Wednesday, February 15, 2023

#181 Junk Journalist

 

#181 Blog Post – Thursday, February 16, 2023

 http://dennyhatch.blogspot.com/2023/02/181-junk-journalist.html

Posted by Denny Hatch

 

The New York Times New Junk Journalist

 



 

 When a reporter from The New York Times sends me an email, I take notice. When her invitation is for me to send her “bad ads,” I am stopped cold. What is a “bad ad” (other than two words that rhyme)?

 

I can’t judge whether advertising is good or bad. Advertising judges me.

 

If an ad — digital, print, direct mail or TV — is repeated over and over again, it’s ipso facto a good ad. In the immortal words of Dorothy Kerr, circ director of US News & World Report: “If an offer keeps coming in over and over again, it’s obviously profitable. Study it and STEAL SMART.”

 

What Constituted a Bad Ad in Those Salad days?

My first job in direct marketing was in 1961. The industry association was the DMA — The Direct Mail Marketing Association. Back then Direct Marketing was Direct Mail — intimate personal me-to-you communications retrieved in the privacy of your mailbox.

 

Direct mail was the dominant advertising medium — far bigger than ads in newspapers, magazines, TV or telemarketing. America’s mailboxes were stuffed with direct mail. Direct mail was the aristocrat of advertising.

 

Direct mail also saved (and is saving) the Postal Service. Without direct mail advertising revenue, the USPS would be plum outta business.

 

In those days, the definition of a “bad ad” was a direct mail package that was sent to the wrong person.

 

At some point direct mail got the good-natured nickname of “junk mail."

 

The Direct Mail Marketing Association under founder Henry “Pete” Hoke and his committee chairs hated the term “junk mail.” For a number of years, the DMA bigwigs threatened perdition and even lawsuits against any person or company that used the term “junk mail” in an article or speech. No kidding.

 

A Quickie Aside.

The wittiest and most fun copywriting team of all time was the legendary Bill Jayme and his designer partner, Heikki Ratalahti. One time Bill and I compared notes and discovered we both adored the term ”junk mail.” What’s more, we both loved using the term because it pissed people off.

 

Jayme expressed his real feelings about “junk mail” in an interview he did for my WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter many years ago. Jayme said:

     “I don't understand why the industry hates the term junk mail. 

     “I love it. 

     “After all, antique dealers love junk shops. Old car enthusiasts love junk yards. Until a few years ago, Wall Street loved junk bonds. Who among us doesn't love to head for the beach house with a pile of junk fiction? And what's a Hong Kong fisherman without his beloved junk? 

     “Junk is a wonderful word. 

     “Of course, in Heikki's and my case, we spell it “junque.”

 

http://dennyhatch.blogspot.com/2020/01/81-junk-mail-pr-campaign.html 

 

Okay, Back to the  New York Times New Junk Journalist
Google “Tiffany Hsu” and here’s what comes up:

 

“Tiffany is currently a reporter focusing on disinformation for The New York Times. She holds an MBA and journalism master's degree from Columbia University. She was previously an award-winning California economy reporter at the Los Angeles Times.”

 

What Was The New York Times Thinking???

Why was an “award-winning California economy reporter" handed the prestigious New York Times advertising beat? Has she read David Ogilvy? Vic Schwab? Joan Throckmorton? Eugene Schwartz? Joe Sugarman? Dick Benson? Drayton Byrd? Bob Bly? Rosser Reeves? Denny Hatch? Does she know the meaning of CPM, CPO, allowable cost-per-order? Has she ever written and designed an ad? What are her criteria for passing judgment on a “good ad” or a “bad ad”?

 

• In short, Tiffany Hsu doesn’t seem to have the creds to know squat about advertising.

 

• Why would The New York Times — with $110 million in advertising revenue — hire “an award-winning California economy reporter” to create a worldwide Let’s-Dump-on-Advertising Grievance Association among its 9.3 million subscribers and millions more outsiders? 

 

Here’s This California Economy Expert Pontificating About Advertising

“If you are encountering more unwanted ads, please share them with me. I am a reporter at The New York Times, focusing on misinformation, with years spent covering media and marketing. Bad ads can be a sign of many things: a weakening economy, a shift in priorities for social media companies, even a bolder push by malicious actors to indoctrinate consumers. Your experiences can help us understand the factors at play.”

