Apparently, direct marketing is a walk in the park. Take an
Stuff it with a reduced version of a poster done by the above-the-line
agency. Then stick a sodding great phone number at the bottom. Oh, or a
Well I’m sorry, but I’m a direct marketing person and life’s not that
simple. For a start, it seems every client has an aversion to spending
money on direct marketing. I mean, if they spent 30 per cent of the
budget on some shelf-wobblers, then where would they find the money for
the glamorous two-week shoot in Barbados for the TV ads and 96-sheet
Instead we get five loaves and two fishes, and have to perform the
proverbial miracle. ’Can you do something sexy that pulls like a train?
For 4p a pack?’
So you turn the water into wine in the two days you’ve been given to
work on the brief. Then, when you think it’s all going smoothly, you hit
another stumbling block.
The outstanding, gong-winning ideas are presented and bought by the
Then a few suggestions are made. Like changing the headline. And the
And the shot. And the paper stock. What you’re left with is fit only for
wiping your arse on. Which, I might add, is what the creative team who
had their idea bastardised usually end up doing.
OK, occasionally decent stuff gets printed. Thank you, Saatchi &
Saatchi, for the Army campaign. But, after all, you are Saatchis and
carry slightly more weight than the average below-the-line agency.
Some may say I’m a bitter man. But I challenge anyone to watch their
great work end up in the bin and see how they feel. And then add those
feelings to the after-effects of being ripped apart by your peers for
The next time you have a good laugh at the trashy mailers you see, spare
a thought for the agencies behind them. They’re full of real talent.
And, if it was ever allowed to get out, direct marketing wouldn’t be
thought of as the dregs of the advertising industry.