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#98 Trump Letter
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia , PA
Wednesday, June 17, 2020

 Issue #98 – Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Posted by Denny Hatch

“The teaser on the envelope is the hot pants on the hooker.” 
Bill Jayme

Oh, what hot, hot pants!

The open rate would be 100%!
Okay, this envelope is obviously fake news. It's not real.

I wrote and designed it.

My message to Fox News: "It's a joke."

Maybe It's Not a Joke. I Believe Trump's       
Campaign May Have Committed Mail Fraud.         
In late May 2020, the Trump campaign sent out to millions of taxpayers a personal letter containing the same information you see on the fictitious envelope above.

Below is the actual outside envelope in which Trump's personal message was mailed to millions of taxpayers.

(NOTE: John & Christine Williams and the address above are fictitious. The mailing is real. I have one in my archive.)
What the hell is the Treasury Department doing sending out a personal letter signed by Donald Trump from The White House in an official Treasury Department OSE?

Below is Trump’s Mailing Received in a
Treasury Department Official Envelope.
Is This a Trump/Pence Campaign Mailing?
I have written on several occasions that members of Congress are not allowed to make fundraising calls nor talk about money with donors in their Capitol Hill offices. Instead, they are forced to spend 4 hours every workday in an off-site phone bank pleading for money. If they don’t raise $18,000 a day, they won’t be re-elected.

My question to the FEC: If a member of Congress is not allowed to make fund raising phone calls from his or her office, can the President of the United States send a fundraising letter to voters in an official Treasury Department envelope?

Technically Trump’s letter is not a fundraising effort. It does not ask for money. It’s dispensing money. Ergo, the campaign lawyers would argue, a fund-giving mailing cannot be called a campaign effort.

Okay, I agree. It’s not a fundraising mailing.

Let’s call it a vote-buying mailing.

“Jeez, Honey, the President is sending us $833. The least we can do is say thank you and vote for him.”

Hey! Why Not Cut Out Treasury and Send
Checks Directly from the White House!
Hell's bells! Trump's name is printed on all the relief checks going out.

The scheme was dreamed up by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Here's the headline from the story in Forbes:
Mnuchin Says Putting Trump’s Name   On Stimulus Checks Was His Idea
 Who needs Steve Mnuchin as the middleman? Let's call a spade a spade. Make damn sure all taxpayers know the money is coming from Sugar Daddy Donald.

Add to the mix: Gerrymandering, voter suppression, eliminating vote-by-Mail, failing to fund the Postal Service, drastically reducing the number of voting machines, purging registered voters, Covid-19 spikes killing off voters, paying off voters in the name of the president and...
Ladeez an' Germs, you have a winnah! 

(BTW, the winner's initials are NOT J.B.)

 Okay, Let an Old Direct Mail Guy
Gussy Up President Trump's Letter
This letter from the president has all the energy and warmth of a dunning notice for overdue taxes or a blob of pigeon guano on the shoulder of your new Gucci jacket in St. Mark’s Square in Venice.

The Trump campaign operatives wanted the Williamses to read three paragraphs of drivel—201 dreary words—before getting the BIG NEWS buried in paragraph 4 of the letter. 

It's a nice letter from the President—alerting John and Chris they are about to receive a chunk of cash and to make sure they remember how wonderful The Dear Leader is.

But given all the bureaucratic verbiage in the letter, millions of Americans no doubt never hung in for the big news—that they were gonna get a hefty $833.85.

Sending a Business Letter to Joe and Jane Lunchbox? 
These Are the Tested Rules of Written Communications.
• “Currently, 45 million Americans are functionally illiterate and cannot read above a fifth-grade level.”
—Literacy Project

• “50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth-grade level.” 
—Literacy Project

• “Short words! Short sentences! Short paragraphs!” 
—Andrew J. Byrne, Freelancer

• Don’t use words with a lot of syllables, such as “experiencing,” “unprecedented,” “determination” and “Administration.”

• You don’t see words like these in tweets or texts. American attention spans are too short to handle them.”

• “Avoid gray walls of type.”
—David Ogilvy
“A letter should look and feel like a letter.” 
—Dick Benson

(A Quick Aside on "Trump l'oeil")  
Paintings that appear so real that they look like photographs are called “Trompe l’oeil”—French for “fool the eye.”  If you want the reader of your letter to believe it’s the real thing—intimate, personal and actually signed by the sender—technology can do that for you. My verdict for this Trump l’oeil self-pat-on-the-back is that of the old carnival pitchman: “Close, but no cigar!”)