 

“Huh?”

 

Another Tiffany Hsu pronouncement in the Times:

“Recent ads on Twitter, as described by users, have made the platform feel like a tabloid magazine or the haunting ground of Ron Popeil, the inventor of wares people didn’t know they needed including the Veg-O-Matic, the Ronco Electric Food Dehydrator and the Inside-the-Shell Egg Scrambler...”

 

Are you kidding me? RON POPEIL WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST!!!

http://dennyhatch.blogspot.com/2020/02/85-americas-two-greatest-tv-pitchmen.html

 

Tiffany’s Challenge to Us N.Y. Times Readers

“Have you noticed more unwelcome ads (for example, irrelevant, repetitive, misleading) on social media lately?

 

Let’s parse the three words that Tiffany claims constitute “unwelcome”:

Irrelevant, Repetitive, and Misleading:

 

“Irrelevant.”

Peggy & I sold our big car four years ago. Public transportation in Philly is free to seniors. Our parking garage, gas, insurance and repairs cost us oh… maybe $8,000 a year. That’s a lot of Ubers and taxis delivering us to a lot of front doors and tips to the food delivery folks from Acme, Wegman’s and Little Italy Pizzeria. Yes, I think you’ll agree that for Peggy and me, “automobile ads are indeed irrelevant.” But, Hey! I don’t find car ads “unwelcome.” I love 'em! I’m delighted to learn about new models, see glorious photographs of them and know about the five- and six-figure prices reckless polluters are happily paying. (Exception of course, EVs.)

 

“Repetitive.”

Nobody remembers an ad once. One has to see an ad multiple times before the message sinks in. I can’t count the number of times a day on TV that I get hit with the emu’s theme song, “Liberty, Liberty, Liberty… only pay for what you need.” In short, repetition is an essential element in all advertising.

 

“Misleading.”

How can you know it’s misleading unless you’ve tried the product or service? Does it live up to the promises in its ads? If not, did you ask for your money back? Did you get a response? Or — as with the airlines these days when they cancel your flight last minute — did they keep your money? In short, how can you instantly know an ad is “misleading” unless you’ve been misled by that advertiser?

 

What Ads Do I Find Unwelcome? Here’s an instant classic I can’t wait to share with you.

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

 

Takeaways to Consider

• No kidding. The above is what I received this past Saturday. Verbatim.

 

• If you want to pursue the work of Tiffany Hsu, here are links in recent issues of The New York Times.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/11/business/have-you-noticed-more-bad-ads-online-we-want-to-see-them.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/11/technology/bad-digital-ads.html 

 

• Forget about award-winning advertisements.

"Awards are like hemorrhoids. Every old asshole gets one.

   —Fran├žois Ozon, "Swimming Pool"

 

• In the words of my very first boss in business, Henry Castor: “God protect us from amateurs!”

 

###

 

Word count: 1722

 


 

 

The Most Fun You Can Have
In the English Language
 
 
 
At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press. He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.

CONTACT

dennyhatch@yahoo.com

Note to Readers:  
May I send you an alert when each new blog is posted? If so, kindly give me the okay by send
ing your First Name, Last Name and email to dennyhatch@yahoo.com. I guarantee your personal information will not be shared with anyone at any time for any reason. The blog is a free service. No cost. No risk. No obligation. Cancel any time. I look forward to being in touch!

IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE POSTING A COMMENT… EMAIL ME! I'LL HELP!
Google owns Blogspot.com and this Comment Section. If you do not have a Google account — or if you find it too damn complicated — contact me directly and I will happily post your comment with a note that this is per your permission. Thank you and do keep in touch. dennyhatch@yahoo.com

Invitation to Marketers and Direct Marketers: 
Guest Blog Posts Are Welcome. 
If you have a marketing story to tell, case history, concept to propose or a memoir, give a shout. I’ll get right back to you. I am: dennyhatch@yahoo.com
215-644-9526 (rings on my desk). 

You Are Invited to Join the Discussion.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

#180 FDR Communicator

http://dennyhatch.blogspot.com/2023/02/180-blog-post-wednesday-february-8-2023.html 

 

#180 Blog Post – Wednesday, February 8, 2023

 

Posted by Denny Hatch

 

The Greatest Communicator
In the History of the World

 

No One (Before or Since) Reached as Many People on

An Intimate, One-to-one Basis as Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

PHILADELPHIA. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2023.

