Jimmy Breslin

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.

No matter what your profession, if you have an extensive file of retrievable, cutting-edge information that directly relates to your business and industry, you can lace your memos, emails, letters, reports, advertising copy, speeches, PowerPoint presentations and whitepapers with tidbits, factoids and statistics. This shows readers you know a lot, are on top of your job and are a force in your industry.

“Did we do anything wrong?”

Anyone that asks that question is probably guilty.

The most egregious lede I have ever seen in 60 years of reading The New York Times:
My wife and I sat cross-legged on the floor of a local Barnes & Noble store recently, surrounded by several large piles of books. We were searching for interior design ideas for a new home that we are planning to buy.

As we lobbed the books back and forth, sharing kitchen layouts and hardwood floor textures, we snapped a dozen pictures of book pages with our iPhones. We wanted to share them later with our contractor.

After a couple of hours of this, we placed the books back on the shelf and went home, without buying a thing. But the digital images came home with us in our smartphones.

Later that evening, I felt a few pangs of guilt. I asked my wife: Did we do anything wrong? And, I wondered, had we broken any laws by photographing those pages?

It's not as if we had destroyed anything: We didn't rip out any pages. But if we had wheeled a copier machine into the store, you can be sure the management would have soon wheeled us and the machine out of there.

But our smartphones really functioned as hand-held copiers. Did we indeed go too far?

Yes, you and your wife went too far.

And your tacky little iPhones’ theft of copyright wasn’t the half of it.

Occasionally a story appears in the media that’s out of Jimmy Breslin’s classic novel (and later a film) “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” Three goofballs tried to sell Coca-Cola Co. trade secrets to PepsiCo. Inc., and Pepsi alerted the feds. It’s a delicious tale of an FBI sting, $30,000 cash stuffed in a Girl Scout cookie box and a test tube containing a sample of a new Coke drink. This emphatically is NOT the way to do corporate research. At the end of this story are links to The New York Times and Washington Post accounts of this nutty saga. They may require (free) registration. On

A Veto That Probably Destroyed Eight Million Dreams This is the saga of two high profile, deeply flawed organizations joining forces to create a public relations catastrophe--New York City and the U.S. Olympic Committee. What happened? A bunch of rich city slickers were able to con the rubes from Colorado Springs into choosing the Sour Apple over San Francisco for an Olympic venue. But they could not con the canny pols in Albany and Manhattan into selling them the land at below-market value and ponying up $300 million of taxpayer dollars so the New York Jets football team could have a spiffy new stadium.

by Denny Hatch If any organization has put a stamp on modern direct mail, it's not the U.S.Postal Service, but rather the recently retired, two-man creative team of Pittsburgh-born freelance copywriter Bill Jayme and Finnish designer Heikki Ratalahti. In a four-decade partnership, their stylish direct mail solicitations launched some three dozen magazines including New York, Smithsonian, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, Air & Space, Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street, Worth, Saveur, Tufts Nutrition Letter, Mother Jones and the Harvard Medical School Health Letter. In their heyday, Jayme-Ratalahti had a five-month queue of publishers and circulation managers, hats in hand, ready to pony

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