thank you for letting me love you

July 18, 2020

thank you
for letting me
love you

I had a pocket
full of empty
when you picked me
and dreamt me
into another world
you’re a special
kind of girl

thank you
for letting me
love you

I was crying out
for cover
for a friend, a muse
a lover
you’re my salvador
you were everything
and more

thank you
for letting me
love you

there’s no way
to repay
and now you’ve
gone away
everything I ever do
only happens
cuz of you

by Richard W. Bray

anger into hope

July 11, 2020


I had no time to Hate—
Because The Grave would hinder Me—
And life was not so
Ample I
Could finish—Enmity
Emily Dickinson

bullets bombs and mayhem
centuries of hate
liars on my tv
paid to complicate

swords into plowshares
anger into hope
we only got each other
and there’s nowhere else to go

the man behind the curtain
ain’t who we elect
greedy getting richer
so many lives are wrecked

swords into plowshares
anger into hope
we only got each other
and there’s nowhere else to go

always question Power
resist the exploitation
don’t listen when they tell you
to hate another nation

swords into plowshares
anger into hope
we only got each other
and there’s nowhere else to go


by Richard W. Bray




steamed carrots

June 27, 2020

have you ever noticed steamed carrots?
they almost stun you into another dimension
and they taste so good
and they come right out of the ground
I wonder if Father Hopkins
ever wrote about steamed carrots

by Richard W. Bray

never said i was nice

May 24, 2020

To tease em, and thrill em, to torture and kill em,
Is her delight, they say

Hard Hearted Hannah. Lyrics by Jack Yellen, Bob Bigelow, and Charles Bates

never said
i was nice
you got some sugar
with your spice
now it’s time
to run along
here’s a dime
to call your mom

never said
i was nice
love isn’t always
thank your stars
you got to be
with someone
as cool as me

never said
i was nice
please don’t make
me tell you twice
it shouldn’t be hard
to find the door
you don’t amuse
me anymore

by Richard W. Bray

cruel and crazy universe

May 5, 2020

rain outside your window
breath upon my arm
cruel & crazy universe
ain’t doing me no harm

deliver me from tempest
in a cozy little room
shelter me till morning
with your body’s silent tune

all is made to fade away
and every creature dies
people come and people go
and only love abides

by Richard W. Bray

the truth hurts lies kill

April 12, 2020

The truth hurts
Lies kill
You told everyone to chill
Now the folks are getting ill

The truth hurts
Lies kill
Fake reporters on the shill
Saying shit is daffodils

The truth hurts
Lies kill
When they shut your local mill
Ain’t gonna fix it with a pill

The truth hurts
Lies kill
When our leaders rob the till
Everybody pays the bill

By Richard W. Bray

every moment

March 31, 2020

The way you changed my life
No, no they can’t take that away from me

Ira Gershwin

i could have
loved you better
in a million
different ways

you’ll be in
every moment
till the bygone
of my days

that came before
was leading
up to you

i’m feeling now
is from your

i’m better
cuz of you
in a million
different ways

you’ll be in
every moment
till the bygone
of my days

by Richard W. Bray

All We Need of Hell

March 19, 2020

Parting is all we know of heaven
And all we need of hell

Emily Dickinson, My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close

I always thought we’d have you
I always knew you cared
I always felt your presence
Your love was everywhere

Suddenly I feel it
Everything is wrong
Nothing’s where it should be
And half the sky is gone

The flowers on the hillside
The birds passing by
Sing to me of your love
In a cosmic lullaby

By Richard W. Bray

public relations

March 8, 2020

You torture your kids
You terrorize your wife
But you’re a
Wonderful man
In your fantasy life

Life isn’t public relations
You can’t erase the hurt
With a well-written statement

Nobody believes
Your silly façade
Not your friends
Not your family
Not even your dog

Life isn’t public relations
Are you fake and insincere
From birth to cremation?

By Richard W. Bray

Selling Swedish Coffee Through the Mail

February 9, 2020

Lester Wunderman

Brand storytelling is about standing for something and striving for excellence in everything your business does. It’s about framing your scarcity and dictating your value.
Bernadette Jiwa, The Fortune Cookie Principle

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The human mind tells itself stories to make sense out of this crazy old world. We think in narratives. For example, if I told you there were ten thousand orphans created by the latest war, that would upset you. But you would be much more moved by the details of the plight of a single orphan child.

The Father of Direct Marketing

Lester Wunderman was “the first direct marketer ever to be on the senior board of a major (advertising) agency.” He’s often referred to as the Father of Direct Marketing.

Decades before the internet existed, Wunderman envisioned a future where “a better, less time-consuming way of shopping would evolve, and the home would become the shopping center of the future.”

A New Way to Buy Coffee

In 1980, when he was working for Young & Rubicam, Wunderman was convinced he could sell premium Swedish Gevalia coffee by mail, but he faced three significant hurdles:

  1. Getting people to pay a premium price for a brand they’d never heard of
  2. Getting people to buy coffee through the mail
  3. Getting people to believe that great coffee comes from Sweden

Although Y&R’s research showed that Americans enjoyed the taste of Gevalia, Wunderman knew it wasn’t going to be an easy sell.

First of all, there are countries that we naturally associate with coffee – think Brazil, Kenya, Columbia, Italy, or Costa Rica. But Wunderman realized that “No one in America thought of Sweden as a source of great coffee.”

(Actually, the Swedes are crazy about their coffee! Only their Nordic neighbors in Finland drink more coffee than the Swedes. Maybe it’s those long, cold nights.)

Automatic Replenishment

Another problem was getting people to accept a brand new way to buy consumable products. In 1980, Americans weren’t used to receiving packaged goods in their mailboxes.

Wunderman decided he needed a come up with a “new word” to “describe the process of selling something people regularly consumed.” He settled on the phrase “automatic replenishment.” This would allow people to buy a coffee “subscription” so they “would never run out of Gevalia.” It was a very shrewd marketing strategy.

Automatic replenishment is an evocative phrase, and the word replenish contains some very pleasant connotations (refresh, restore, renew). In copywriting, it’s important to remember that the connotations of words trigger all sorts of emotional responses.

The Quest for the Perfect Cup of Coffee

When it came time to write the copy for Gevalia, Wunderman realized that he had to do more than simply choose the right adjectives. Clever advertisers had already sold a lot of coffee by convincing people that it would provide a rich, strong, aromatic, and satisfying experience. These are some wonderful words that convey a sense of wealth, power, comfort, and even a hint of sexual gratification.

It was time to try something else. So Wunderman used storytelling to convince Americans to buy expensive Swedish coffee through the mail. He decided to focus on the tale of Gevalia’s master coffee roaster Victor Engvall and his “obsession with the perfect cup of coffee.”

The Rest of the Story

How did Wunderman do it? To hear rest of the story, see Lester Wunderman’s exceptional memoir Being Direct, Chapter 22.

If you read the whole book, you’ll learn a whole bunch of fascinating stuff: Wunderman’s involvement in the early days of record clubs; how he used catalogues to sell millions of rosebushes; how he helped convince people not to leave home without the American Express Card; how he was courted by the legendary David Oglivy.

Spoiler alert: Wunderman was very impressed by Oglivy, “the best presenter of advertising I had ever seen,” but he decided to merge his firm WRK with Y&R instead.


by Richard W. Bray