[The President] “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

—U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 3

 

Last evening Peggy and I spent three-plus hours in front the TV. We had the equivalent of front row seats in the House of Representatives chamber in the U.S. Capitol. We watched the raucous, rude and crude assemblage of 1000+ politicians, stone faced garishly costumed military bigwigs and black-robed Supremes alongside guests, dignitaries, fans and fanatics plus the 535 politicians popping up and down like hoppy toads to applaud, shout encouragement, boo, hiss and heckle.

 

This was followed by the usual free-for-all media circus where wildly overpaid smarty-pants television personalities jostled for attention so they explain to us what we really saw, what the President really meant and what conclusions we should really draw.

 

After a full hour-plus of distractions, disruptions and hysteria I went to bed unable remember a single word that Joe Biden said about anything.

 

The Net Result

Joe Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address last night reached 38.2 million viewers — a pathetic 11.4% of the US population of 332.4 million. Yes, Folks, bloody pathetic!)

 

Contrast this with…

FDR’s March 12, 1933, Fireside Chat No. 1 on network radio (explaining the 1933 Banking Crisis) reached 61.3 million listeners — a whopping 45.5% of the US population of 134.9 million.)


How FDR Quietly Shared His
Vast Knowledge with Millions.

During his 12 years as President, Franklin D. Roosevelt reached a huge swath of the population. His main platform was a series of 30 folksy radio broadcasts running 11 to 44 minutes. CBS newsman Bob Trout dubbed these talks “fireside chats.” This evoked the image of FDR sitting by himself in front of a friendly hearth with cracking flames. Radio is voice only. As a listener you could imagine he was talking directly to you alone almost as though you were on the telephone together.

 

When the president signed off, the listener could sit quietly and ponder his words and ideas. No interruption by a panel of know-it-all TV personalities out-shouting each other for our attention.

 

Was radio an effective way to communicate with voters? Franklin Roosevelt was was elected by Landslides four times.

 

FDR’s Wildly Successful Presidency

• First elected in 1932, he assumed the office amidst the Great Depression — the worst economic disaster in the history of the country. Americans were scared to death.

 

• Roosevelt — in person and on radio — was the ultimate salesman — always ebullient, perpetually positive and believable.

 

Roosevelt was a “Method Marketer.” He was able to get inside the heads of the people he wanted to reach, think how they thought, and intuitively know just how to say what they wanted to hear.

 

Before he went live on the air with a Fireside Chat he would meditate — go into a reverie and envision a small family huddled around the kitchen radio waiting to hear his message.

 

FDR had a magnificent voice — rich, warm and ringing like a loving father.

 

To sell his myriad programs/wares he treated everybody as an adult with respect. He tackled complex ideas and explained them, so they became completely understandable, beneficial — and desirable.

• Under his masterful leadership he came up with the “New Deal” for America. Out of FDR’s extraordinary brain—in cahoots with his brilliant associate, Harry Hopkins —  he launched the dizzying blizzard of “Alphabet Agencies” and relief programs (a number of which are around today). Among them: CCA, CWA, WPA, NRA, TVA, SEC, HOLC, USHA, PWA, NYA, NLRB, 20 new dams. By golly, he pulled it off! The Depression was licked by 1940 and America was back on the road to glorious prosperity!

 

• Oops… Whereupon December 7, 1941, the Japs launched their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. They sank four battleships, killed 2,403 Americans and wounded another 1,178. Four days later Germany declared war on the U.S.

 

• Suddenly with World War II we were up to our necks in alligators all over again. You betcha Americans wanted to hear what this extraordinary president had to say about how he was going to save the country and the world. (Which he did!)

 

• They didn’t want him orating to a crowd. They wanted to be spoken to personally, intimately and thoughtfully. Throughout his presidency he delivered 30 Fireside Chats.

                  


 

Let Me Share with You Two Fascinating Stories.

  


The View of Three Mile Island Nuclear Facility from
My Seat on Allegheny Airlines in Early April 1977.

