DraftWorldwide Bags Top Tempos at CADM

A direct response campaign by DraftWorldwide Chicago for General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac division won the prestigious Past Presidents' Award from the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing at its 2003 Tempo Awards ceremony yesterday.

The agency also snared the third annual Jay Gondelman Award from the association's e-commerce special interest group for a Snickers Survivor Challenge Web site created for M&M/Mars' Masterfoods USA.

This marks the first time one agency took both top honors the same year. DraftWorldwide covered itself with more glory by winning 22 Tempos in all at the 32nd annual ceremony held during the association's 49th Chicago DM Days & Expo.

All told, 108 awards, including 10 ties, were bestowed out of 170 entries submitted for Chicago-area work produced between July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2002. The number of entries was slightly lower than in previous years, but that is no surprise in this environment.

“I'd say generally the recession has certainly affected all of us. Budgets have been cut, staff has been reduced and we're all having to work with fewer people,” said Holly Harle, president of the association and account executive at Mid-America Mailers Inc., Hammond, IN. “So I think it's encouraging that the quality of the entries is so high.”

DraftWorldwide's direct campaign was to generate interest and sales in Cadillac's 2003 CTS model in advance of the vehicle's launch in the midsize entry-level segment.

Tactics included a teaser mailer to consumers likely to consider the luxury segment for their next vehicle purchase and a Web site for updates. A follow-up mailer offered the first look at the car. Respondents to that got an information kit and an invitation to receive more details closer to launch.

The campaign, running late August 2001 through March 2002, exceeded its target by 205.5 percent, DraftWorldwide claimed. The agency said 6.11 percent of 375,000 names that were mailed had registered to receive more CTS information and offers. The anticipated response rate was 2 percent. GM also saw sales conversion of 1.73 percent.

For Snickers, DraftWorldwide created a site for consumers aged 13 to 34 to support a new brand positioning for the candy bar: “Don't Let Hunger Happen to You.” The site ran parallel to Snickers' advertising sponsorship of the “Survivor: Marquesas” reality television series on CBS.

The agency linked the personality and attributes of both the series and the candy bar — leadership, hunger and satisfaction. A “Survivor” code under the wrapper of specially marked Snickers bars led consumers to the site. Here, they created their personal account, entered the code for a chance to vote for the survivor they thought would be voted off each episode.

Tracking showed that traffic to snickers.com rose 370 percent in the promotional period, DraftWorldwide claimed. Visitors averaged more than 4 minutes on the site, 12 percent higher than before the promotion began. The average number of purchased Snickers bars per Web site participant also trebled during the promotion, the agency claimed.

DraftWorldwide earned 11 first-place awards, including best of show and Gondelman. Brann Chicago won six, and Foote, Cone & Belding took five. Last year, FCB's FCBi division won 13 first-place awards, plus the Past Presidents' Award.

Overall, LKH&S Chicago won 16 Tempos, six fewer than DraftWorldwide. Brann Chicago won 15, FCB 13 and Cramer-Krasselt 10.

Separately, Mitchell Lieber today was named the association's Charles S. Downs Chicago Direct Marketer of the Year. He is president of call center consultancy Lieber & Associates, Chicago.

This year's Tempos were unusual in that they covered a period that included the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy and a slowing economy. But that did not stop those interested within the association's 1,600 individual members from submitting their best work. Entries typically come from Chicago-area agencies, with a sprinkling from other parts of the country.

“We've always been a strong city for direct marketing,” Harle said. “In our history, it was always driven by the fact that Chicago was a big printing center for many years, and it was a natural fit that DM agencies would locate in Chicago.”

That said, Michelle Blechman, chair of the 2003 Tempo Awards and vice president and strategic planner at Grey Direct's Chicago office, acknowledged the dip in the number of entries.

“The number of entries in the electronic media categories did increase somewhat over last year's number,” she said. “[But] we saw fewer entries this year, which was anticipated given the general climate. We'd budgeted for a slight decrease. On the other hand, the quality of work submitted was better.”

To her recollection, this was also the first time the association gave first-, second- and third-place awards in all categories, bar catalog. With only two entries for catalogs and none outstanding, it made no sense to the judges to bestow awards in that category.

Tempo judging differs from other DM awards. Judges follow a numeric scale to select first-, second- and third-place winners in 16 categories for creative accomplishments and marketing results. Entries are not identified by agencies, and judges are barred from evaluating work from their own employers.

Though some smaller agencies won awards this year, it was fewer than Blechman hoped. The big shops swept the first-place awards.

“Awards are a great help in winning new business,” she said, “but, on the other hand, they also cost money.”

Submitting an entry for the Tempos is not as expensive as, say, the Direct Marketing Association's prestigious Echo Awards. It costs $80 for members per entry and $105 for non-members. The rate lowers to $70 an entry for four or more submitted by members, and $95 for the equivalent privilege extended to non-members.

Submission of an entry is itself an art. While the mail piece or e-mail item may be stellar, it is left to words to convey their eloquence and mission. Few agencies, big and small, realize that the sell to judges is as important as the entry piece.

“The people who tend to win spend the time to write strong entry forms,” Blechman said. “I've judged a lot of shows in the past, and I can tell that a well-written form is going to be more successful in conveying the strategy and [one of the] reasons for winning.

“I don't think it should be a junior person writing the form,” she said. “I think it should be someone who is familiar with strategy and who can articulate it well.”

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