Jack Maxson

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.

When I read the review of “The Checklist Manifesto” by Dr. Atul Gawande, I ordered it on my Kindle.

Three minutes later I was totally hooked—engrossed in graphic descriptions of hospital emergency rooms where patients’ lives depended on split-second decisions by health care professionals operating as a team and guided by mental checklists. If they ignored a step or failed to communicate, the patient would assume room temperature—forever.

The author’s argument is simple: Checklists in this complex, high-tech world are indispensable.

It occurred to me that some years ago I created a checklist for direct marketers, and that it was currently residing on my Web site, www.dennyhatch.com. Given my newfound interest in checklists, I decided to revisit it. The thing was OK as far as it went, but woefully inadequate. So I reworked it.

I believe the revised and expanded checklist that follows will be useful to the 20- and 30-something newbies entering this business who are handed decision-making authority beyond their experience.

It's also invaluable to us addled seniors, who tend to forget things.

Nothing-nothing!-bugs me more than advertising writers who call TV ads "winners" because they're the "best-remembered" and/or "most-liked."

Did the ad sell anything? What was the ROI?

Belinda Goldsmith of Reuters reported that roughly 1 billion people-15% of the world's population-watched some or all of the Olympic opening ceremonies, a TV spectacular that ran four and a half hours.

I watched the next morning via the DVR recording device that is part of our DIRECTV service. By judicious fast-forwarding-and avoiding ads and the procession of the athletes-I saw what was worth seeing in 90 minutes.

I don't watch TV commercials.

Cutesy-poo creativity and the "hard sell" repeated over and over ad nauseam do nothing for me. When you're 73, quality time gets precious.

I'm not alone.

With few exceptions, I despise Super Bowl ads. The only things that irritate me more than the ads themselves are the blathering bloviations of columnists and commentators who give their opinions the morning after on which ads were good and which were bad. They are all dead wrong. They haven’t a clue what they are talking about. Not one of them. Let’s start with five very basic rules of advertising: Rule #1: “Your job is to sell, not entertain.” —Jack Maxson, freelancer, creator of the Brookstone catalog Rule

Movie critics operate above their pay grade May 23, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 40 IN THE NEWS Has The Da Vinci Code had any good reviews? Stodgy, grim, ponderous. Dreary, droning, dull-witted. Hammy, stilted, solemn, talky, wooden, bloated, plodding, deathly dull, dreary. Or did I do "dreary" already? Forget the Christian right—it's that shadowy global organisation, the Critical Establishment, that has lifted its cassock and dumped unceremoniously on Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. — Jonathan Gibbs, The Guardian (UK), May 19, 2006 At a direct marketing conference in Orlando I was having lunch with my Norwegian clients and

It was the great freelancer Jack Maxson (he turned Brookstone into a major player with his brilliant catalog copy) who wrote: Probably well over half our buying choices are based on emotion. We make buying decisions on the basis of reason—fire extinguishers, vacuum cleaners, smoke alarms, toothbrushes, and the like. But a very large percentage of our choices (probably well over half) are based on our emotions. We can buy quality cars for $18,000 or less, but a sizeable number of us pop for models at $30,000 or more. Why? Emotion over reason. Almost everything we use or own makes some kind

By Denny Hatch Direct Marketing 20-Point Checklist The checklist below boils down everything I have learned in 40 years in the business. I believe it should be consulted before any promotion is let loose in the marketplace—via the Web, snail mail, telephone or off-the-page. Put another way: Failure to consult the checklist puts your promotional efforts—and your job—at risk. 1. Your sales pitch employs AT LEAST one of the following seven key copy drivers. (If not, tear it up and start over): • Fear • Guilt • Flattery • Exclusivity • Greed • Anger • Salvation 2. Following are the 13 most powerful

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