Leave now if easily shocked or politically correct. Otherwise, please leave your comments.

Statements such as "brilliant", "hugely perceptive", "what a splendid man" and "can I buy you dinner at the restaurant of your choice" are all greeted with glee.

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“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” – and you’ll find plenty in your in-box

Why I don’t believe for a split second that this man was telling the truth – and nor should you

If you haven’t received a few emails like this. I’ll be amazed.

It is headed “Web Listing” – which didn’t exactly set the tired Bird pulse racing – then reads:


My name is Alex and I am an Online Strategist.

I’ve been tracking the success of your website while doing some research on your industry—I’m impressed with your company, but there are some real opportunities for growth that you currently are missing.

Are you interested in several proven strategies to use content and social media to drive relevant traffic to your site? In 20 minutes I can show you how to fuel your brand and generate more revenue from search engines and social networks. This is a $500 value free of charge. I’d like to follow up about this with a quick phone call. Can I call you this week to discuss your campaign?

But I would be even more amazed if Alex really had looked at my website and spotted these opportunities. And not even one tenth as amazed as if I actually got anything worthwhile out of talking to them.

The truth is such messages are sent out by the thousand. They are spam, aimed at people who know little or nothing about search engines and such and fall for this flim-flammery.  And they work pretty well.

I would love to know precisely – and quickly – what Alex the strategist found so impressive about my site, because that is just flattery. And I’d ask what exactly he was going to do to “fuel my brand”. And I wonder which campaign he was talking about.

If you spoke to Alex you can fairly safely bet the initials SEO would come up at some point. This is your cue to run a mile. The days when you got a good ranking by clogging your prose with all the right key-words have long gone.

As far as possible Google simply looks for good content. And if you know what you’re talking about, you don’t need anyone to provide that. You just do what Google tells you to.

Yes; they want to make money out of you. But they know that this will only happen if you do better. The days when they were unbearably arrogant are fading fast. The faster Facebook and the others get better, the more helpful Google will get.

If you are one of those who can’t write or think of anything interesting to say I suggest a swift career change. Maybe you could become a “strategist”. After all, everyone else no matter how piddling their job seems to be nowadays.

But if you can write and have something good that you’d like people to buy, AskDrayton.com may be just the ticket for you.

And this is a very good time to improve. You’re probably too busy to lie awake worrying, but there are many economic danger signs. And they are going to stifle your ability to make a living if you don’t get better at what you do.

The US is divided as never before, still printing funny money.  The UK has one of the world’s highest levels of national debt **.  Germany – the powerhouse of Europe – is floundering. The entire EU teeters on the brink of a third recession. Nobody knows what to do about the Islamic maniacs who threaten our oil supplies. China’s economy is slowing down. Australia – which escaped the last 8 years’ slump – is suffering because their minerals sold to China created an artificial boom.

I have survived two rotten recessions. I started my most successful business in the ’70′s recession, when things were so bad we had a 3-day week.  We didn’t do well because my partners and I were brilliant. We did well because we knew more that our competitors and we promoted like crazy.

** When politicians talk about the deficit “reducing” did you realise this is not the debt we all owe. It is the rate at which that debt is growing. Things are getting worse – but not as quickly as they were.

Don’t you think this is a pretty good time to improve your marketing knowledge and abilities? That is how AskDrayton.com helps you.



The gentle art of corporate masturbation with free advice on what not to do in your emails

Why are email open rates down to as low as 3% on average? This sort of guff gives you a clue.


I am sitting in a hotel room in Vancouver – an excellent city – going through my emails when I see the e-mail above.

It reminds me that after people had stopped snoring through my keynote speech, my kind host at Canada Post showed some interesting statistics.

It seems that email open rates have slumped to 3%.

To give you a comparison open rates for direct mail when I looked some years ago were around 50%.

If you wonder why you and I don’t read our emails, look no further than the example I’ve shown.

