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.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Vouchers have been in favor with publishers and fundraisers for years because they are not as expensive as larger 6" x 9" or 9" x 12" packages—and they still capture good response rates

Not that LendingTree employees were walking around with pocket protectors, yakking about the Charlotte, N.C.-based online loan offer aggregator's revolutionary mortgage calculators. But it was time to rebrand and add some Web tools that would appeal to more than sure-bet, established Jane and Joe Homeowner. So the company that's spent a decade advising consumers on mortgages went in search of a useful, easy-to-use personal financial planning and advice tool for its site.

Sifting through the publications sector in our Who's Mailing What! Archive, I came upon one voucher effort after the next, as usual. But this time around, many of these vouchers were not the plain Jane variety, with the dull discounted price and the boring bulleted benefit routine. No, many publications these days are opening their wallet a little bit wider to beef up these vouchers, in the hopes that prospects will respond in greater number.

E*Trade and Wachovia are the latest casualties of the subprime debacle—the bundling of bad mortgage obligations and selling them off as individual investment “opportunities” to greedy, senseless suckers. It’s the biggest bust since the Dot-Com Implosion of 2000, where $4 trillion worth of capital evaporated, and harks back to “Tulip Mania” (1636-37) and the South Sea Bubble (1711). How can this utter stupidity be explained? Let’s start with the rarified game of curling and a woman named Jane, whose last name I have mercifully forgotten. What is going on in business is what I call “The Jane Syndrome.” You’ll also find The Jane Syndrome

Last week, my wife, Peggy, and I schlepped into New York for an awards luncheon. Peggy and I were each honorees at different times, and feel that attending is something that we should do to support the organization. The VIP reception started at 10:30 a.m., and the Grey Goose vodka was free. And even though it blows my tight writing schedule sky high, we see a bevy of chums from the good old days. That said, I will never again attend this event and will be very choosy about future awards ceremonies, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the early a.m. white eye-openers on the

By Ivan Levison There I am in the supermarket, with my shopping cart and my little list, making my appointed rounds. I sprint past the ice cream, make a graceful turn around the end-cap display, and come face-to-face with that supremely un-American collection of no-hype, plain-Jane boxes and cans — the "generics." You've seen them. All your favorites, from pancake mix to peanut butter, packed in white, cadaverous boxes and jars, and selling for less money than name brands. It's food, plain and simple, without the promotion and without the higher price. I knew I had tuna on my list

More Blogs