 

At four in the morning of March 28, 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was the scene of the first serious accident in the in the industry history. The overheating problem was followed by a partial core meltdown. The release of radioactive material covered a 20-mile radius causing the Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to advise the evacuation of pre-school age children and pregnant women. In all 140,000 people skedaddled out of the area.  It made national and international headlines and scared the bejesus out of everybody who lived anywhere near nuclear power.

 

Etched in memory was the panicky phone call I received from Joe Eby of Hershey ten miles from the accident. Peggy and I used to run into Joe and Muriel—lovely people—at curling events. We curled against them and socialized, but we never became close friends. Joe, a World War II bomber pilot, who flew 37 missions over Germany, must have felt I was a guy on the East Coast with perspective on the news whom he could talk to. I think I calmed the Ebys down.

 

At the time I was freelancing and during the first week in April I flew to Harrisburg for a meeting with my wonderful magazine client, the late Bob Doscher. On the flight out, I was sitting in the last row of an Allegheny Airlines puddle jumper next to a young woman who was an assistant manager of the nearest bank to the Three-mile Island plant. While we were chatting, I glanced out the window and below me was the notorious Three-mile Island atomic plant. I gawked.

 

The lady banker told me the story about how the

accident caused her bank to run out of cash.

It seems the depositors were country folk did who not understand how banks worked. When queried in the aftermath they said they honestly believed when they deposited money the bank would immediately segregate it and store it the vault under their name, address and account number The bank would keep it separated from all the other money in the bank. When they heard about the meltdown, they were suddenly terrified their money would be made radio-active by the Three Mile Island accident and they would never get it back. Hence the run on cash.

 

No kidding.

 

I was gobsmacked. Harrisburg is a state capital. Weren’t these sophisticated, knowledgeable people who understand the basics of finance?  Uh-uh.

 

This Same Problem Reared Its Head 50 Years Earlier.

On October 24, 1929, New York Stock Market crashed, burned and failed to bounce back. The U.S. economy jerked along for two years. By1933, John and Jane Lunchbox had had it. They lost total confidence in the banking system. Fearful of losing their money, millions of Americans emptied their bank accounts and stashed the cash under the mattress or buried it in the back yard rather than risk it in the bank.

 

Ergo: 9,000 banks failed in the Depression losing $7 billion of deposits (the equivalent of $160 billion today).

 

Whereupon on March 6, 1933, President Roosevelt (a bare six days after he assumed office) issued the surprise Emergency Banking Act (a.k.a. Executive Order these days) declaring a “Bank Holiday.” All banks were ordered closed for business for 7 days. The result was mayhem, but it worked. Banks stopped failing and the country climbed out of the Depression.

 

How Roosevelt Calmly Mansplained This        Complex Problem to the American People.


Franklin Roosevelt took to the radio and delivered a great talk — his first Fireside Chat. He explained how banks work — chapter and verse. He did not patronize his audience. He was an adult speaking to adults. He calmed the waters. The “chat” was so effective that this became the communications medium of choice.

 

On YouTube: FDR’s First Fireside Chat.
Listen and Be Dazzled.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iipnhLTdh-0&t=26s

 

###

 

Word Count: 1447

 


 


 

 

The Most Fun You Can Have
In the English Language
 
 
 
At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press. He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.

CONTACT

dennyhatch@yahoo.com

Note to Readers:  
May I send you an alert when each new blog is posted? If so, kindly give me the okay by send
ing your First Name, Last Name and email to dennyhatch@yahoo.com. I guarantee your personal information will not be shared with anyone at any time for any reason. The blog is a free service. No cost. No risk. No obligation. Cancel any time. I look forward to being in touch!

IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE POSTING A COMMENT… EMAIL ME! I'LL HELP!
Google owns Blogspot.com and this Comment Section. If you do not have a Google account — or if you find it too damn complicated — contact me directly and I will happily post your comment with a note that this is per your permission. Thank you and do keep in touch. dennyhatch@yahoo.com

Invitation to Marketers and Direct Marketers: 
Guest Blog Posts Are Welcome. 
If you have a marketing story to tell, case history, concept to propose or a memoir, give a shout. I’ll get right back to you. I am: dennyhatch@yahoo.com
215-644-9526 (rings on my desk). 

You Are Invited to Join the Discussion.