  1. The chief reason why people open or don’t open emails is, as a rule, the name of the sender. We tend to read stuff from people we know rather than those we don’t.
  2. As I haven’t the vaguest idea who Andrew Lyons is, I only noticed this for professional reasons: I am always looking for examples of incompetence.
  3. And since I didn’t know Andrew or what he does, I didn’t care that he had changed his looks, his name, or whatever services he renders. Maybe his mother does – who knows?
  4. The whole thing is reversed out which will make it twice as hard to read.
  5. It does not look like a personal message, which will slash readership further.
  6. Having told me about the dramatic changes in his life it turns out that what Andrew really wants to talk about is getting my office clean. A lost cause – the landlord does all that.
  7. I do not believe for one fraction of a second that “the marketplace” – whatever that is – asked his firm to change its name. I would suggest that “the marketplace” doesn’t give a toss.
  8. It is just possible that “the marketplace” might be interested in some of the terrifying statistics bandied about after it has stopped reading, but I doubt it.
  9. I doubt it because people only change cleaning firms when they are pissed off with the one they’ve got.
  10. All this is a shame because someone has gone to great trouble to produce something almost entirely wrong. They may even have paid someone to do it.

If you think your email or direct mail or advertising or marketing or just about anything in your business could be improved, come to EADIM and we’ll tell you how.

It will probably cost you less than paying people to produce stuff that doesn’t work.

And I guarantee it will be more entertaining or your money back.


“Is this the worst-ever salesletter?” asks Denny Hatch

Plus not one, but two apologies for my slack incompetence – and the return of the Hound of Newton Abbott

basil drayton

What’s he doing here? Read on.

The splendid Denny Hatch put up the following literary turd  yesterday as a candidate for the worst-ever salesletter.

It has to be a serious contender, neatly adding pig-ignorant incomprehensibility to boastful, jargonesque twaddle, with a dash of pushy ignorance.

The opening is sickeningly familiar. I regularly get stuff from people who “missed me”, or want to “set up time to talk”.

The feeling is rarely reciprocated. Here is the abortion in question:


I missed you in the office today when I called. I would like to set up an appointment with you as soon as possible to discuss some enterprise marketing solutions that are leading the industry. 

I want to bring you up to speed on what we are doing to shorten the distance between advertising dollars spend and ROI with today’s digital marketing. If you are like my other advertisers, you will like the targeted buyer-behavior-based-marketing-campaigns that are leading the industry with great quality engagement all across the web. We now have almost a year on these campaigns and I am so excited to say that we are exceeding industry averages in results on every campaign we have because of the additional proprietary data we use to target your right buyers.  Guaranteed impressions to the right buyer with measurable results and emailed lead reports to you every day are standard in our full service campaigns! 

Can we set up a brief phone call to discuss where exactly we can help you gain the most market share? I assure you, the information we share regarding these advancements will be beneficial to you regardless if we move forward or not. I would like the opportunity to share how these are driving greater ROI for all of our advertisers.

Kindest Regards,

Are you open to discussing how we can help you build more effective marketing strategies to efficiently target all your buyers all across the web in real time? This allows us to get you and your message in front of those buyers who are actively seeking you, your services and even those engaging with your competitors in real time but all across the internet on the sites they visit most. The campaigns are scalable and can be designed to fit any geographical target audience all the way to global.

I  often wonder what unreal time is, by the way. But not as often as I wonder exactly how incompetent I am.

For instance a while ago I floated two contests. One was to caption a picture of me with my partner Al’s ferocious hound Basil – seen above in a rare moment of repose. The other was to do with a dreadful website for a restaurant on The Shard

That offered a prize (or penalty) of a free dinner with me.

The Basil one offered a free place at Eadim.

I then completely forgot about both of these brilliant wheezes.

Actually, that’s a lie. Every now and then I felt a guilty twinge.

This has now become so painful that I shall return to both soon, asking for new entries.

