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

An email from Marjorie Somebody.

Marjorie Somebody's word count.

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 bookWrite Everything Right!” No cost. Contact him at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • John

    Marjorie Somebody didn’t give her party affiliation because her party is not real popular with American voters right now. I’m seeing the same type of party-less advertising in South Dakota.

  • Tom

    Do you want to know what’s impossible to read? Anything displayed in your "media player."