Being in Direct Marketing Is No Reason to Apologize

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I was part of the British contingent that came to the John Caples International Awards in New York on Feb. 26. After we had all celebrated our wins into the early hours (we didn't hurry back to watch "Seinfeld"), we were left with two strong impressions about the awards.


First, the standard of creativity was great -- terrific work that demonstrated great passion and insight into what makes people respond. Work that contained all the rational triggers that you would expect in a direct marketing strategy, but, importantly, work that also combines the emotional triggers that make people get involved with our campaigns. Work that hits both the heart and the mind.


Second, we were all bemused and confused by the fact that most of the speakers on the night still felt the need to apologize for being in direct marketing.


If you come to the Direct Marketing Awards in London, you'll hear no apologies. You'll see advertising agencies as keen as mustard to win some silverware. You'll see a much greater sense of pride in the industry's work from both the agency and the client side.


You will find that though direct marketing was traditionally one of the great below-the-line disciplines, there is no below-stairs mentality in the UK today.


So, come on, stop living in the shadow of your advertising cousins. Look through the Caples winners' portfolio again … and stop apologizing.


Ben Stevens


Managing director


TBWA Payne Stracey, London


(Two firsts, one second, one hangover)
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