If you have already bought a place at EADIM and you give the best answer to the caption contest, I will refund your investment.

If you have not, then you can get a substantial discount if you:

a) Read this blog regularly

b) Are now or have ever been my client

c) Follow me on facebook or twitter or are a friend on linked-in

d) Have attended previously

If you come up with the best comment on the Shard ad, I will honour my promise to wine and dine you.

More about that one shortly. Dinner can wait; EADIM can’t.

10 really great ways for your kids to have fun with guns

Since the NRA has put out a  piece telling kids how to have fun at the shooting range, here’s a list of some they missed out

Forgive me for butting in; I know it’s not really my business, but I have children and a grandchild in the NRA’s own country.

And I apologise for my lack of imagination: eight of the ten  have already happened.

So here goes:

1. Kill your instructor.

2. Shoot your girlfriend.

3. Shoot your 2 year-old baby sister.

5. Go to class and see how many classmates you can shoot in 3 minutes

6. Don’t forget to shoot your teacher.

7. Go to the mall and just generally have fun shooting anyone you happen to see.

8. Shoot your parents.

9. Get a petition up asking for the Right to Bear Arms to include Guided Nuclear Missiles.

10. Give some thought to whether it might be fun to shoot the Head of the NRA. Wouldn’t there be something rather poetic about that? And think of the headlines!







£15 million here, £390 million there. Pretty soon you’re talking serious money. Billions, actually

Another Royal Bank of Scotland classic. And who will pay? Anyone at the bank? What’s your best guess?

We all remember fondly the man who got this bank into a mess – the deeply unpleasant sociopath Fred Goodwin, now happily playing golf while we wonder why a) he has a pension and b) he isn‘t in jail.

And let us shed a tear for Ross McEwan, the New Zealander chief executive  who volunteered to clear the mess up. I wonder how many more nasty surprises are coming his way

The bank is going to be fined about £15m for giving dodgy mortgage advice to customers, having already been fined £390m for its part in the LIBO rate fixing scam.

The bank lost £8.2bn last year and has set aside £3.2bn to compensate customers mis-sold loans.

The money has to come from somewhere. But we don’t have to wonder where. RBS is 81% owned by us, the taxpayers. So we will be coughing up. Assisted, of course, by the customers. Who are also tax-payers.

And once again we wonder who will be punished for all this criminal activity.

It seems that in this country the only people who never get what should be coming to them are them. The people in charge.

In the quite different, infinitely nastier case it seems nobody is responsible for the 1,400 abused children in Rotherham. The police boss who presided over the mess – in which the police were clearly culpable – doesn’t think he should resign.



Amazing! A bank that does what banks used to do

Could it be that instead of running currency scams and pissing you off they’d do better by doing the right thing?

Down the road from me a rather dull modern building was briefly occupied by part of the Hargreaves Lansdown organisation.

I only know this because they were clients for a few years. They built their business in part by offering a better service than their competitors. They were also (and still are) better at marketing.

This approach paid off to such a tune that earlier this year I calculated one of their two founders was worth more than all the Rolling Stones put together.

Now the building houses a firm called Handelsbanken. Even with my sketchy Swedish, acquired when I ran – or failed to – a disastrous record business in Stockholm 45 years ago, I can work out they must be a bank.

But I didn’t know what kind of a bank until I read something in the Financial Times.

This bank is a throwback.

They have branch managers. The branch managers do what their name suggests. They manage their branches, deciding things like who to lend money to – and at what interest rate.

If you ring up you don’t talk to some poor slave in a call centre. You can talk to the manager directly – even at weekends.

There are no sales targets, but the staff have a real interest in the business. The top bananas don’t get obscenely high salaries. Everyone gets the same bonus. A bonus such that some staff who have been with the bank for ten years can expect to retire with a million pounds.

Their customers rate them more highly than British banks’ customers do. They are more profitable. They are better funded. They have never been fined for crooked behaviour or had to go to the government for help.

