Ellen DeGeneres

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 dennyhatch.com.

In an era when just about everyone has a Facebook page, why did President Barack Obama, the Ford Motor Co. and Ian Somerhalder turn to the same person to manage their online voices? Oliver Luckett and his company, theAudience, are virtual producers, creating thousands of pieces of content per month: Facebook pages, videos, Twitter messages—just about anything with the potential to go viral. Luckett says old models of communication have lost influence; building original, shareable content is now the most valuable way to connect with people. And he argues that the same principles apply whether you’re campaigning for leader

Some of the most beleaguered brands in the country shined this holiday season. Ads from brands such as Sears, jcpenney and USPS managed to win over consumers this year with a blend of detailed product information and humor, ranking on Ace Metrix' top holiday ads list. Craftsman, which is owned by Sears, was ranked the best ad of the holiday season—a huge win for the beleaguered chain. The winning ad, "Max Access Locking Wrench," was heavy on product information, resembling a direct-response ad. jcpenney, meanwhile, continues to reap the benefits of its association with Ellen DeGeneres. The spot, a humorous

If you’ve spent any time at all on Twitter and Facebook during the last week or so, you’ve undoubtably heard about KONY2012. The campaign by the nonprofit advocacy group Invisible Children centered around Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla group with a long and violent history that includes the kidnapping of children. With striking and dramatic imagery and Hollywood-style editing, the campaign video presents an utterly compelling message in the age of “social” media: by simply clicking “share,” you can make a difference in the world. And “share” the world did …

And they're off. Justin Bieber fans are on their way to set a Guinness World Record for the teen hearthrob's 18th birthday. The goal is to send the most social media messages in 24 hours. What better gift can you give someone who has everything? Today, Justin Bieber is officially legal. Currently, "#HappyBirthdayKidrauhl" is trending on Twitter. Kidrauhl is one of Bieber's many nicknames. The singer currently is on Twitter, retweeting, following and replying to his fans. Bieber has more than 17 million followers, coming second to Lady Gaga, who has more than 18 million. Fans set up the website, www.happybirthdayjustinbieber.com, equipped with a counter …

For as long as there have been celebrities, there have been companies paying them a pretty penny to endorse their products. A celebrity spokesperson can make an advertising campaign iconic (think Cindy Crawford and Pepsi), help a brand become relevant to a new generation (Lady Gaga and Polaroid), or—when done poorly—hurt a brand’s image. Remember The Situations’ unintended endorsement of Abercrombie & Fitch? With more brands forgoing traditional advertising media and turning their attention to social media ad spending, it’s no surprise that "Celebrity Tweet Endorsements" have become big business.

When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.

Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:

  1. It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
  2. All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
  3. I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
  4. I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
  5. If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
  6. The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.

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