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#203 Stu AdAge From Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, May 15, 2024


#203 Blog Post - Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Posted by Denny Hatch


How a Cartoonist Morphed into a
Grand Master of Direct Marketing


Stu Heinecke's love of cartoons started very early. When he was ten years old Stu and his brothers sneaked Playboys out of their father's dresser drawer. Of course, they read the articles... and looked at the beautiful women.

"But I was also fascinated by the cartoons," Stu said. "Every issue had a full-page cartoon by Gahan Wilson and Eldon Dedini, and later they became part of my direct marketing agency. Same with Leo Cullum, who introduced me to The New Yorker cartoon editor at the time, Lee Lorenz. Lee then introduced me to essentially the rest of the primary cartoonists in the magazine including Bob Mankoff, who eventually became the cartoon editor himself, Arnie Levin, Donald Reilly, Sam Gross and many more.

"I pulled all of them into my fledgling marketing group and presented their work as our portfolio of cartoonists. I was making them money and working with them on a lot of campaigns, so naturally, when I came to the city, we'd hang out. What I didn't realize till many years later is that this was one giant mentorship program for me. My own cartooning improved to the point of becoming one of the WSJ cartoonists."

Stu's cartoons are amusing. But they seldom reached the laff-out-loud, thigh-slapping heights of say, The New Yorker's legendary Chas Addams and Peter Arno.

       Stu Heinecke on Using Cartoons in Direct Marketing.
"The 'experts' used to say humor doesn't work in direct marketing. Man, were they wrong.

     "At the center of our work are personalized cartoons. Why? Readership surveys have long shown cartoons to be the best-read and remembered part of magazines and newspapers. Similarly, when one of our pieces shows up in a stack of mail, it also stands out above the rest.

     "In fact, the effect can be quite magical. Our pieces are often treated as keepsakes, finding their way onto refrigerator doors and office walls, where they can serve as a constant reminder of your offer and brand. In business-to-business settings where most promotional mail quickly gets screened away, our pieces achieve surprisingly high penetration (assistants don't tend to throw away cartoons about their bosses).

     "But none of this makes a difference unless it translates into successful tests, controls and campaign. And has it ever."

      How Did Stu Choose Cartoonists for His Marketing Group?
"I went for the ones whose work I knew from two magazines, especially The New Yorker. I learned an important lesson very early — work with the very best people in a given field. It pays off in ways that you can never imagine till you do it. I had the best cartoonists in the world in my stable, on exclusive contracts for direct mail. No one else could get to them. No one else could compete, even though they tried quite often."

    In 1992 Stu Hit the Jackpot with Textbook Perfection!
The client was Advertising Age, aristocrat of advertising/marketing business magazines. Founded in 1930 it publishes 18 issues a year and reaches 54,000+ print subscribers and two million plus monthly digital users.

Here's Stu's direct mail envelope featuring a drawing by The New Yorker senior cartoonist, Leo Cullum.

"The only purpose of the carrier envelope, other than keeping its contents from spilling onto the street, is to get itself opened."
—Herschell Gordon Lewis, Legendary Freelance Copywriter.

         Quickie Rule on What Makes Successful Marketing Copy:
The seven Key Copy Drivers (emotional hot buttons that cause people to take immediate action) are:
Fear — Greed — Guilt — Anger — Exclusivity — Salvation — Flattery.

"If your copy isn't dripping with one or more of these hot buttons, tear it up and start over." —Bob Hacker, Direct Marketing Guru, Seattle, Washington

Note the 14 words of the caption of Leo Cullum's cartoon on the above envelope. You'll find two of the seven Hot Buttons: exclusaivity and a ton of flattery.

                   Hot Button #1: "Exclusivity"
Everybody loves to see their name in print. An envelope addressed to "John Q. Sample" by name is guaranteed to generate exponentially more readers than one addressed to "Occupant" or "Currant Resident." John Sample's name appears twice on this envelope. This envelope is conclusively exclusive for John Q. Sample.

       Hot Button #2: "Flattery" (in the cartoon caption)
"We need someone with vision, creativity and great marketing instincts... someone like John Q. Sample."

      As an Example of Marketing Wizardry by Stu Heinecke
        Turned His Envelope into a Marvelous Premium.
• A premium is Free Gift to sweeten the deal for the buyer.

• "A premium is a bribe to say 'Yes' now."  —Dick Benson

• Do the arithmetic. Make sure your return on investment in a premium gift justifies the additional expense. The Leo Cullum personalized cartoon costs peanuts to produce and mail.

The First 4 Paragraphs ofStu's Three-page Sales Letter
Where He Leads with His Irresistible Freepremium.



Paragraph 1 — Outrageous, Delicious Flattery
The Publisher of Advertising Age asked me to make a very special subscription offer to a small, select group of advertising and marketing professionals. Your name was submitted to me as one who qualifies.

Paragraph 2 — Exclusivity, Greed.
So ... here it is — a private invitation to subscribe to Advertising Age at the best discount I can offer — a savings of $40 off the cover price. And, if you send in your subscription order by September 4, 1990, you will also receive an 8 X 10, suitable-for-framing gallery print of the cartoon above, personalized with your name.

Paragraph 3 — Exclusivity, Greed.
     This limited edition cartoon by famous New Yorker cartoonist Leo Cullum will be personalized with your name, and mailed to you absolutely free and with our compliments.

Paragraph 4 — Salvation.
This opportunity to subscribe to Advertising Age at such a low rate is being offered to you Mr. Sample, because we are sure that you will benefit from....

                                     For the Record.
When Peggy and I were publishing the newsletter, WHO'S MAILING WHAT! this AdAge mailingfirst arrived in our massive Archive around 1990 and continued coming month-after-month for seven straight years. It was obviously hugely successful and, above all, profitable! This amazing direct mail effort is one of the 1,600+ "Grand Controls" that were mailed for three or more consecutive years during the three decades we collected direct mail samples.

 Quickie Note on the Use of Premiums.


"This goes back to the old adage of 'spending money to make money.' Make sure your return on investment justifies the additional expense. Do not simply insert or offer premiums because you think it is clever strategy.' —Dan Cappel

Leo Cullum's personalized cartoon cost peanuts to print in black-and-white and mailed to each new subscriber for who pays for the frame to display it. This ego-stroking goodie had a high perceived value and cost maybe a dollar apiece with shipping.

The above personalized ceramic mug from an earlier AdAge promotion is a much bigger deal. Each mug requires an individual printing and production job. My guess: printing a different name on each white blank mug, firing it in a kiln at 2200° degrees, waiting for it to cool – plus highly protective packaging, addressing and postage would run up the cost to maybe $7—$10 (or more) per new subscriber, puts a serious dent in your allowable cost-per-order. Print periodicals generally don't begin to break even or start turning a profit until the second or third year (if ever). ;-)


Stu's Signature Book

                     Click Here for Amazon                         

 Stu and His Team Have Created 50+ Controls (so far)
For Publishers, Non-publishers and Fund Raisers.

A Bunch More.

A Preview of Peripatetic Stu's Current Passion:
"Weed Strategy" and "Contact Marketing"

Click Below for Details on Amazon




P.S. Stu is a fascinating, fun guy with a treasure trove of Direct Marketing Information — know-how ideas, copy and design experience.  Loves working with people to help expand their businesses. Give him a shout at https://stuheinecke.com


 Word Count: 1332

292pp     6" x 9"
Hardcover:     $39.95
Paperback:     $29.95
ebook/Kindle: $19.95



Barnes & Noble



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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