Denny’s Zinger: 19th Century Ads in 2015

Want Ads

Sunday, June 21 2015 — The Business Section of The New York Times contains several pages of “Help Wanted” ads — solid gray walls of type.

No category segmentation. No bold headlines. Just endless listings — alphabetical by job title — in unreadable sans serif 7-point mouse type.

At right are specs for a “Scent Design Manager” — approximately 150 words. It is positioned between “Salesperson” and “Senior Business Analyst.”

“Salesperson” and “Senior Business Analyst” require a ton of explanation.

“Scent Design Manager” is niche profession. The candidate needs minimal information — company name and location, brief overview, website for further details and whom to contact.

In the second image, I rewrote the ad, bumped up the size of the type. Made it readable. Uses less space. Saves money.

Want Ads

Takeaways to Consider:

  • “Type smaller than 9-point is difficult for most people to read.” —David Ogilvy
  • “Avoid gray walls of type.” —David Ogilvy
  • “Success in direct marketing is 40 percent lists, 40 percent offer and 20 percent everything else.” —Ed Mayer
  • You don’t reach scent experts in the general business pages of The New York Times.
  • Run a brief, easy-to-read ad in big type directing the candidates to your website where you can woo the pants off them in the comfort of your home territory.
  • Godfrey Daniel I hate HR people who fancy themselves as marketers and happily piss away the boss’s cash.

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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