Letters: The Caples Controversy Heats Up

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In response to the flurry of letters concerning the "I Covet a Caples" campaign, I submit the following:

Long hair, short hair, hip young guy, uncool geezer, general advertising, direct advertising ... what a bunch of hoo-ha. Advertising is about ideas. Selling ideas. Some come from DR creatives, some come from general creatives, but what's the difference as long as they stop people in their tracks and sell something?

It seems to me that this attempt to pigeonhole people according to advertising disciplines is antithetical to what creative is all about. As the lines between direct and general continue to blur, as more direct response ads carry parcels of brandness and more general ads carry response mechanisms, I believe that these imaginary, self-serving lines of demarcation will fade away.

We're all ad people. All that differentiates us is the quality of our ideas. And it's that basis upon which we should all be judged. Nothing else.

Steven DiManni, Senior vice president, creative director McCaffery, Ratner, Gottlieb & Lane Board member, John Caples International Awards


I saw Bob Bly's letter about the Caples awards. My sentiments exactly! Clearly there are those agencies, DM or otherwise, who live for awards and stake their reputation on them. I happen to be a young (NOT old and stodgy), very successful freelance DM copywriter who writes only for client success, having never given thought to winning an award.

Stephen Kimball

Stephen Kimball, DM Copywriting


I was surprised by Bob Bly's letter regarding the Caples' very fresh call for entries promotion. Rather than revel in the creative camaraderie that the Caples commands in the greater advertising community, Bob chooses to ask for credentials of some of our industry's greatest creative leaders.

Let's hope others recognize the wonderful compliment these leaders pay the Caples for what it is - and respond with entries.

Howard Draft, Chairman/CEO, Draft General chairman, John Caples International Awards


A tip of the cap to Bob Bly for zinging the Caples Awards for rewarding creativity over results. The Caples entry form reads: "Entries are judged based on creativity and appropriateness of the solution." There is no request or requirement for information on response or profitability.

The appropriateness of the solution in direct marketing is decided by the marketplace, not by hip creative directors. The Caples is fine for general advertisers, but direct marketers have other priorities. Response-driven marketers understand that very often, ugly is beautiful. The undersigned wrote one of the ugliest pieces of advertising ever mailed, and stopped counting after 2 million paid orders. (Though the client is still counting, and still mailing.)

Andi Emerson, a brilliant marketer and lovely lady, asked me to enter the Caples 20 years ago. I passed. Like Bob Bly, I covet RESPONSE!!!

Mark Everett Johnson,Copywriter and winner of DMA Echo , Awards and Newsletter on Newsletters Promotion Award



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