The result of all this is that they are highly profitable and busy opening branches while British banks close them.

All this is the exact opposite of the way most businesses are run today. Bosses getting paid obscenely large salaries – 149 times the average of workers. Focus on slashing costs rather than improving service – and on ripping off rather than serving.

It reminds me of what I think is one of the best slogans ever written, for New York stockbrokers E.W. Barney, by Ogilvy & Mather.

“We make money the old fashioned way. We earn it.”

The entire FT article is here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ff11a4c0-2a2e-11e4-a068-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3BTb4ONih



Which is worse? Fraud or incompetence? Lloyds or Nokia?

If people were banged up in jail for blithering ineptitude, who should get the longer stretch?

Honestly, will you choose their phone because you go to work and are alive?

Honestly, will you choose their phone because you go to work and are breathing?











Here’s a good one for you.

“Giving money to a bank is like handing a gallon of beer to a drunk. You know what he’s going to do with it. You’re just not sure which wall it will end up against”.

The same, I often reflect, applies to far too many marketers. Especially those in big firms, where the prime skill is not selling, but climbing up the greasy pole.

Since Microsoft took over Nokia at least 18,000 people have lost their jobs.

It is almost impossible for any sane person to see why they bought the business anyhow. That is unless you can understand this gobbet of corporate gobbledegook from the executive vice president of Microsoft’s mobile devices group, Stephen Elop:

“The Nokia brand name is available for Microsoft to use for a period of time under license”, But he says it “will not be used for long going forward with smartphones” as it lays the plans for “one consistent brand”.

You do know, don’t you, that use of the phrase “going forward” makes many sane people throw up?

But don’t let that influence you. Just ask yourself a question.

Do you think Microsoft/Nokia will give you a better phone than Samsung or Apple? Does the ad you just saw even begin, however vaguely, to tell you how and why? I suspect Mr. Elop, who is actually the former Nokia boss, felt a twinge of nostalgia for the firm he helped run into the ground. Who knows?


Let us now turn to Lloyds.

Their latest criminal currency scam had one “Money Week” writer wondering if it isn’t time to stick a few bankers in jail. Don’t all shout out at once.

But forget fraud. What about sheer cluelessness? If there were punishment for that, the following sent me by Stuart Ferguson would certainly merit a good stretch.

“Hi, Drayton,

Had a phone call from an anonymous lady at my bank today.

Here is the entire sales conversation.

Me: (introducing myself)    Stuart Ferguson

She:    I’m just wondering if you want any insurance. We’re ringing people today.

Me:     No, I’m fine, thanks.

She:    Ok, thanks.

I often suspect that idiots, like whichever buffoon at Lloyds thought such a silly call a good idea, can cause as much damage, given the chance, as his colleagues in their Ingenious But Unpunished Fraud Department.


Returning to Microsoft and Nokia,  a poster which is a variation on the example shown above has enraged me for the last week. Only instead of the pathetic cliché “I want a phone for work and for life” the smirking model says “I want a phone for everything life throws at me”.

I don’t have to explain to you what utter tosh this is. Is there even the faintest hint as to why you should believe Nokia is going to be more use to you than any other phone?

And to imagine one word – “Honestly” – is going to get people reading to see what pleasures await betrays a criminal failure to understand something as  basic as what a headline is for.

On the other hand, you may think I am full of it. You may agree with Adam Johnson, marketing director for Microsoft Mobile UK and Ireland.

He told Marketing Week that Nokia’s story  ”is evolving from a pure hardware play to one experience across platforms.  … Now our marketing has become more seamlessly integrated in terms of tone and colour palette and so on.

Actually Nokia’s story is that they went broke amazingly quickly; but let Mr. Johnson continue:

“Consumers will feel this is more consistent across their journey. This is not just about putting a phone on a plinth [in retail], but more in context of the devices in the family and how the phone integrates with your PC, tablet and Xbox.

