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Monday, November 21, 2005

The Greatest Sales Letter Ever Written 
Date: 1260 A.D.

From: Hulegu Khan, emissary of the Great Khan, the King of Kings of the East and West.

To: Qutuz the Mamluk, who fled to escape our swords.



SUBJECT: The coming of the Mongolian Horde

Dear prospective subjugate:

You should think of what happened to other countries ... and submit to us.

You have heard how we have conquered a vast empire and have purified the earth of the disorders that tainted it. We have conquered vast areas, massacring all the people. You cannot escape from the terror of our armies.

Where can you flee? What road will you use to escape us? Our horses are swift, our arrows sharp, our swords like thunderbolts, our hearts as hard as the mountains, our soldiers as numerous as the sand.

Fortresses will not detain us, nor arms stop us. Your prayers to God will not avail against us. We are not moved by tears nor touched by lamentations. Only those who beg our protection will be safe.

Hasten your reply before the fire of war is kindled ... Resist and you will suffer the most terrible catastrophes. We will shatter your mosques and reveal the weakness of your God and then we will kill your children and your old men together. At present you are the only enemy against whom we have to march.

I look forward to a long and productive relationship.

Sincerely,

Hulegu,
Executive Yurt
Babylon



It's got it all. The author wastes no time getting to the business proposal. The prospect knows what he's being asked to do from the very first paragraph. The rest of the letter serves to build the case. The prose is forceful and exquisite throughout, the imagery concrete and vivid. The author sticks to the active tense.

The second paragraph establishes the credibility of the firm and builds upon the Mongol brand - already well known throughout the region at that time, thanks to a distinctive and consistent corporate identity centered around encirclement, rape, destruction, fermented goat milk, and slaughter.

The third paragraph serves to address anticipated objections to the sale - establishing the superiority of the Mongolian market vision and product over the alternatives. Note the effective use of repetition and parallel construction.

The fourth paragraph again establishes the credibility of the Mongol brand, and offers a warrantee against the failure of Mongol, Inc. to deliver as promised due to devine intervention or those pesky customer lamentations.

Finally, the letter closes with a restatement of the offer, a call to action, and a powerful incentive to act now.

Good and timeless stuff. A must read for any commercial copywriter.

Splash, out

Jason

Comments:
Doesn't this resemble the papmphlets that Psyops dropped in Afghanistan and Iraq prior to the War? (Minus, of course the very un-PC part about blowing up Mosques and killing boys with old men)

Still, I like it.

clews
 
Now I can't breathe. My sides hurt from laughing. I'm definitely awake now.

I think I'll use this letter in my next correspondence with the Corps of Engineers, perhaps from the conquering perspective, but maybe from the conqueree.

Well done, Jason.

Subsunk
 
As far as I'm concerned, Qutuz' response was even better:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Ain_Jalut

The letter is classic swagger, but "speak softly and carry a lot of pissed-off cavalrymen" is more my style.
 
ps I'm having a little trouble sending comments so if I do it twice please excuse me and I apologize.
 
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