The Power of 26 – A Return to Form

This is a wonderfully refreshing Homecoming. Whenever you may see this, thank you for coming back.  I know I haven’t written in a while, but heck, neither has Shakespeare, and we were in grade school together.

Truly this is a wonderful in and out platform and I’m grateful for the exposure and the flexibility to chime in when I can, or not. It’s about 16 months since we said hello. I’ve missed you. But I’ve kept busy. Other writings have been required. I am going to share these in sequence as they are among the best ‘Professional’ writings I believe I’ve composed.

Some followers know I am a Media guy. Planning and buying advertising space and time in newspapers, radio, on-line, TV, outdoor and elsewhere as needed. A professional shopper negotiating for best advertising value for all my clients.

Recently I composed a series of the Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising and How To Avoid Them.  These have come full circle. Starting as Ten bullet points, to becoming a series of Ten videos posted on YouTube, my website, Linked In, then audio on Soundcloud, and transcribed to text to be picked up by an OnLine industry magazine and now as full fledged articles from 800 to 1,800 words each.

Your kind indulgence, I shall begin posting these perhaps once or twice a week.

I truly discovered The POWER of 26 in this exercise. I hope you enjoy the style and content and as always you are welcome to share and refer. These were taken from my videos, so you may encounter references which reflect that.

Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising & How To Avoid Them
Text from Video #1 – Ad Testing & Tracking

Greetings and thanks very much for joining me today. This is Dennis Kelly of First Impressions Media.

I’m so delighted you could join me today. It strikes me that there are quite a number of opportunities out there for you to showcase your product or service using just about any form of media, and that’s fantastic. There’s, as you have probably discovered,
certainly no shortage of media players and opportunities. However, what I found the most powerful is utilizing all of those resources to their respective individual and then collective advantages.

Sometimes campaigns work wonderfully well using the more traditional radio, television, newspaper, magazine, maybe out of home advertising. More recently some advertisers have had some success with one or more of the social media platforms and that’s terrific. I think they should all be embraced and all form part of your media mix.

Please make no mistake that it should genuinely be a mix of media because you never know exactly which particular component is going to pull the trigger and get your target group to say…..That’s for me, that’s the product that I want!

Your service is exactly what I’m after. You want to make sure you give yourself every opportunity to be seen and to be heard to promote whatever it is, whatever service or product you have out there. You want to stand head and shoulders above the crowd, in front of as many of the right crowds as possible.

So, what I’d like to share with you starting today is a series of ten of the Top Ten Mistakes in Advertising that I’ve seen through these three decades of being a professional media planner and buyer, and share some secrets and some tips on how to avoid getting into those very same advertising challenges.

So we’re going to space this out as a series of 10, done one at a time, today being the intro will perhaps be a tad longer I do hope you will you will indulge me but let’s getstarted with Mistake Number One.

And you see ladies and gentlemen, the single biggest mistake I see repeated over and over and over again is the failure to Test and Measure your ads. All too often too many advertisers simply write a cheque for the ads in the newspaper, online, TV, radio, regardless of the media and simply hope for the best.

Many of you will attest, hope marketing really doesn’t pay an awful lot of bills.
You wouldn’t put your own product, tablelamps, lawnmowers, keyboards, post hole diggers, floor tiles, into the marketplace without putting them through an extensive battery of tests to see if they can live up to your standards.

You’re testing the ad that sells the product and, unfortunately, maybe you’ve encountered this yourself, or you know friends of a friend of a friend who had this happen to them.But they put all of their muscle into one media without finding out how effective it could be on a smaller scale and all they heard was crickets. That’s a devastating sound when you’re in advertising, so here’s what I want you to do.

Here is how you fix this: To identify each and every ad you place in any and all media.  What? Dennis, identify everything? Absolutely!

You see, what you want to do is see how well every single piece of creative is performing in each magazine, website, leaderboard, big box, outdoor ad, in every radio commercial. You should have, an identifier, a tag of any description that’s exclusive to that ad so you can go back and say we invested X number of dollars in this media and it brought us two returns, five returns, a thousand returns, whatever.

