Basia Christ

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

On June 20, 2014, the executive team of the Metropolitan Opera signed a full-page advertisement in The New York Times. The title: "An Open Letter to Opera Lovers from the Board of the Metropolitan Opera." The lede: "As readers of The New York Times know, the Metropolitan Opera is currently in the midst of contract negotiations with 15 of the 16 unions representing employees that work at the Met.

Producer Pierre-Ange Le Gogam and mogul Harvey Weinstein are having a battle royal of the new biopic about Grace Kelly scheduled for a first-night showing at the Cannes film festival. The star, Kelly look-alike Nicole Kidman was scheduled to fly in from Australia to lend her presence. Weinstein, who put up the money, went ballistic. The New York Times story by Michel Cieply never give a reason for the stinky-poo.

In the picture is the German-language version of a full-page ad that ran (in English) in The New York Times. The headline and lede: PAID ADVERTISEMENT: Internet Security and Heartbleed—"My name is Klaus Brandstätter. I am a German engineer living in Germany. I will turn 60 this year. I started to learn programming in high school more than 40 years ago and have since developed myself more than one million lines of code. I am also CEO of HOB. I have looked at the problematic source code of Heartbleed and I understand the problem." Ledes don't get any stronger than this.

Time to rewrite an ironclad direct marketing rule from Ed Mayer: "Success in direct mail is 40 percent lists (audience), 40 percent offer, 20 percent everything else." My suggested new formula: 30 percent lists, 30 percent offer, 30 percent testimonials, 10 percent everything else.

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