Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

Archive for September, 2009

Are TV Commercials TOO LOUD?

September 28th, 2009 by Bob Bly

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., CA) seems to think so.

According to an article in Parade (9/27/09, p. 6), Eshoo recently introduced the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Migitation Act (CALM) — I kid you not.

If CALM passes, the FCC would be required to set new limits requiring lower volume on TV commercials.

Consumer advocates support CALM, arguing that “Advertisers simply do not have a right to scream at consumers in their living rooms,” says Joel Kelsey of Consumers Union.

Advertisers and the FCC point out that if consumers want less volume on TV commercials, they can simply use their remotes to turn down the sound.

Where do you stand on this fairly trivial but very controversial issue?

Should advertisers be forced by law to make TV commercials quieter?

Or can we leave it to consumers to combat loud TV commercials with the VOLUME control on their remotes?

What say you?


Category: General | 86 Comments »

And You Think YOUR Job is Tough?

September 28th, 2009 by Bob Bly

I often hear people say — and I often say it myself — that we have it tougher in today’s fast-paced world than workers of earlier generations.

But do we really? Here’s a notice a School Board sent to its teachers — in 1872 — as part of their job description:

1. Teachers will fill lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks each day.

2. Each teacher will bring a scuttle of coal and a bucket of water for the day?s use.

3. Make your pens carefully; you may whittle nibs for the individual tastes of the children.

4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.

5. After ten hours in school, the teacher should spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other food books.

6. Women teachers who marry or engage in other unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

7. Every teacher should lay aside from his pay a goodly sum for his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.

8. Any teacher who smokes or uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason for suspecting his worthy intentions, integrity and honesty.

9. The teacher who performs his labors faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of 25 cents a week in his pay, providing the Board of Educations approves.

I dunno. Maybe we don’t have it as tough as we think….

Your thoughts?


Category: General | 86 Comments »

15 Things That Really Bug Me

September 25th, 2009 by Bob Bly

1?People who wear cowboy hats but are not cowboys.

2?Ad agency executives who brag that their marketing is creative ? as if being clever and creative is the objective.

3?Men who smoke a pipe in public and are under 60.

4?Drivers who play rap or hip-hop on their car sound system at maximum volume with the windows down.

5?Consultants who defend promotions that do not generate sales by reminding us that ?it?s a branding ad.?

6?Strangers who feel compelled to point out typos on my web sites and then suggest I hire them as a proofreader.

7?Teenagers who ride bicycles without holding on to the handlebars and let their arms hang down by their sides as they pedal.

8?People who e-mail me a link to their web site asking me for my opinion of it ? without offering to pay me.

9?The ultra-hype school of copywriting — especially when used to promote ?make money on the Internet? offers.

10?People who believe the Law of Attraction alone will get them what they want — without having to work for it or take any action in pursuit of its acquisition.

11?Kids who wear baggy pants so low below the waistline that their underwear shows.

12?Reality television — with the exception of Gordon Ramsey?s Kitchen Nightmares, which teaches interesting principles of restaurant success — many of which apply to other businesses.

13?Marketing consultants, speakers, writers, and gurus who proclaim they know what really works in marketing today — but have never beaten my copy or anyone else?s in an A/B split test.

14?Internet marketers whose sole mission in life seems to be to tell you how smart, rich, and successful they are, how wonderful their lives are, and the latest material possessions they have purchased.

15?Entertainers who use profanity gratuitously and could be just as funny without it. (Chris Rock comes immediately to mind.)


Category: General | 76 Comments »

Dealing with Anti-Marketing Snobs

September 25th, 2009 by Bob Bly

I was at a party recently where circumstances forced me into small talk with another guest.

?What do you do?? he asked me.

I explained that I was a copywriter and wrote sales letters.

He snorted: ?I never read junk mail,? he said, smirking.

?And what do you do?? I asked politely.

?I?m a chiropractor,? he replied.

I snorted: ?I never go to chiropractors.?

I almost added that I only go to doctors who actually graduated from medical school ? but I didn?t.

Why is it that other people feel the need to put down total strangers ? and especially put down marketing?

It?s ironic that so many people look down on sales and marketing, when virtually every one of their employers depends on it for their very survival, don?t you think?


Category: General | 49 Comments »

Overcoming Objections

September 24th, 2009 by Bob Bly

A skeptical reader of my e-newsletter recently wrote the following in response to an e-mail I sent him promoting one of my products on starting an Internet business:

“Would any of your how-to information work? We tried different marketing programs and there was very little change.”

How did I handle this objection?

I sent him a 5-word e-mail in response.

It said: “Here’s what my customers say:”

Underneath was a hyperlink to my product testimonial page.

Would you have responded differently — or with a longer e-mail reply?


Category: General | 130 Comments »

Death of an HP Printer

September 23rd, 2009 by Bob Bly

After more years of service than I can recall, my beloved HP LaserJet 4si printer has finally given up the ghost.

The machine printed 19 black and white pages per second and had two paper trays that, combined, held 1,000 sheets. I loved this feature because it eliminated frequent reloading of paper.

Even though it was ultra-reliable, HP discontinued the LaserJet 4si because of its massive size. So though mine is in principle repairable, you can’t get parts in a timely fashion any more.

So I have to buy a new printer for my Dell PC. I don’t need or want color. I need high speed black and white, lots of paper capacity, reliability, and ruggedness, since I print a LOT.

Any suggestions?


Category: General | 83 Comments »

When Naming Your Business, Choose Words Carefully

September 20th, 2009 by Bob Bly

You’ve heard of Meineke Discount Muffler, right?

Nothing wrong with that name.

So Jeff wanted a similar sounding name for his auto repair shop specializing in brakes.

We drove past his place today and saw in front a big sign that said:


I said to my wife: “I’m not sure when we’re shopping for brakes, the word we are thinking of to describe them is BUDGET or BARGAIN or anything that implies cheap merchandise.”

Maybe Jeff’s RELIABLE Brakes.

What do you think of the name JEFF’S BUDGET BRAKE — good, bad, or terrible?


Category: General | 72 Comments »

7 Ways to Get Richer

September 18th, 2009 by Bob Bly

In a previous post, ?The 4 Secrets of a Successful and Happy Life,? I wrote that one of the 4 conditions required to enjoy a happy and successful life is having money.

But how do you achieve a greater-than-average net worth?

Here are 7 suggestions:

1?Acquire a valuable skill that enables you to earn an income that is at least 2X greater than the national average and preferably 3X greater.

2?Save more than you spend ? at least 10% of your gross income annually.

3?Start your own business.

4?Have multiple streams of income and continually add more.

5?Don?t buy a lot of useless crap you don?t need. It clutters your life, costs you money, takes up space, and depreciates in value.

6?Buy services (e.g., a lawn mowing service) that free you from unproductive labor so you can spend your time on more profitable or enjoyable pursuits. Buy time, not junk.

7?Invest in real estate and other assets that appreciate in value (e.g., gold) or generate income (e.g., vacation rental property).


Category: General | 102 Comments »