Denny’s Zinger: The Most Efficient Advertisement in History

Sheldon HearstMeet Sheldon Hearst, proprietor of GOOD NEIGHBOR FREE BULLETIN BOARDS, found in supermarkets nationwide before the Internet.

A customer leaving with groceries would encounter Sheldon’s bulletin board: A wall of yellow message forms contained free ads handwritten by folks offering babysitting services, cars for sale, lawn mowing, etc.

Sheldon was the precursor of Craigslist and Angie’s List.

Hearst’s revenue came from wire racks amidst the ads. Businesses could rent these for their take-one brochures.

A network of sales reps serviced the racks.

Wet Bed?

“Great book. It is an example of the kind of writing it preaches. It’s also loaded with great tips you can apply immediately.” —Anthony Metivier
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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

Publish date: June 19, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT