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#184 CEO's TV Spots
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, March 29, 2023



#184Blog Post – Wednesday, 29 March 2024

Postedby Denny Hatch


Corporate CEOs Who Became Famous
On TV For Pitching Their Own Products

TheTV was on the other day and suddenly I was smacked in the chops with a60-second razzle-dazzle, highest of hi-tech ads for the 2023 “Limited Edition” Chrysler300C.  Pounding beats of music… dizzyinghocus-pocus… giant buzzwords cooked up by a bunch of techies.

Havea look at this 60-second sucker:


•Mind-bending? Yes.

• Was I persuaded the 300C Chrysler is so deliciouslydesirable and affordable that I itch to take it for a test drive? Absolutely not.

•This TV spot is the product of techies — non-marketers showing off their electronicwizardry without one jot of empathy or emotion.

Your Geezer Blogger Recalled Lee Iacocca's
Passionate Message to Me About Chrysler.


Lee Iacocca was president and CEO of Chrysler from 1978 and chairman from 1979, until his retirement at the end of1992. I felt he was looking me straight in the eye talking directly to me aboutthe benefits and guarantees of excellence and satisfaction.

This is personal Lee-to-me direct marketing — an oldfashioned letter in the form of a TV ad. 

I Went on a YouTube Search to Find Famous
Spokespersons Who Loved Touting Their Products.

Some were alreadyhousehold names — Oprah, Martha Stewart and Bill Gates.

Others becamefamous by being featured on TV ad spots — chicken farmer Frank Purdueand obscure businessman Victor Kiam.

What All these Celebs Had in Common.

They flat-outbelieved in their products. Their overflowing enthusiasm and passion for whatthey were selling is infectious. Coming from their own lips is far morepowerful than anything a hired copywriter and actors out of central casting couldcome up with.

Here was a favorite from my early days of TV watching,  a CEO spokesman discoveredby advertising legend David Ogilvy.

In1947 Commander Edward Whitehead was an economic advisor to Sir StaffordCripps (then Chancellorof the Exchequer), working ontraining and productivity in British industry. He joined Schweppes in 1950,being responsible for foreign expansion. In 1953, he was made president ofSchweppes American operations. In those early years the commander caught theeye of legendary adman David Ogilvy who was creating advertising forSchweppes.


This spot is a hoot — a send-up that notonly amuses the individual viewer but also pounds home the desirability of “Schweppesbubbly effervescence.”

Ya Want Laffs? Havea Few with Martha Stewart.


It’s an old saw — axiomatic — that humordoesn’t sell. “People don’t buy from clowns,” proclaimed David Ogilvy.  Oh yeah? Have a look at this gem by MarthaStewart.


“Martha Stewart is channeling her inner psychopath in agory Halloween video spot for canned water company Liquid Death, created topromote the brand's 'Dismembered Moments' candle. The candle, which was created in partnership with Stewart,resembles a dismembered hand clutching a can of Liquid Death.” —thedrum.com

Meet Chicken Farmer FrankPurdue Who
Became a Legend fromHis Intense TV Spots.


How Fame Came to Victor Kiam with his TV Ads.

Hardly anybody knew of Victor Kiam, one-time owner of theNew England Patriots. He became immediately famous when he bought Remington Products.Kiam, a cheapskate who always flew coach (“I arrive at the same time as everybody else on board.”) opted to save money by starring in his own highlybelievable TV spots. The iconic line that made him known nationwide: “I likedthe shaver so much I bought the company.” It’s the ultimate testimonial!



A Powerful Confession in Oprah Winfrey’s
First TV Commercialfor Weight Watchers.

In 2015, Oprah — in a desperate lifelong battle againstobesity — became a minority shareholder in Weight Watchers. 


Allyou can say is… Wow! Laying bare her deeply personal problem… willing to show herworst, downtrodden  self… and coming up withthis extraordinary message of positivity and hope. I found it amazing.

Unlikely Commercials by Two of the Richest Men in the
History of Planet Earth: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.


BillGates was a tall, skinny nerdy guy when he started out.  But he had the magic combination of threeelements: vision, genius and passion.

He changed how business in done and built one of the most valuable companies in the world (current market cap: $2.03 trillion dollars. ) Ina rare TV spot, Gates’ passion pours out:


The Most Unlikely Celeb TV Performer: Warren Buffett.

Irecently read a biography of Warren Buffet. His earliest ambition was to berich. His entire life and career has been spent in solitary, poring over the financialsfound in annual reports of companies, discovering bargain prices in the numbersand pouncing. “According to Forbes, Warren
Buffett’s net worth in March2023 is $108.6 billion. He is currently the 5th richest person inthe world.”

“The Berkshire Hathaway CEO still residesin the five-bedroom home in central Omaha, Nebraska, Buffett purchased for $31,500in 1958, which is about $329,505 in today’s dollars.”  --Cheyenne Devon, CNBC.

In 1994,Buffett accumulated a 4.9 million shares stake in McDonald’s (where he picks up atake-out breakfast every morning.) Somehow, someone persuaded him to make a McDonald’scommercial. No passion. No excitement. Nice Midwestern grandpa stuff and boring as hell.


TheBill & Warren Show:
TwoBuddies’ Ego Trip

Bill Gatesand Warren Buffett are close friends. Their relationship has been called a bromance.In 2006 Buffett pledged 85% of his Berkshire fortune to the Gates Foundation. In1997 Berkshire acquired Dairy Queen for $600 million.

Here’s a bit of sillinessthat I don’t understand. However, TV commercials cost a lot more than a junk mailing.These guys can afford it. Hey! Relax and enjoy.


Takeaways to Consider.

•TV spots are advertising’s big league. How big? A 30-second 2023 Super Bowlspot cost $7 million.

•Very few CEO’s have the requisite charisma — or passion — to lay themselvesbare on TV and make profitable spots or commercials.

• The legendary Dick Hodgson wrote: "Of all the formats used in direct mail, none has more power to generate action than the letter."

 • A letter is an intimate message from one writer whispering in ear of one reader. Me-to-you. 

• I believe that TV spots — with their eye contact and quiet intensity — can be the modern equivalent of the direct mail letter. And take up a lot less of your time.


Wordcount: 1002




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At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press.He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletterand archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 yearshe has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.


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