CAMPAIGN DIRECT AWARDS 2002: In praise of killer copy and creativity

Let's talk numbers. These are direct marketing awards, after all.

Of the £12 billion spent on marketing last year, £10 billion was spent on direct marketing. For companies like Sky, BT, Virgin, First Direct and Direct Line, communications are their only shop window. And yet, creatively, direct marketing is still the poor relation of advertising. Let's face it, most direct marketing is ugly, unimaginative and badly crafted - from hokey TV ads on satellite TV to the door mat detritus that arrives each morning.

You'll tell me it works, and it does. If you throw enough shit against a wall some of it's bound to stick. But aren't we in the business of making our clients' money work harder? And in that game, your killer edge is the idea. You can't take someone's money without first capturing their imagination.

There are several excellent awards schemes out there which reward effectiveness.

Campaign Direct is about that killer edge - creativity. Therefore, I asked our jury to use their hearts more than their heads. To judge fast and furiously. Just like real people do.

We encouraged open discussion, and used voting by numbers as a last resort.

We saw some fine craftsmanship - but also a lot of average stuff. And some work that was so mind-bogglingly dull you felt like fining the entrants even more. In all, there were some very nice individual executions, and a few very, very nice ones. But no really big ideas - no major campaign where "direct

thinking was at the heart. However, all agencies are being forced to embrace "direct

as part of the mainstream. Inevitably more and more good thinkers are getting engaged with it.

The sooner, the better. Our clients need it. Our business needs it. And there's that poor blighter on the receiving end, Mr Joseph Public; and boy does he need it.