CAMPAIGN DIRECT AWARDS 2001: Let's keep reaching for the stars

The '60s arguably represented the Golden Age of pop music. This was

the era of Sergeant Pepper's, Electric Ladyland and Ernie (The Fastest

Milkman In The West). But it also generated mountains of amateurish,

badly-executed dross. Nowadays, every track is honed to technical

perfection by meticulous professionals. However bad it may be, it still

sounds fabulous.

There's a comparison to be drawn here with Direct Marketing. Ten years

ago when DM was in its infancy, I was asked to judge submissions that

were breathtakingly terrible in every respect: misspelled headlines,

out-of-register print, illegal promotion mechanics, et al.

But among the swine were a handful of pearls - deft, witty, compelling,

beautifully-executed and all the more rewarding for their rarity.

Scanning the contenders at this year's Campaign Direct Awards, it seems

DM is erring in the same direction.

Technically, the standard is impressively high. The mechanics work, the

copy's lucid, the art direction and photography slick. The cowboys have

traded in their buckskin chaps for Armani.

This is all good news. On the other hand, the Jimi Hendrix of Direct

Marketing is conspicuous by his absence.

The fact is, since the last recession, we've become neurotically

risk-averse. Many clients lack either the licence or the bottle to trust

their instincts. Research tools iron out the flashes of inspiration

along with the grossest errors.

So we're left with a body of sound, professional work. Excellent work,

the very best of which you'll see and, hopefully, applaud in this


Our aspiration for next year must be to stretch up from this most robust

of platforms and to risk scorching our fingers on, if not the stars,

then at least a comet or two.


John Townshend - Creative director, Rapier

Shaun McIlrath - Creative director, Heresy

Graham Mills - Joint creative director, Impiric (at time of judging)

Marc Nohr - Managing director, Lion

Arthur Parshotam - Executive creative director, Lowe Live

Nigel Waring - Head, MediaVest Direct

Mike Cavers - Creative director, Publicis Dialog

Andy Blackford - Group creative director, Grey Worldwide

Karen Lee - Director, WWAV Rapp Collins

Gary Sharpen - Creative partner, Leonardo

Steve Aldridge - Creative partner, Partners Andrews Aldridge

Ken Walker - Marketing director, MS Society

Ed Prichard - Creative partner, Mustard