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Letter: Caples Reward Creatives, Clients Willing to Go to the Mat for New Ideas

It’s amazing how every year the brouhaha about Caples rears its head. The assumption that the winners of the Caples are not effective, money-making work is simply not true. Granted, it can be true, but I suspect that very often it is not.

Consider this: As an eight-time DMA Echo winner in three media (direct mail, catalog and digital – including the Echo Digital Award), response is clearly the highest priority for me.

But also consider that three of those Echo winners also took a Caples. Consider also that my remaining Caples winner, a catalog, got great response – specifically, more than double the typical average response for prospecting to cold lists. And that was on a teeny budget – like, really small, not agency small. We never even entered that into the Echos because the client didn’t want numbers released (now you can give scaled numbers, but at the time exact numbers were needed).

So the way I see it, the Caples Awards have, at least for me, rewarded highly creative work that had a huge response.

I’m certain that there are some that slip through with the Caples that didn’t do that well, but I suspect that by and large most of them did well. I also know for a fact that there are Echo winners that have fudged numbers and have won – but nobody would know unless they were deep in the industry. Sure, there’s a little bit of this in every award. But this is not the majority.

The Caples are definitely a more legitimate judge of response than something like the Addys or the Effies (what a joke the Effies are – impressions as response – please!), and the Caples reward creatives and clients who are willing to go to the mat for new ideas utilizing solid direct marketing media. This is also why you see more international winners in both the Caples and the Echos than ever – because overseas there’s more of a willingness to risk trying new things, while many American companies now weenie out since management doesn’t want to risk “losing” in a test anymore.

I struggle to imagine what is wrong with rewarding thoughtful, responsive and bold creative ideas when the winner is really the client – who most often gets improved response in their direct marketing.

Carol Worthington-Levy, Partner, Creative Services, LENSER

[email protected]

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