It seems that “for those consumers who do not currently own a Windows device, the marketing campaign – which will also use messages such as “effortlessly integrated” in the retail space – will position Lumia as an “entry point” into the “Microsoft software”.

That should do the trick, right? Don’t you wake up every morning wanting an entry point into the Microsoft software? Or do you just hate the bastards?


If you read this far and these quiet comments struck a chord with you – or even if you’d like lots of practical suggestions on how you can avoid making such ghastly mistakes and make more money – I have a suggestion for you.

Today is my birthday. I am 78. Maybe I should quit before I am found out.

So in about six weeks I shall pouring out everything I know about what works and what doesn’t in marketing, and especially the creative side – in two talks.

This will happen in the heart of London at EADIM. Being a modest, lazy and possibly just plain incompetent soul I have said almost nothing about myself on the site.

On the other hand I believe even if I keep my mouth shut this is an extraordinary opportunity for anyone even vaguely interested in marketing, business or success in life.

Have a look and see what you think. Whatever you decide this is absolutely the last time I shall do this.

And if you’re interested there is, of course, a special birthday offer.

Just write to me, Drayton@DraytonBird.com if you’d like to know more.

Sound advice about content (and profit) from one of the two people who depress the hell out of me

Week after week, day after day Bob Bly gives sound advice. Here is what he says about what you get for what you pay

Two people make me feel useless. One – Denny Hatch  – is older than me, and really should  do me a favour and retire to save me embarrassment.

His Target Marketing column keeps telling me things I have forgotten or never knew.

The other – Bob Bly – is younger, but I have been learning from him for decades when I always feel it should be the other way round.

Here he is on one of today’s most fatuous marketing fads – content marketing.

How the hell anyone in the last few thousand years did any selling without content quite escapes me. Maybe you can explain, but here is Bob on what really matters.

It is well worth reading because, as with almost everything he writes, it is utterly practical, grounded in fact, not fancy.

“Content marketing is one of the big hot trends in marketing

But there’s a dirty little secret the content marketing
evangelists won’t tell you — either because they don’t know or
fear it will reduce their value if revealed.

Namely, the more generous your free content offer, the worse
the quality of the leads your content marketing campaign will

Decades ago, Ed Nash articulated the notion that lead quality
and lead quantity are inversely proportional.

If you use tactics that boost lead quantity, you get all those
extra inquiries at the expense of lead quality, because the
tactics attract responses from people who like the free offer
but are not necessarily potential customers.

Conversely, the more you do to qualify the leads your marketing
generates, the better the quality of those leads, but the fewer
you get.

Marketing with freebie offers, whether the giveaway is content
or merchandise, is a tactic that carries with it the danger of
boosting lead quantity — i.e., creating hoards of people who
want your free white paper — at the expense of lead quality.

For instance, I once saw a promotion aimed at farmers to get
them to refer their neighbor farmers to the marketer. The
offer: give us the names of 3 neighbors who buy seed for their
farms and we will send your son a free football.

The marketer was flooded with response. But salespeople
reported that most of the referral names were in fact not seed
buyers nor farmers — and those who were had no interest in
speaking to a sales rep … and in fact resented their neighbor
for giving up their name.

This campaign was submitted to a Caples Award contest in which I was a judge, which was where I saw it. Of course it did not win.

My friend Sy Sperling, founder of the Hair Club for Men (HCM),
said they ran a free content offer on TV where they gave away a $15 book on hair loss. Result: a flood of freeloaders requesting
the book, almost none of whom had any interest in coming into
HCM for a free consultation.

Clearly, free content offers run the risk of requiring you to
give away valuable material to people with no interest in what
you are selling.

How can you make content marketing work better, and get requests for info from genuine prospects instead of deadbeats?

