden assistant or confederate, should this information be released in the description beforehand? Or is it ok to not disclose it until after its purchased?

There are pros & cons here, if you do disclose it, you are revealing the basic method. On the flip side, is it unfair to people who don't have access to an assistant?

Thanks
Scott
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
Mindpro
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Eternal Order
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I have posted my thoughts before but here is what I've said before. First give an accurate description, not with wordplay but real, actual true description. Second state clearly if it is intended for stage, closeup, etc. Of course most know that many effects or releases can be adapted but state how you created it and for which it was intended. Don't be vague. I dislike it when creators say "I can't describe it or write good promotional copy because it gives the method away". BS, try harder, find a way, it can be done.

And lastly be honest thinking of every intended customer that this is targeted to and what they need to know to be an educated purchaser, what they would need to know to determine if it is for them or their style or type of act. I actually also like it when creators say in their hype who it is not for - this is not for beginners, this is not intended for walkaround, this is not a beginner level release as a certain level of (slights, card experience, etc.) is required. I always believe in full disclosure about the assistant, stooge. I've always felt if you have to wait until you purchase it to find it requires an assistant, that this is a deception and a good many of the buyers probably are displeased and would not have bought it had they known. You can let them know this without revealing too much, if not then at least your offering an honest representation of what to expect.

Also don't say it's mentalism if it's mental magic. Don't say it's hypnosis if it's realyl just a fake premise for something else.
dearwiseone
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Inner circle
Portland, OR
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Great advice, Mindpro

Scott, it can be a hard questions to answer. I can offer my very limited advice on the subject! I've only really marketed one magic effect, my Super-Silly Sponge Ball Routine. I really struggled with how much to release in the trailer and description. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6nSKEt9rQ0


You'll notice in the video I don't show any of the magic. Some great audience reactions yes, but no magic. Because the premise of my routine revolves around the patter, it wasn't possible to show that, without giving away the premise for free! There were a few people who contacted me and said "your trailer doesn't show enough, I can't tell whether it's for me or not." IT was a tough choice because the magic in the routine isn't anything novel. I didn't want people basing their decision on simply recognizing magic effects, the focus of the routine is on the patter. How do you show that without giving it away?

I tried to be very honest in my description, the product page offers details even regarding the props that come with the effect, etc. As Mindpro counseled, I tried to represent the trick the best I could, and answer relevant questions in the FAQ. I tried to actually help the customer decide if this was good for them, or not. The FAQ I thought was a great place to address questions like, "Is any sleight of hand required?" This is where you could answer the question of whether an assistant is needed (a very crucial piece of information).

In short, I think it's okay to market an effect focusing on the benefits (like kids laughing their heads off!) but somewhere you definitely need to address the critical issues, so people know what they're getting into. It can be a hard thing, and you'll never please everyone, but if you keep honesty at the front of your mind, you should be okay.

Hope that helps,
Kevin
Robin4Kids
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Giving a compelling, but accurate description of an effect has been a problem for as long as I can remember (over 50 years). I doubt there are many of us that have gotten too far without buying one or more effects that have been disappointing. Many have used the term "easy to do" very loosely... maybe if you are a master at slight of hand it's easy to do! Having written advertising copy for many years, I certainly understand the concept of pointing out all the features and not mentioning any of the drawbacks. Good thing truth in advertising isn't a felony or many of us would be up the creek! With the improvement of technology, I think sales information for magic has greatly improved. Being able to see a performance video is a big help, even though through clever editing, you can still conceal the drawbacks.

Kevin's video is well done and shows what a great crowd response you can get. But still, if a magician doesn't have the performing ability of Kevin, they probably won't get the same great response. Personally I would prefer to see the effect(s) demonstrated for the camera only, even if you are only giving an abbreviated routine without all the patter. That way a potential buyer can see if an effect has the wow-factor they are looking for and if it requires a skill-level that they can handle.
dearwiseone
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Portland, OR
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Robin4Kids,
You make some great points, and thanks for the compliment on the video. You're also absolutely right about the performing ability. The routine takes a personality or character to pull off that not everyone has. Great point. I tried to address that in my FAQ.

Here's one potential drawback I see with presenting it like you suggest, for the camera only. If I did my sponge ball routine, without patter, it would just be a simple vanish, a color change, a shape change...but there's nothing novel with those. They've been on the market for years.

Even if I shared my patter, most magicians don't even think it's that funny and they doubt it will really work...until they perform it for kids. They'd watch the trailer and say something like "Hmmm...no novel magic moves, the patter isn't that funny...I don't think it will be a success." It would lack that "wow-factor" you talked about. The problem is, five year old minds don't work like ours! It's only once they try it in front of kids that they realize how golden it is! Check out this review I found of my sponge routine. It's a perfect example of what I'm talking about - http://www.penguinmagic.com/discuss/view......t=161567

He thought it was nothing special, in fact, he as a little disappointed it seems, UNTIL he tried it in front of kids. He got the same reaction my trailer shows and was very happy with his purchase. My guess is, it was the trailer, watching the reactions of the kids that sold him on it.

By showing the routine in front of an actual audience of kids (which is how the routine would be performed in the real world), the viewer is able to see just how funny kids find this thing. After all, that's the business we're in, right? (speaking for kids entertainers) It's all about how THEY see it, not us.

I'm with you though on the video demos:) I remember ordering my first trick from a Windsor Magic catalog, a zombie. The video would have clarified things a bit, but that wasn't the technology back then.

- Kevin
Robin4Kids
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Kevin,
After looking over the information about the Super-Silly Sponge Ball Routine on your website, I must say that you have done an excellent job of covering all the bases that someone trying to make a buying decision would need. You even make the routine available at a reduced price if someone already has or wants to buy their own props that are needed. Good Job!

Some people are natural-born skeptics, so they will have their doubts about your routine working for them. Usually it is just a lack of confidence in their ability to perform. No matter what you do, they aren't going to be good prospects to buy. It was surprising that the skeptical blogger on Penguin went ahead and purchased and proved himself wrong!

What a coincidence... if I am not mistaken, I also bought a zombie from Windsor many years ago and it made my list of disappointments due to vague sales copy.
- Robin
Robin4Kids
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Not to ignore Scott, the original poster, I would recommend that you check out what Kevin has done on his website and follow suite.
dearwiseone
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Portland, OR
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Robin4Kids,
That's nice of you. I wasn't fishing for compliments, but I really thought my example could help because it was a tough decision for me too. It's a gray area but I think if you approach it just like you said "covering all the bases that someone trying to make a buying decision would need" and you're not trying to deceive anyone, you should be fine.

Regarding Windsor...yeah, I sent in the $45 for the zombie. I actually never received it! I don't know if something just got lost, but I was a kid and figured I had just lost out. When I did finally get the zombie, it was a disappointment, not quite as spectacular as I remember the ad portraying it!

Thanks again,
Kevin
TomBoleware
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Hattiesburg, Ms
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Excellent video Kevin. Well done.

I agree with Robin4Kids, sales information for magic has greatly improved over the years. I think my first big disappointing trick purchase was, "How to make fire come out your eyes." "Amaze everybody in the audience with fire flying from your eyeballs." LOL The cost was only $1.50 but that was a lot of money to me back then. That taught me to read the ads closer, but I think that only made it worst because then the more I read the more I wanted to know the secret. LOL

Selling magic is mainly about selling secrets and when you doing that it's almost impossible to tell all. Those writing the ads do have a tough job.

Tom
The Daycare Magician Book
https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/amazekids/the-daycare-magician/

When you come to the point where you have no need to impress anybody, your freedom will begin.
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