The performance helps you to know exactly how well that worked. What it does is it helps you on the future campaigns by identifying for you what has been your best performer. It challenges you to come up with even better ads, better media mixes, better dollar spending, because now you know what’s performing.

Dear readers this is not new. Nor is it rocket science. But it takes time and energy
and patience which is, unfortunately, a little bit lacking in too many arenas. So when you’re preparing your ads make sure that all of that creative excellence that’s been developed has a chance to be evaluated and measured. You want to go back and track it so you can see how engaged your audiences are, how many times did they purchase the product, how many times did they go to the website, how many times that they raised their hand to say,
More. Hey I’m over here. I really like what you’re selling.
Show me more, tell me more. Give me some more information.

That’s what you want to deliver. So code your ad with the coupon exclusive to that campaign or magazine. Create a different URL or even a 1-800 number that can be tracked and monitored for every single ad.

You want to see how each ad is doing. Then, only then can you tell if it’s
working and giving you a return on the investment.

If it sounds like an awful lot of work, well you’re right. Yes. You’re right, it is. But you are setting a template that will help you refine every ad moving forward. And if you get it right, right out of the gate, then kudos to you and Congratulations.

But in the majority there’s going to be some refinement, some improvements, some
opportunity to tweak subsequent ads that says we, we know we’ve got to improve this line or this copy.

There is a famous advertising gentleman by the name of John Caples who was an aggressive and prolific advertising tester, way before the Internet came onboard.
He discovered that through all of his testing, one ad, by changing the headline performed 19 and 1/2 times better than every other ad that he had produced.

Same product, same newspaper, same service, same price point, all he did was change the headline and by changing multiple times he found one that struck gold.
You want a good return? Two times, three times better? Try nineteen and a half times better! That’s the difference that testing delivers.
Please remember when you’re testing there is no failure, there’s only results.

So here’s the strategy you might like, to give yourself a better return on investment.
One enterprising client in my history treated it this way. Because he came from a financial background each ad to him was considered different mutual fund in his portfolio and he named them before they went into the media. Now, because they were coded in names he liked, he was able to remember them but he was able to soon see how well each of his investments, as he put it, was performing. He would put more money against the ads which were performing, and changed any ads which were underperforming to a new one, to keep testing. To make sure of any money coming in he watched very carefully all of the money that was going out.

So my message to you for tip number one is to Track Every Single Ad you prepare.
It’s the only way to accurately measure what’s working.

Thank you I look forward to you seeing you on video number two.

You can view Video # One at these links:

Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising & How To Avoid Them



Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising and How To Avoid Them – Video # 1 of 10



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Thank you. It feels amazing to be back here again.  Be well.


Dennis Kelly
First Impressions Media

Ph & Fax: 905-427-3819



The Power of 26: Writing Is For Life

Hello and welcome back.

It’s so nice to be in this space again and I’m thrilled you chose to rejoin me.

Reports of my disappearance have been magnified beyond all measure.

I have remained here all along, just under this radar due to some professional obligations.
But I see it’s nearly 10 months since I last contributed. Thanks for missing me.
Sorry to have been away so long.

For those of you wondering, in the past year I became a 1st time Grandfather and
my 10 month old sweetie steals away my vocabulary to describe the joy she brings.

The Power of 26 continues to resonate in everything I touch it seems.
Sometimes with unintended results but mostly with unexpected wonderful
news at the end of it.
Some readers have made themselves familiar with my advertising work and
I’m very thrilled. Thank you.

If this is your baptism with me, I am a professional media buyer by trade.
I have the great good fortune of being steward of my clients advertising funds
and recommending where we can achieve the best value and best exposure for them.

If you’ve wondered about The Power of 26, consider these two disparate but
related events. You are among coveted readers of my Spike of Angels Blog and
I thank you wholeheartedly for sharing your eyeballs on my words.
Many of you are repeat readers – followers I think they’re called. At the moment
it’s a modest fan club – but they’re MY fans. How lucky for me. And they’re drawn
here by the Power of 26.

In the time I’ve been away, I was thunderstruck to learn that my articles to
date ( a mere dozen) have had more than 2,100 reads. That’s just staggering,
but wonderful to discover. Thank you to all of you for being part of that personal

Part Two is again an unexpected but welcome treasure brought on by other writing.

