Denny’s Daily Zinger: A Two-Word Headline That Built a Business

David Ogilvy once said, “Your headline should telegraph what you want to say-in simple language. Readers do not stop to decipher the meanings of obscure headlines.”

Remembrances of Sheldon
Many years ago I knew Sheldon Hearst, CEO of Supermarket Communications. His business model:

Giant community bulletin boards were put up near the exits of thousands of supermarkets nationwide. Here were personal ads on bright yellow cards offering baby-sitting services, used cars, church breakfasts, pets for adoption, etc.

Interspersed were racks of take-one brochures. Advertisers rented a rack and supplied the brochures. Hearst had a network of sales reps who continually serviced the racks.

The Flier Has a Nanosecond to Capture Attention
A typical shopper—whose mind was on the grocery list and picking up the kids at school—gave Hearst’s bulletin board a quick glance on the way to the parking lot.

However, imagine if a family member—child, adult or senior—was a serial bed wetter. The stink, the need to wash sheets every day and the thread of constant misery for a lifetime was a constant, nagging worry.

Aimed at the 25 million Americans who suffer from incontinence, the Center for Enuresis came up with a huge red headline: WET BED?

The words jumped out of the little take-one racks. They positively dominated the bulletin board.

[See the image in the media player at upper right.]

This headline stopped this troubled shopper cold.

The filer was control for years and was the client’s major source of leads.

Denny Hatch‘s new book is “Write Everything Right!” Pat Friesen writes, “This book is guaranteed to help you fine-tune your writing skills, whatever you write. Denny’s wit and craftsmanship as an experienced writer/author shine through on every page.” Click here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach Denny 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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  • Donnie Bryant

    Love this!

    Great illustration of a timeless truth.