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Denny's Daily Zinger: Are All Politicians Consummate Jerks?

March 20, 2014 By Denny Hatch
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I received a campaign pitch from Marjorie Somebody during the holidays. She's running for Congress in a district other than my own.

[Illustration 1 in the media player at right] is what arrived in my inbox.

Rules Broken by Marjorie Somebody

  • "Avoid gray walls of type." —David Ogilvy
  • Marjorie Somebody is poaching for cash in my representative's territory.
  • Marjorie Somebody did not say which political party she belongs to.
  • Marjorie Somebody did not reveal her last name.

A contribution by Scott Huch to my new book, "Write Everything Right!" (Opens as a PDF.)

As an aspiring, young direct mail copywriter in the early 1990s, I clipped an item from my local newspaper. It has been taped to my desk—right next to my computer—ever since. It is now tattered and yellow. But I keep it there as a reminder any time I'm writing. It says:

Tests have shown that a sentence of eight words is very easy to read; of 11 words, easy; of 14 words, fairly easy; of 17 words, standard; of 21 words, fairly difficult; of 25 words, difficult; of 29 or more words, very difficult; so this sentence with 54 words, counting numbers, is ranked impossible.

[Illustration 2 in the media player at right] is the text of Marjorie Somebody's message with word counts.

More rules Broken by Marjorie Somebody

  • Two sentences of 62 words each.
  • One sentence of 41 words.
  • One sentence of 39 words
  • One sentence of 33 words
  • Marjorie Somebody's campaign pitch is ranked impossible to read.
Denny Hatch is a copywriter, designer and direct marketing consultant. Click on the title below to read the first three chapters of his recent book "Write Everything Right!" No cost. Contact him at dennyhatch@yahoo.com.
 
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