Here are a few suggestions:

>> Make the content of your white paper or special report narrow and specific. Reason: Very few people will download a guide on ”How to Size a Valve” unless they are valve buyers.

>> On the landing page where they can register to download or
request your content, have two boxes to check — one offering
free content and a second offering a free brochure on your
product or service. Those who just request the content without
also asking for product or service information are not good

>> Ask qualifying questions requiring mandatory answers on the landing page. Yes, for each additional field, you will reduce
conversion rate by about 10%. But you will also know from the
answers whether the person is a potential customer or just a
content moocher.

>> In your e-mail or other lead-generating sales copy, stress
the product or service, not the free content offer. Relegate the
free content offer to a secondary position in the copy, perhaps
in the closing paragraphs or a PS. This way, people respond to
your promotion primarily because of their interest in your
product and only secondarily to get the freebie.

>> Conversely, if you build your ad or other promotion around
the free content offer primarily or exclusively, up to 90% of
respondents will be interested only in your freebie, giving you
extremely unqualified inquiries and poor lead quality. However,
this gambit can be profitable with a low cost-per-lead.

For instance, we did a content campaign offering a free e-book
through an ad in an online newsletter. We paid $1,000 for the ad
and got over 100 downloads, giving us a cost per inquiry below

Let’s be ultra conservative and say only 10% of those download
requests were from actual prospects (I believe it was closer to
20%). That would give us a cost per lead (a lead being an
inquiry from a qualified prospect) of $100 — which given the
high cost of the service was still very profitable.”


I would only add one thought, which is that people rarely enquire unless they have some interest, however slight. So it can sometimes pay to get a lot of weak leads because among the dross there may be pearls.

Whether this is the case depends on the profit margin on what you are selling. If you have a big margin you can afford to keep chasing even weak leads. And of course chasing people via email is nigh-on free.

Would I like to work for Lloyds Bank? And whatever happened to doing your homework?

Even amongst the waves of meaningless pap that pour into my inbox, this asinine email from a job-slob stood out for sheer sloth and incompetence

I guess you, like me, get the usual crop of inane waffle in your inbox.

For instance today I was asked “Drayton, how effective are you at engaging with your database?” – which aroused an extraordinary level of irritation considering I haven’t a hangover.

But entertainment to soothe my savage breast came in the form of a wag who wrote offering me a job at Lloyd’s Bank:

From: Andrew Southall <Andrew.Southall@imsworldwide.uk.com>
Date: 17 July 2014 16:22:04 BST
To: “db@draytonbird.com” <db@draytonbird.com>
Subject: RE: Website

Hi Drayton,

Hope you’re well. I came across your website and twitter profile while recruiting for a role that may be of interest to you. I’m recruiting on behalf of Lloyds Banking Group as we change the major websites that they operate through as a part of the Digital Transformation programme, providing new services to customers and making the bank more accessible and up to date, much like other large companies like EE, Sainsbury’s and so forth.

If it is of interest do get back to me as soon as you can and send me an updated copy of your CV as well as confirming that you are happy to go forward.

I read on, panting with excitement to learn that the job pays up to £180 per day, and “this particular resource” (me) would be a content editor for six months or more.

During that time I would “Execute timely and accurate delivery of content changes to Lloyds / HBOS branded secure and non secure sites, via Teamsite content management system.

And I would Work closely with Customer Experience Site Managers and onsite ecommerce in interpreting copy and layout changes to turn these into quality content.

I suspect my wrist would be slapped if I failed to Follow governance processes in place and ensure accurate documentation of change for audit trail. Ensuring the website adheres to standards and guidelines: Brand guidelines, DDA, site structure, tone of voice, performance, legal & compliance.”

No wonder, for I would also have “Responsibility for applying due diligence to authorise changes to the Live websites.”

And for my £180 a day I would “Provide consultancy services on content change both within digital and across the wider content population as Subject Matter Experts”.

There was yet more.

