Letter: Direct Mail Writer's Club Featured Who's Who of Copywriters

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I read Tad Clarke's editorial about Ed McLean, and I couldn't agree more that he absolutely deserves recognition and inclusion in the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame ("Copywriting and Ed McLean," March 14). Ed was not only one of the best copywriters our industry has ever produced, he was also one of the most prolific educators of copywriting principles.

Before he got ill, he did all-day sessions on copywriting techniques at Direct Marketing Day in New York for years along with similar sessions at just about every college and university that taught direct marketing. Throughout his career, he probably spawned more copywriters than just about anyone I've ever known in this industry.

I first met Ed in the mid-1960s when he was mail-order copy chief at Ogilvy & Mather. He did indeed start the Direct Marketing Creative Guild but he did it with two other people: Marty Gross and myself. Back then it wasn't called that - we named it the Direct Mail Writer's Club, and it was started in 1967. Ed was its first president, and in 1968 I was its second president. And what an incredible group it was! Our club had several dozen of the industry's top and legendary copywriters ever to get together under one roof.

Among the members, in no particular order, were Chris Stagg, Tom Collins, Sol Blumenfeld, Jack Walsh, Frank Alberts, Jim Black, Marvin Barclay, Henry Cowen, Irv Mayer, Ed Stern, Guy Gravenson, Ed Brutman, Bill Jayme, Art Matises, Bob Matheo ... and dozens of others who I hope will forgive me for not mentioning their names. We created in 1968 the first Maxwell Sackheim award for excellence in mail-order copywriting. Several years later, the club's name was changed to the Direct Marketing Writers Guild, and later to the Direct Marketing Creative Guild in order to allow artists to join as well. This guild then created the John Caples Awards, which years later was taken over by Andi Emerson, and which continues to thrive today.

But it was Ed McLean, with a little help from myself and Marty Gross, who was the visionary behind this group and whose contribution to the direct marketing industry is, to my mind, without dispute. Yes, he does belong in the DMA's Hall of Fame.

Ralph Stevens, Senior vice president, MKTG Services


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