Robin Williams

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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.

With happiness being the inverse of anger, intense levels of online vitriol were solved with discounted candy bars. So begins one of the least boring stories about data ever — when Snickers and agency Clemenger BBDO Melbourne in Australia teamed up to create a social media “Hungerithm” that resulted in discounted Snickers bars, which spread to the post-election U.S.

Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9. That much is clear. The rest, not so much. Among many other questions, these arise: Are protests peaceful or not? Will Wilson remain on the force or not? Twitter alone isn't able to answer those questions, despite the fact that that's where many Americans go to get their news.

Robin Williams was selfish when he committed suicide, because it ruined his day, an acquaintance told me on the train on Monday night. With the news just 90 minutes old on the East Coast, my acquaintance was probably trying to be funny. This acquaintance, though, was no Robin Williams, whose gift for comedy still unites generations. My seatmate, however, did bring up one of the most important ways nonprofits can bring about positive outcomes from this tragedy: education, including correcting misconceptions, and fundraising for suicide prevention.

When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.

Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:

  1. It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
  2. All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
  3. I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
  4. I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
  5. If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
  6. The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.

A Veto That Probably Destroyed Eight Million Dreams This is the saga of two high profile, deeply flawed organizations joining forces to create a public relations catastrophe--New York City and the U.S. Olympic Committee. What happened? A bunch of rich city slickers were able to con the rubes from Colorado Springs into choosing the Sour Apple over San Francisco for an Olympic venue. But they could not con the canny pols in Albany and Manhattan into selling them the land at below-market value and ponying up $300 million of taxpayer dollars so the New York Jets football team could have a spiffy new stadium.

By Ken Schneider Circulation managers at consumer magazines have many weapons at their disposal in their never-ending search for quality subscribers. Lists and direct mail testing are the two that immediately come to mind. But renewals and billing are just as important. Unfortunately, many circulation managers I've encountered treat renewals and billing as necessary evils that have to be tolerated, and they give these disciplines short shrift. To me, they can be a circulator's secret weapon for success. Let's discuss renewal series first. Number one: Hire a writer/designer team that knows what renewals are all about. Look at their samples. Ask them about

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