“The role holder” (me again) would be responsible for making timely and accurate content changes to the public and secure websites ranging from small content changes to working on large project pieces.
In addition to the day to day responsibilities the role holder will need to be able to:
• Work to agreed timescales and manage own workload.
• Work well under pressure
• Manage stakeholder expectations
• Have a very high level of attention to detail. Accuracy is vital.
• Work well as part of a team.

But there was still yet more. I would also need:

Experience with Content Management Systems (CMS), as well an understanding of basic HTML code.

And I would be good at Teamworking. And need
• Basic Technical knowledge of the web and HTML.
• Basic knowledge of TeamSite or another CMS.
• Taking ownership of change and seeing it through.
• Managing stakeholders and meeting expectations.
• Self Organisation

What brought a wry smile was the news that “Ideally someone with web experience would preferable.”

I assume the missing “be” was just to see if I was paying attention, but essentially this was like digging through the stinking literary garbage found in the intellectual dustbins of commerce.”

And would I like to “go forward”? I’d run a bloody mile. Three days, never mind six months working with people who talk like that would drive any normal person to self-harm and perhaps suicide.

As you can imagine, my P.A., the redoubtable Kelly couldn’t wait to alert me to this opportunity.

But as you can also imagine, either Mr. Southall never really looked at my website or is too thick to comprehend that the person it is named after just isn’t up to the demands of a job like that.

Kelly, however, got a lot of laughs out of it all – especially when I told her that in 1986 I actually introduced Lloyds Bank to the joys of direct marketing.

Only estate agents are more useless than recruitment agencies.

The decline of advertising in 52 years and two pictures

From one of the best advertising campaigns ever to a deer in the headlights. Where did it all go wrong?

avis2Picture 001


Being an old fart I cannot resist the thought, manfully though I try, that things were better in my day.

This is, by and large, all balls for a number of reasons.

I doubt if many people now live the way folks did 58 years ago when  I moved into my house at number 175, Katherine Street, Ashton under Lyne (£775 freehold – and we overpaid).

The toilet was outside in the yard, where I used to fall asleep after too much Lutomer Reisling (40p a bottle) and where my wife Pam hung the washing. The yard, I mean, not the toilet. The washing would get covered with little black spots from all the coal fires.

We were the only ones in our row with a bath, which our neighbours would come and ask to use.

We were thrilled with our little black and white TV and its two channels (for some reason many of the programmes assumed you were not an illiterate moron).

Another reason it’s balls is simple. To my surprise, it’s still my day, so to speak.

The internet whiz Doberman Dan rang me up the other day to talk about doing a podcast. He asked if I still write copy. I do – in fact I wrote three pieces that morning.

I am tempted to say I’m not as good as I once was but I’m as good once as I ever was, though that’s open to debate.

More to the point, I think there has been a precipitous decline in advertising since 1952 when Doyle Dane Bernbach produced the ad on the left until now when the load of steaming crap on the right was excreted by some witless crew and approved by a “Chief Creative Officer”.

The slogan “We Try Harder” – one of the best ever written – was used for 50 years before a re-branding in 2012. At that point Avis – or whichever incompetents they overpaid – devised a new slogan, “It’s Your Space.”

Hello? Did they decide to go into the real estate business? Who knows? But you can be damn sure of three things.

First, there were lots of meetings involving far too many people with tiny brains, no knowledge of  communication and nothing better to do.

Second, a huge pile of jargon-encrusted waffle was produced to justify this inane decision.

And third those responsible were idiots.

If you want to know why those old ads were good, why Avis shot from nowhere to success, and what’s wrong with business today read “Up the Organisation” by Robert Townsend. One of the wisest, shortest and most entertaining books about business ever written.

In 1966 and later I worked with people from Doyle Dane Bernbach and Ogilvy who were in those agencies in that Golden Age. They helped turn me into someone who can still write copy that sells after 50-odd years.

If you want to know what I know join me in October in London.