In my professional role, I’ve created an e-mail series entitled 57 Media Spikes.
At the moment, it is available in its original format from my website,
and my readers have kindly shared they have extracted a few gems of guidance,
information and help in their combined messages. How cool is that?!?
My spins on 26 letters have helped multiple readers in their jobs.

During my absence from this Blog, one industry publication learned of my 57 Spikes
series. After reading the first 1/2 dozen, they startled me beyond measure by asking for permission to run the e-mail series as a Blog on their on-line edition.

I Know – my eyes went WOW just like yours did.

Since October, my series has been meted out at one or two articles per week as
my Media Blog. Here’s the drop your jaw part. I asked for a performance summary
and in the period of Dec 6th to January 6th, I had 10 of the Top 19 Blogs that month,
including the #1 position at 943 Hits. The average across all ten articles was 500.6 Hits
per article.

Maybe you do that in a weekend. Good for you. But this was just freaking awesome to
me and it continues to fuel my writing and it seems to continue to draw in readers
and that’s fabulous.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they made me an irresistible offer.
Wanna hear what they did?

The second wave of my 57 Media Spikes (#’s 30-57) are soon being released with a
sign-off link back to my website where my e-Book in PDF form,
Nine Secrets to Improve Your Advertising–start-with-9-secrets—.html
is available for purchase.  Valued at $197, it’s being offered to readers from that
on-line link (and to you –Power of 26 reader) for an unheard price of $30.

HOWEVER- that deal lasts only until the original 57 Spikes are posted on this OnLine
publication. Then the $30 offer expires and it returns to $197.  Act Now is a good plan.

The part the Publication did? Not only am I able to provide links to this e-book,
but they are assisting by providing a Big Box ad in both Desktop and Mobile sizes at an irresistible offer. How could I say no?

I share all this dear readers of the Power of 26 to demonstrate that Writing is for life.
You just never know where or when or how your words  (those same 26 letters) will
impact the people you are trying to influence and those who are an unintended bonus.

My last article spoke of being Speechless. Happily that seldom happens for me,
as the above will attest. And despite me being below the radar, I was able to continue
to weave those 26 letters into action, which just may impact the writer as much as the

Never, ever, ever let the power of the alphabet be diminished. Indeed, in many
forms through the ages, a similar refrain rings true’ The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword’

Dennis Kelly

The Power of 26 – From Wordsmith to Speechless

Does it seem each day flows seamlessly into the next?

Same routine such that you could do things blindfolded and not miss a beat?

Here’s a way to shake the stagnancy. Write.

Excuse me?

Yes that’s correct. I said write.

If you are already blogging, perhaps your are of a similar mindset.

This is a wonderfully cathartic exercise to put your thoughts on paper- or
electronic paper at least – and get clear what you want to do with a project,
a stage in your life, an idea, or your next plan for success.

If you’ve read my blogs to date, you’ll know how much I value the Power of 26,
and the incredible power attached to words. The meanings expressed and implied.
Those overt expressions of passion and rage, and the subtle expressions of passion
and rage.

Many of you who have been my followers are aware of the nature of my work as a
professional Media Buyer. At its simplest – someone who buys the advertising space
in newspapers, radio, television, on-line, magazines etc., so that my clients can put
their message in front of you.

This capacity- ever evolving through 3 decades- has given me the opportunity to at
long last put my writing skills to the test like never before.

Dozens of times through the years, I’ve bemoaned my clients unfamiliarity with the
media and why don’t they know better. So went my private rant.
Here’s why – No-One has told them!

That’s why they hired me.

To do the job they can’t or won’t or don’t care to or don’t understand well
enough to do it well themselves.
Then it’s up to me to provide some education – through Words- to show
them my thinking.
The skills I offer. How I can help them.
So I at last began a project that was 30 years in the making.

In approximately 6 weeks, I composed 57  separate e-mails, totaling 36,000
words and have them as a specialty read opportunity through my website.

Why should that matter to you? Well if you’ve ever wished you had said this…
Or cursed yourself quietly that  you didn’t say that to a client, or co-worker
then writing it out will help you master your thoughts.

