Why it is never a good idea to start off a sales letter by hoping that your readers have had a Merry Christmas

A woman asked me to dance on New Year’s Eve.

After the dance she commented upon how miserable and down at heel I looked. I shrugged the sort of shrug that suggests a manly acceptance that what is, is, and that whatever it is, I could cope with it.

“Have you lost the woman you love?’ she persisted, when I said nothing.

"That’s what I’m trying to figure out," I replied. "It depends what construction you place on the words, “I never want to see or speak to you again in this world or the next, you miserable fathead.”

She nodded in an understanding way, and it made me reflect, not for the first time, that the way we feel may well have nothing whatsoever to do with the way with the people who read our advertising feel.

Which in turn means, if you talk about the past and the present, you could be striking the wrong note.

The only way around this is to write advertisements about what might be, if only the recipient of your advertisement would use your product or service.

Which is why us advertising chappies, always focus on the benefits of the product or service, which is to say, what the future for the recipient of the advert could be like, if only he/she would buy what we have to offer.

So don’t start this week’s advert by hoping your readers have had a very happy Christmas and a jolly New Year.  Talk instead about the future.  Or the fact that it is now thankfully going to be 333 days before anyone plays “Merry Christmas Everybody” by Slade, ever again.