Brooks Brothers’ Bizarre Blue-Serge Letter

BrooksBrothers’ (undated) blue-serge letter.

An effort guaranteed NOT to generate sales

I grew up wearing blue serge.

In the autumns of my youngest years, my parents would drive me to Best & Co. in Garden City, Long Island, and outfit me in blue serge for church and birthday parties—short blue serge pants with matching Eton jacket (no lapels), white shirt with big Eton collar and red tie. In the spring, same kind of thing, but summer weight.

When it came time to get my first pair of long pants, I was driven to Brooks Brothers on Madison Ave. in New York City, where I have been doing business since 1942.

It was a big deal when I got my first pair of blue serge long pants. My mother cried.

When I started going to dances, I would get tuxedos at Brooks Brothers and white dinner jackets for summer.

When cash was tight because of Andover bills in 1949-1953 ($1,400 tuition, room and board), we sometimes shopped at Rogers Peet on E. 42nd St.

Both Best & Co. and Rogers Peet are kaput. Brooks Brothers is a survivor.

But it won’t survive much longer if it continues to spend vast sums of money sending out blue-serge letters.

The Blue-Serge Letter From the President and VP Direct
These days, I buy from Brooks Brothers in Philadelphia once in a while—maybe a very lightweight summer jacket and an occasional sweater set for my wife, Peggy, at Christmas.

Early this month, the folks at Brooks Brothers wanted to alert me that their “Web site has been redesigned to be more engaging and informative.” It continues:

A central component is improved navigation and more convenient placement of our most sought-after items and resources. now offers expanded product information with alternate views and more comprehensive merchandise descriptions.

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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