It will give substance and reality to your planned actions and strategy so that it’s
not just vague ideas drifting around your greymatter.
You actually put these thoughts and plans on to paper.
Seeing them staring back at you is a chance to view a window into yourself
and refresh and refine and improve endlessly.

And so it was in this project where I devoted time and energy to sharing media
strategies, education, philosophies and explanations which I hope will be of
assistance to current and future clients.

If you’re so inclined, you’re invited to visit our site where you can sign up for a
Free- Spike of Angels Media Briefing Template and register to receive these
57 Media Spikes (also free)

There is no obligation or pressure. I hope you like the style and I hope
they impart some education for you.

As for Speechless from today’s title, I’m thrilled to share that in the past
couple of weeks, I have become a first time Grandfather. I was privileged to
hold my new baby granddaughter for a few moments when she was
only 11 hours old. No alphabet can do that moment justice.

Sometimes the best part of The Power of 26, is knowing when to stop!

Dennis Kelly

The Power of 26 – Worth a Million?

Did you know every day there are approximately fifteen (15) new words created which are added to the English language.

Each and every one of the 26 letters of the alphabet have formed our learning and our lives and our communication.

Considering as a species we are ever evolving, it only makes sense our communication keeps pace and reflects how we express ourselves. Many of the same letters used in this e-mail have themselves found their way into the great missives of history.

Not for a moment to suggest these few lines compete with epics of the past. Not by a longshot. But it continues to intrigue me that those same letters available to poets William Wordsworth and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, songwriters Lennon and McCartney, and prodigious writers Gene Roddenberry (StarTrek) and JRR Tolkien (The Hobbit & The Lord of The Rings) are available to me. And to everyone who conspires to string letters together to make words. Words of  Power. Influence. Persuasion. Compassion. Tenderness. Sensitivity. Rage. Anger. Violence. Upheaval. Chaos. Reconciliation. Good. Bad. Purity. Evil. Dark. Light.

One would think that the full complement of words has been reached by now. Hasn’t every human condition been experienced? Hasn’t every conceivable birth, death, richness, poverty, exhilaration, tragedy already been lived and recorded. Do we not have enough written witness to the passage of time?

Yet we constantly crave more. We want to experience it all…well if all means always having the good life. Everyone is lining up for those experiences. The poverty, pestilence, and tragedy are typically not on the wish list to Santa.

When you read works from any of the preceding names I mentioned, you can’t help but marvel at their incredible gift of painting vivid pictures with how they assembled letters. A new portrait is revealed to every reader as they all experience the same words through the voice in their own head. The story is always constant but always changing. The letters and the words and thoughts and ideas all remain the same. The experience received by the reader is likely never duplicated by any video or movie which comes after.

Some are very good at a retelling or distilling a story to its essence, but the words are what move the story along and give it life and vibrancy. The talent which smolders under some fingertips is delivered with fiery ferocity when keys strike the page.  Clearly, and it took me a long time to get this – the power of the words is welling up within the soul of the writer. The letters are simply the tools the wordsmith uses to bring his thoughts and feelings and inspirations to fruition.  Never, ever give up on the power of words.

I initiated this post asking Worth a Million. While many writers and publishers correctly seek a dollar sign beside that, I approach this from the staggering influence and power of 26 simple letters.  There are more than 1,013,913 words in the English language according to the Global Language Monitor, and even that number may be an understatement as it’s increases each day. Genuinely I think I’d be hard pressed to incorporate even 10% of those into my vocabulary.

I share this for those who moan there is nothing new to say. It’s been done. Don’t dismiss or diminish any writing. You may not agree with the content or the motivation, but looking past that, I implore you to marvel at the dexterity of the words the writer used to work you into such a state. What else but 26 letters, woven by skillful design and mastery, could awaken such intense feeling within you.

That is The Power of 26.

Dennis Kelly


The Power of 26 – Words to Live and Laugh By

Laugh I thought I’d die.
Die. I thought they’d bury me.
Bury me. The cover me with dirt.
And dirt tickles.
Laugh I thought I’d die!

And so goes the introduction to the speech I did not give last night.

Some readers may be familiar with the international public speaking organization
known as Toastmasters. I’ve been proudly a member for 9 years now.

