CAMPAIGN DIRECT AWARDS 2003: Much-maligned direct marketing shows style

The standard of the work presented for this year's awards was shocking. It was rather good.

Even more disturbing is that the two days judging were, dare I say it, enjoyable.

I know that this piece is normally a rallying call to improve the standards of our much-maligned industry, but I thought it worth stepping back for a moment and actually appreciating the good work that does pop up now and again.

And this work wasn't from the usual suspects. It came not just from direct agencies, but also sales promotion agencies and ad agencies from all over the country.

Of course, there was some stuff that conformed to all of the preconceptions associated with our business - formulaic, confusing, wordy, unsophisticated crap. But, thankfully, this stuff was in the minority. Only two categories were not awarded a winner or commendations, so any agencies with Retail, Home Shopping, Fashion and Beauty or Travel and Leisure clients, buck your ideas up.

For every hackneyed cliche, there were several pieces that made the "wish I'd done that" filter kick in. And that's what any awards should be about.

We should be looking at the work in this book and viewing it as the starting point for the brief that's landing on our desks now. "How do I better that?" should be what we're thinking, not "what have we done before?", "what can we do for the budget?" and "what will the client buy?"

Who knows, the travel and leisure industry might even throw up something that people actually enjoy judging.