The direct marketing industry has lost a luminary with the passing of Penny Vane.
Vane’s passion for direct marketing—and 25 years of success in it—was possibly her destiny: She learned her trade as a child, over the dinner table, as the daughter of Peter Vane, who was one of the first-generation direct marketers.
When her father launched his own direct marketing agency, the magnetic appeal of the business to which she’d been born became too strong to resist. During a 12-year tenure at Peter Vane Advertising, she worked in every department of the agency, including account management, administration, creative, finance, media, and studio.
In 1990 she left Peter Vane Advertising to launch Cohn & Wells’ fledgling New York office and grew it to become the largest in their eight-office international network. As a member of the network’s senior management team, she supported strategic planning for C&W’s clients in the United States, Canada, and Australia. She also handled client development and administrative responsibilities within the Paris-based EURO/RSCG parent network.
Vane chose to return to her entrepreneurial roots, and in 1997 launched Vane&Friends. Positioning itself as the “un-agency,” the group acts as a marketing and communications SWAT team, providing strategic and creative services to both clients and agencies.
Active in the industry, Vane served as president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York and as president of the Association of Direct Marketing Agencies; she spent more than 15 year on the board of Direct Marketing News‘ Caples Awards. Her contribution to Caples was tireless and contributed much to its success over the years, along with all the others who gave their services free to recognize the best “creative solutions to marketing problems” in direct marketing from across the globe.
Vane’s Caples legacy is huge, as it was she who two decades ago suggested the creation of the Courageous Client Award, that founder Andi Emerson immediately implemented. It still represents Caples unique positioning of awarding courageous work.
Penny Vane died peacefully at home in the early morning on December 27, 2014, after a short but vigorous battle with brain cancer. She was 61.