Here’s the Part of the Letter Where 
The Trump l’oeil Crashes and Burns

• Up until the late 1970s, warm old-fashioned Courier type was standard for use in letters. They looked like the sender sat down at an old Remington typewriter and hand-typed it. When I was a clerk in the Army 1958-60, all the letters I typed for the senior officers to sign looked like this.

• Trump's letter is a serif font—probably a Times Roman—okay in 2020—and in upper/lower case as it should be.
• However, why are the names and address at the top (1) indented? And (2) all CAPS? 

• Plus, the teensy-weensy line of code at the top further destroys any sense of reality. It’s obvious this text block is a machine-driven add-on that destroys the personalization and wrecks any sense of intimacy or Trompe l’oeil.

• In short, what could have been a warm, personal note from the president comes across as a poorly personalized form letter by third-rate programmers.

• The Bar Code under the name an address is obviously not hand typed. Alas it is a necessary evil, since the letter comes in a window envelope. The bar code is needed to show through the window in order to be compatible with the USPS automatic sorters that guide it to the right address.  

• The salutation—“My Fellow American”—stinks.

   —First off, a “fellow” is a man or boy—hardly an appropriate salutation to a woman.

   —If the computer can print JOHN AND CHRISTINE WILLIAMS, a tiny tweak to the program—at no additional cost—could insert:

     Dear John & Christine,

in a matching font in upper/lower case. This is not rocket science!

• The next thing that should catch the reader’s eye is a headline that telegraphs what this letter is what this letter is about—in this case, the big bucks that are being sent ($833.85).

• In the gawd-awful world of Covid-19—layoffs from work, no income, home detention, confused pets and antsy kids—the news of $833.85 coming soon is a pants-wetter for many.

Here’s the Revised Letter Proclaiming the Good News
As Tweaked by the Old Direct Mail Guy

Takeaways to Consider
• “The wickedest sin is to run an ad without a headline.” 
David Ogilvy

• Same thing with a direct mail letter.

• The headline (or Johnson box) is essential. It immediately makes the taxpayer feel good about Donald Trump. Put another way, with no headline, a huge percentage of taxpayers who have trouble reading will miss the point of the letter that the Trump team hopes will translate into votes.

• Worse, they might completely miss receiving the cash. I damn near chucked out our debit card. It was a lumpy envelope and I assumed it was sales pitch for AAA or AAARP. Thank goodness Peggy opened it.

• I left the body copy of the original letter alone. This is what Trump operatives sweated over. Yes, it’s tedious as hell and yet another self-serving paean. But given the reported fragility of egos in the White House, I would not want to monkey with it.

• Something I have never seen before: The reverse of the letter was absolutely the same—complete with all the personalization—with one difference. It was in Spanish.

• In short, the small changes from the original letter would cost nothing. They are simple programming and copy tweaks that would turn it into a letter that looks and feels like a letter.

• I have often said all businesses—from lone wolf consultants and fulfillment departments to Chairmen & CEOs of multi-national corporations—should have access to the services of a seasoned, sensitive direct marketing copywriter to look over their shoulders and tidy up crappy copy to prospects, customers, subscribers and inquiries.

Word Count:1425
You Are Invited to Meet Denny Hatch.
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! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he 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.


Denny Hatch
The St. James
200 West Washington Square, #3007
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-644-9526 (Rings on my desk) 
A Note About Denny Hatch’s Marketing Books
When North American Publishing summarily shut down its little book publishing division, all my direct marketing and business books were suddenly gone from the market. Some were available as “collector’s items” at many hundreds—and in some cases thousands!—of dollars. I have made arrangements with a Canadian marketer to republish some of these as Special Reports or White Papers. Will let you know when they are available. Thank you for your patience.

About Denny Hatch’s Novels
Meanwhile two titles are available. They are:
How Mafia Marketed a Candidate
To Become Mayor of New York City

A Comedy About Breeding People 
 Kindle Edition: $2.99

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215-644-9526 (rings on my desk).

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Name: Denny Hatch
Group: Denny Hatch's Marketing Blog
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA United States
Direct Phone: 215-644-9526
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