Issue #12 – Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Posted by Denny Hatch
When Your Guarantee Is a Big Fat Lie…
As a freelance copywriter, I cut my teeth on magazine renewals, billing series and subscription offers.
The Hatch family goes back 95 years with TIME. My father had been a loyal subscriber since 1923, the year it was launched.
In addition, in 1954 I spent six weeks in Rome while my father was writing the authorized biography of Clare Boothe Luce, acclaimed playwright and U.S. Ambassador to Italy in the Eisenhower Administration.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a dazzling diplomatic reception at the Villa Taverna, resplendent official residence of the American ambassador.
There I met Mrs. Luce and shook hands with her sugar daddy husband, Henry R. Luce, founding mogul and CEO of the TIME-LIFE magazine empire.
So, yeah, I paid attention to the latest effort from TIME to get me to re-up for another year.
I was happy to be offered the “guaranteed low price.” Having been a subscriber myself for 60 years, I earned it.
Or did I?
As pensioners, Peggy and I watch our pennies. And $81.95 (plus applicable taxes) seemed a bit pricy—especially since I was getting last week’s news and TIME has been on the rocks financially for years.
So I prowled the Internet.
How dare TIME claim they are giving a guaranteed low price to a 60-year subscriber who can get it for $51.95 cheaper with the click of a mouse!
I immediately canceled my subscription.
Takeaways to Consider
• Your Guarantee is your sacred promise to prospects and customers.
• When your solemn promise is a big fat lie, who the hell is going to trust you, your journalism or anything else?
• TIME’s Circulation Department and management—who obviously don’t give a damn—are a bunch of liars and rip-off artists.
• Trump rails against “fake news.”
• I rail against fake offers.
• “Direct marketing should be scrupulously honest.”
—Dick Benson (1922-1996), Legendary magazine consultant
• Here is the ultimate all-American Guarantee:
• NOTE: This Guarantee was not from any faceless “We guarantee.” Nor was it “The L.L. Bean Company Guarantees this product.” Bean signed it. This is L.L.’s PERSONAL GUARANTEE. He says, “I stand behind this. Problem? Contact me.”
• What was missing? Bean’s signature. Not a phony-baloney computer font signature, but rather the guy’s real scrawl.
• “Your signature is your handshake.” —Malcolm Decker, Freelancer.
• Alas, this past year L.L. Bean was forced to rescind this splendid promise because of sleaze-ball serial multi-returners.
Word Count: 400
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