The Brochure Legend Lives On
They’re doing their research by copying that wonderful stuff on the client’s Web site and putting it in their letter — and it works, fabulously.
But you can’t hold a Web site in your two hands. You can’t get any real feel for the person who wrote those words on the Web site. You can’t get that warm feeling that the Web site was written for you and for you alone. Just like when you read a brochure, you don’t move toward a personal relationship with the author of the captions under the photographs.
The legend grows …
Okay, back to my original brochure legend. After the famous designer suffered his humiliating defeat, the shoe company hired a new writer with a mandate to “enhance” the control letter.
This young man, fresh from writing subscription-letter copy for Harper’s magazine, studied the situation for five minutes. Then he took the two-page control letter and, in the middle, stuffed in the four pages of copy that the famous illustrator had put in the brochure — and ended up with a six-pager. (This tale could also be told as the historical moment when longer letters were discovered to work well, too.)
As you might guess, his revised letter became the new control and lasted for 20 years, and he became famous and went on to lecture and write “how-to” books on direct-mail advertising. Hmmm.
Jerry Huntsinger is a freelance copywriter and a senior creative consultant at Craver, Mathews, Smith & Co. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.