Apparently, direct marketing is a walk in the park. Take an envelope.

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

being uncreative.

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.


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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).