Drew Allen Miller

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.

I used to know Sheldon Hearst, whose business was putting racks of 5½˝ x 8˝ take-one brochures in supermarkets. A marketer had a fraction of a second to catch the shopper's eye with a headline. The most powerful, most successful headline that was used for years: WET BED?

At the end of this story you’ll find three institutional ads—from United Technologies, General Electric and Archer Daniels Midland. All are attempts by Madison Avenue to create positive impressions in potential investors’ minds. Management hopes that if the image of these giant conglomerates can be burnished—as opposed to highlighting the famous brands that they own—the increased awareness will inspire investors to buy stock in the mother ship and the price of shares will go up. In the case of United Technologies, the campaign is budgeted at $20 million a year. In their endlessly self-congratulatory and repetitive book, “WHAT STICKS: Why Most Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours

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