Last night was one of our two semi-annual club contests. This one included
presenting a humourous speech of 5 to 7 minutes.

Two of my colleagues also participated and I’m  pleased to tell you I took third place
all by myself!  Ha!

Today’s intro I replaced with a different opening, and I’m glad I did as it just
more suitable to the night. But I had videotaped my performance and I was very
pleased because I stayed on topic. Remembered my storylines. Got a few laughs,
and kept up my confidence of speaking in front of people (about 30 of them).

While it’s disheartening to finish in 3rd  place when there are only 3 participants
in looking at myself on video I realized I had nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.
In fact I did get warm congratulations from my colleagues and other members

I did a good job. But my colleagues did a little better, got more laughs, and good for them.

What the result did remind me of is the power of our words. In conjunction with
our gestures and overall body language, our words relay so much about us.
We’ve all witnessed how the right turn of phrase here or there can make all the difference.

An old adage reads: ‘If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.’ 
That remains on-point to this day.

For me, writing and rewriting my speech was what gave it the polish I needed
to feel good about what I was going to say and how I hoped to make my
audience laugh and enjoy a good chuckle. 

It wasn’t that I was bad. I won’t beat myself up for that. I was good. I had taken
the time to prepare and get it written and get it right. I gave it my best shot and
if others best me, well then good for them.
But it reminded me of two critical things about the Power of Words:

• Take the time to do it right the first time. Edit, Revise, Correct, Modify, Change, ReDo,
Alter, and polish and shine it up BEFORE you get in front of audience. Whether they are
live listening to you present, or reading your works of passion, I implore you that now
is the time to use your words to their fullest measure.  Once you’ve begun to speak,
or them to read, is not the time to go back and say ‘ I Meant to Say’. 
What they hear or read is what they believe you meant.

• Expect and accept that sometimes your best effort in your writing is not always
going to be the winner. We know you’re wonderfully creative and you worked hard
on it, but sometimes, despite your best efforts, someone else’s best may triumph.

Let it be all the more motivation for you to find even better words next time.
Learn from what you wrote, and said, and did.

They next one could be your masterpiece of rearranging 26 letters. Those words
are in you just waiting to be heard. 

Somewhere near your funny bone lurks the line or story with Power that will make
your audience chuckle and say, this guy made me Laugh, I thought I’d die!

Dennis Kelly


The Power of 26 – Just The Right Words

It has been said the art of Diplomacy is telling someone ‘where to go’ so nicely that they start looking forward to the trip.

Such a gift of gab makes for wonderful charisma, outgoing personalities, speakers and employers, and coaches.

Many careers hinge on the right words at the right time as a poorly timed critique can mean the difference between staying on and being terminated.  Between winning a new client or licking your wounds in private. More than one hockey coach has hastened his own departure by ill-timed outbursts at the media which surround them.  Conversely, several silver-tongued masters have extended their careers by knowing what to say and when and how to say it.

That’s why having a chance to write it out ahead of time can prevent or minimize the vocabulary speed bumps because you have a chance to work out what it is you plan to say. 

A dozen rewrites of a speech before delivering are worth every painstaking moment if the finished product catapults you into the stratosphere of sales or admiration by your peers or employer.

If you can manage the presentation – no matter the industry or topic- if you can manage it without going off the rails because you have rewritten and rehearsed and prepared, then you, dear reader, are golden. 

Like it or not, power and respect often gravitate to the person who can speak on their feet with confidence. When you have a solid vocabulary, and can spin those letters to do what you need, you will find your confidence soars. You can be thrown into just about any situation supremely confident you can talk your way out of it. That is the magic, the power that comes with 26.

Those same 26 letters are what we all work with. For personal or business letters. Blogs. Memos, and the list goes on, including lists. By harnessing those letters to your own command, you can make a grand career in many fields because words, at some point or another, will appear in practically all of them.

In my professional capacity, as a buyer of ad space and time, my forte is numbers. The judicious use of client money.  But, even more important is explaining how and why we are investing where we are, and persuading the client that some new strategies and media mixes might be exactly what they need. 

That persuasion is only through, the Power of 26.

Dennis Kelly