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Tag Archives: Words matter

Salvation Army shows the perils of localized donor mail

I gave a fair-sized gift to my local Salvation Army this past holiday season, and was happy to do so. (I wanted a particularly enthusiastic bell ringer to get credit, so I found out his name, wrote it on the check, and dropped it off at the local center.) Inevitably, this has spawned a series […]

Cadillac “Dare Greatly” ad campaign has an elephant in the back seat

During 2015 March Madness I’ve seen the Jason Wu Cadillac ad numerous times. Certainly it’s daring greatly to heavy up on a story about a guy whose mom gave him a sewing machine during the uber-macho celebration of NCAA basketball, and the ad is a great story. But what’s that vehicle rolling into frame at […]

The creative parable of the 100 light bulbs

A creative director recently shared with me the parable of the 100th light bulb. It goes like this: When you turn on the first light bulb in a dark room, the effect is transformative. Where before there was only darkness, now there is light. But by the time you switch on the 100th light bulb, […]

Boredom banished at DMA 2014

The Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference is happening this week in San Diego, and I’ll shortly get on a plane to join my colleagues. I will be on a panel Tuesday morning October 28, called “Creative Slamdown: How world-class creatives successfully sell strange, obscure, boring or even the most mundane products” put together by estimable […]

Persado is not going to put copywriters out of business. (Whew.)

A recent article on artificial intelligence in the Wall Street Journal had me trembling with fear. It described a technology called Persado which writes emails and landing pages for multivariate testing, stating each component of the message in an infinite number of ways which can be mixed-and-matched through AI to surface the result that gets […]

Why Words Matter… in bank marketing

A regional bank has invested in an image campaign, and the results are visible in the window of their local branch. Unfortunately, the copywriter has a tin ear. Let’s take a look at three sequential pieces of signage to see what I mean. “We strive to make banking simple.” Making something simple is a benefit, […]

Mumblecore Marketing

We Boomers have a bug up our rear for Millennials, much as the “Greatest Generation” probably felt about us back in the day. Wall Street Journal reported on how they don’t like to use the telephone (probably because it intrudes too much on their personal space), and there’s now an app that allows them to […]

“Hope you are well” email intro makes me sick

Here’s an email typical of many I receive these days. It’s to a business account, and it begins: Otis, I hope all is well. I’m not sure if you’re attending the Fancy Food Show in NYC on June 29th – the July 1st, but if you are I thought you would be interested in visiting […]

Does your direct marketing need a Letter Doctor?

I started my direct marketing career in the 1980s, a quaint bygone era when there was no internet. One of my favorite resources was a perfect bound magazine called Direct Marketing and one of my favorite contributors to said magazine was Luther Brock, “The Letter Doctor”. Brock would take a sort of self-help approach to […]

What are you on, Diet Coke?

The riskiest kind of advertising is that in which you are so much inside the head of your audience that you can actually poke gentle fun at them and they will be appreciative rather than insulted. My favorite successful example is an etrade billboard that towered above San Francisco in the height of the dot-com […]

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