One Year On
Issue 4 | September 2007
Well, here we are with Issue 4. Slightly breathless, but still enthusiastic about how we can continue to bang the drum for DM.
Pleasingly, many of our readers are enthusiastic about Directory too. Many thanks to all who have given us their feedback, which has been mostly positive.
We're told that what makes Directory useful is that each campaign is properly illustrated so you can get to see how it worked. The fact that all the work is also available on the DVD-ROM and can easily be downloaded is generally regarded as a good thing too.
One creative director likes to sit down with his team each week to mull over one case study at a time, asking what similar sort of approach they might take themselves, and for whom.
Another likes to spend a lunchtime session with a mix of senior creatives, account directors and planners going through the most recent issue, using it to stimulate and inspire them with reference to the briefs they are currently wrestling with.
One subscriber uses it to show his clients how direct marketing is so much more than direct mail. 'It helps,' he writes, 'that as well as the obvious award-show winners you feature high-vol, hard-hitting campaigns, which they recognise as belonging to their worlds rather than just to ours.'
If it inspires you, then it's inspiring for us at Directory HQ to know that our quarterly round-up is a working tool rather than like an awards annual sort of book, to be flicked through and shelved.
There have been some very good suggestions as to how we can make the magazine even more relevant.
Getting the luminaries of the industry to contribute more thought-pieces, both in print and on film
Getting a perspective on the great work that is happening outside the major markets
Getting guest editors more regularly.
One subscriber who has let us know his opinions is Nigel Edgington-Vigus, creative director at Wunderman in London.
He submitted to Issue 1 a campaign for Ford - 'S-Max your life' - which we overlooked. So when the idea won a second place at the Caples and was shortlisted at Cannes, he was justified in pointing out that our judgement is clearly suspect.
Apologies also to everyone at Clemenger Proximity, Sydney. We failed to spot their interactive campaign for Mitsubishi was an award winner before it did well at the New York Festivals and was shortlisted at Cannes.
If we get a few wrong, overall we hope we get most submissions right and in our defence we did think the Verb Yellowball campaign from Frankel, an Arc Worldwide company, sufficiently brilliant to provide the illustration for our first front cover. So we were delighted to see it win Gold down in the south of France in June.
Featured in this issue we have Arc Malaysia's TREES campaign, which deserved the Gold Lion it won, Saatchi & Saatchi Germany's Ariel Coldactive mailer, which won Bronze, plus Harrison Troughton Wunderman's shortlisted Fitness First campaign.
Talking of Cannes
This issue, we have another of our 'home movies', a camcorder round-up of this year's festival. Stuart Stobbs, creative director of proximity#ttp South Africa and one of the Direct jurors, gives his views on the work, as does Rory Sutherland, who was President of the Direct jury.
He talks candidly about the best of the award winners and gives his views as to what the future holds for DM.
He makes the point that DM and PR are becoming closer bed-fellows than ever before and that a number of this year's major awards went to ideas which had to 'earn attention rather than buy it'.
For example, the Grand Prix winner, The Banco Gallego campaign from Shackleton Direct, took an oft-watched YouTube clip of Julen Lopetegui fainting on live TV and re-edited it to show precisely why he fainted. (It was seeing that the bank was offering 10% interest on new deposits that did it!) The new clip also became a YouTube hit and generated a lot of media interest as well as driving traffic to a website where new customers could sign up. Click here to view the clip on YouTube.
Also in our 'Cannes Round-Up' we have Pablo Alzugaray, founder and CEO of Shackleton, talking about what it means to win the Grand Prix. He confirms the story that when the agency first presented the idea, the bank rejected it out of hand. However, the client rang back a couple of days later to say that he was still interested in the agency and he was giving them a week to prepare a new pitch.
So, a week later, the agency went back but startled the clients by giving exactly the same presentation as before. 'Trust us', they said. And, impressed with the teamís commitment to the idea, the bank decided to go with it.
The rest, as they say, is history.
In this issue
Once again we have a spread of work from around the world, from campaigns for small local businesses, like OgilvyOne Japan's work for Tokyo-yoga.com, to ideas for major brands such as Microsoft UK, IBM Malaysia, and Castrol Italy.
From banking to drinking and gaming to giving, more than half this issue's contents is given over to mail and door drops.
Of the low-volume mailings, we chose to include JWT Beirut's Christmas card, out of admiration for a group of DM professionals, who, despite war and civil unrest, continue to be optimistic about their country's future and their role in helping its regeneration.
It's heartening to see major FMCG advertisers like Proctor & Gamble turning to direct marketing with innovative ideas such as the Ariel Coldactive mailing from Saatchi & Saatchi, Germany. And even more encouraging to see a financial services client being bolder than normal with a high-volume mailing. Banco Espírito Santo White Card mailer went out to one and a half million addresses.
Increasingly evident in the very best direct marketing is the input of planning. Take the Volvo campaign from EHS Brann Cirencester. The big idea here is in the strategy rather than the execution. The new Volvo C30 is one of those cars you either love or hate and that is exactly how it is positioned, a car that polarises opinion but which, by definition, is the very opposite of bland.
Similarly, there is a bold differentiating strategy behind Partners Andrews Aldridge's work for Visit Wales. In suggesting that rain is good (and boy oh boy, does it rain in Wales?!) the creative leap was probably made by the writer of the brief rather than the team who interpreted it. What a great insight, that when it rains, you tend to do more as a family, visiting museums or other indoor attractions.
One particular gripe, directed more at clients than agencies, is how production values are often not always as high as they might be. The same client who invests tens of thousands of pounds in photography for an above-the-line campaign will often insist on library shots for his direct marketing.
For example, we couldn't help but feel that Waitrose's genuinely useful summer mailing could have been stunning if it had had the same sort of lavish photography as their press advertising.
If a pack looks meagre, inevitably that will influence perceptions of the brand. But this is mere quibble. All of the work we have selected is interesting. Some is inspiring. And one campaign, the TREES campaign, is important. While one would never want to rip off an idea from another agency, even the smallest help we can give to the environment justifies every agency copying this idea and putting a similar message on their photocopiers.
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