Elsworth Howell

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 once had lunch with Dr. Seuss at the Four Seasons in New York along with Elsworth Howell, President of Grolier Enterprises and Lew Smith, his marketing and creative VP. It was the 1960s. New York Post gossip columnist Leonard Lyons was walking around, pencil and notebook in hand, looking for material. Howell called him over to the table, "Hey Leonard, come meet Dr. Seuss!"

Copywriters empathize. They are highly paid to get inside the heads of those to whom they are writing. Copywriters think how their prospects and customers think and feel what they feel. Politicians have the hides of a rhinoceros. Their overarching agenda: re-election at all costs.

Retailers around the country are whining because of Amazon. And why not? Jeff Bezos—Amazon's peripatetic founder—has aced the retail business. Amazon's vast inventory selection; ease of ordering; low, low prices; quick delivery; and customer service are marvelous. Consumers and businesses save money, save time and save the world by not having to gas up the car and physically go shopping.

In 1980, I sat in the first row of a deliciously tacky Broadway vaudeville show—Sugar Babies—starring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. At one point, Rooney and the cast set up a very old joke from burlesque days. I saw it coming, and when the diminutive comic delivered the punch line with exquisite timing, I exploded with a huge guffaw, whereupon the rest of the audience followed suit.

Our friends Jack and Evie retired to Cape Cod 15 years ago, and two years ago decided to subscribe to the Cape Cod Times. It's a good paper, with all the local goings-on and one of the best sports sections I have ever seen. Jack's deal: $38.40 every six weeks. The bill would come and Jack would faithfully send a check. At the end of the most recent six-week period, Jack got a bill for the following amount: 26 weeks for $158.60.

 

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