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Denny’s Daily Zinger: When to Fire Designers and Others

August 21, 2014 By Denny Hatch
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This was the full-page ad from the August 17th issue of The New York Times Sunday Magazine announcing a food conference.

The name of the event, dates and locale are in light, light, unreadable yellow.

Between the bottom row of photos and the mouse-type agenda in all caps is a subhead so faint it is invisible to the naked eye.

Okay, it's a house ad for a New York Times event in a New York Times publication, so it costs the Times nothing.

Does It Truly Cost the Times Nothing?

  • It certainly won't bring in attendees.
  • The organizers and the Times look like jerks.
  • Only diehard foodies would fight through the faint light yellow headlines and mouse-type to figure out what it is, where it is and how to attend.
  • Sponsors—to whom this ad was also addressed—would not go near it. This is the "Amateur Hour."
  • Who would I fire for perpetrating this catastrophe? The designer, the designer's supervisor who allowed this atrocity to see print, and the person who okayed the press proof.

Takeaways to Consider

• It's important to remember that in direct marketing, the word is king. Copy is the architect of the sale. Design and art are strongly supportive interior designers that often set up the sale.

• Because lookers are shoppers while readers are buyers, if you can firmly engage your prospect—and keep him engaged—through reading, you're on your way to a sale.Malcolm Decker

Denny Hatch's new book is "Write Everything Right!" Bob Schwarztrauber writes, "Veteran writer Denny Hatch has mastered the writing business. It is your good fortune and mine that he has come out with a brand new book that will help us avoid making time-wasting, profit-wasting mistakes when we write. His book is titled, "Write Everything Right!" You need this book if you are serious about writing and getting paid well for it." Click here to download (Opens as a PDF) the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach Denny at

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