Peter

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.

For several weeks during May and June, a series of wildly exciting full-page ads ran in The Philadelphia Inquirer for a seminar titled GET MOTIVATED! to be held in the massive Wachovia Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers (hockey) and 76ers (basketball).

Among the speakers with star power were Gen. Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Forbes, Zig Ziglar and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. The cost:

Only $4.95 PER PERSON. Or Send Your Entire Office for Only $19! That’s almost free! Admission at the door: $225 per person. Call immediately to take advantage of this limited time offer.

After seeing this ad three or four times, I did the math. The Wachovia Center seats a maximum of 22,000 people. If completely sold out at $4.95, gross revenue would be $108,900.

That amount would be completely eaten up by speakers' fees. Colin Powell: $100,000 plus private jet. Rudy Giuliani: avg. $80,000. Zig Ziglar: $25,000 to $50,000. Donovan McNabb: $20,000 to $30,000. I could not find Steve Forbes’ fee on the Internet, but it has to be at least $50,000.

The “GET MOTIVATED! Workbook” was an additional $4.99, so the final tally for me was $10 and change (tax). A full house at $10 each would generate $220,000. But speakers’ fees, hall rental, staff, audio-visual, etc., would create serious negative cash flow.

I smelled a rat and decided to sign up.

One day God and St. Peter met on the first tee of the celestial golf course, and St. Peter hit a magnificent drive straight down the fairway.

God stepped up, addressed the ball and-with a mighty swing-hooked it deep into the woods.

One minute later, a squirrel with God's golf ball in its mouth ran out of the woods and started across the fairway.

Whereupon an eagle swooped out of the sky, grabbed the squirrel in its talons and flew off. When the eagle got over the hole, it squeezed the squirrel, who dropped the ball, which landed on the green and rolled into the cup for a hole-in-one.

St. Peter turned to God. "Are you going to play golf," he asked, "or are you going to screw around?"

From where I sit, both presidential candidates are screwing around.

The nuts-and-bolts of the issues are buried under mounds of slung mud.

And in terms of marketing, John McCain is playing a most dangerous game.

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