’Bastards!’ we muttered when we first came across the Mercedes SLK 48-sheet poster with a shot of the car, the 0800 number and the copy ’Lines may be busy’.

’Bastards!’ we muttered when we first came across the Mercedes SLK

48-sheet poster with a shot of the car, the 0800 number and the copy

’Lines may be busy’.

’Bastards!’ we groaned when we saw the Volkswagen ’double-checked’

commercial on the reel of Cannes Lions 1999. (The one where the quality

control chap ticks the boxes on his list twice to form the VW logo.)

These are ideas that are so simple, so right and yet so damned obvious

that you have to kick yourself for not thinking of them first. Or


Naturally our response to such work is unadulterated envy and


So let’s see whether this collection of direct marketing work will

provoke any oaths.

First, a gold card mailing from NatWest.

A me-too product in a me-too world. How can you give your campaign

cut-through and personality? Well, a lot of effort has gone into this

communication, from the complimentary chopsticks to the intricate,

charming illustrations.

But what’s it all about?

Apparently, with this gold card, when you go for a Chinese you could go

to China for it. Had the feeling we’ve seen this thought before. That

aside, what does this piece do? And how does it set NatWest’s gold card

apart from the competition? These are questions for the planner, who

seems to have been in the Far East when the creatives were struggling

with this difficult brief.

But if credit card mailings are tough, you have to sympathise even more

with the poor souls faced with a brief for something as dull as a


Even worse, there’s no help from the brand. Who can tell us what

Standard Life stands for? Exactly. Undeterred, the luckless creatives

have made all the elements of this multimedia campaign as bright and

welcoming as they can and that financial services cliche - flexibility -

makes an appearance.

But this can only get you so far. The mailing is let down by confusing

imagery and reams of impenetrable copy.

A fulfilment pack for the RAC isn’t the most promising of briefs,


But this pack hangs together rather well. The copywriter and art

director have leavened the information-heavy piece with some light,

involving touches.

We sensed that they had thought about their target audience. And this

empathy shines through from the moment you discover a teabag for your

cuppa while you consider all the options from the RAC.’s business-to-business piece is beautifully produced

and there may well be an idea lurking in there somewhere. But it was all

rather baffling. What are these people selling? You would need more time

and patience than we see round the office on a daily basis to find out

why any company should work with

Finally, a little mailing from Alfa Romeo. At last, an idea. Alfa 145 is

for those people who love standing out from the crowd. Enclosed is a CD

that you expect to be reviews from motoring journalists but it turns out

to be a monologue from a neighbour lamenting the racy lifestyle of the

Alfa driver across the road. (Neat, but it goes on too long.) They’ve

even thrown in a tattoo of the Alfa serpent. Gilding the lily springs to


The work here is probably fairly representative of the industry. Nothing

too awful. Some nice stuff. But we’re not cursing.



Brief: Make the pack stand out and be remembered in an environment

cluttered with gold card mailings

Agency: GGT Direct

Copywriter: Will Luckhurst

Art director: Julia Fisher


Brief: Make people think about mortgages as an everyday item rather than

a one-off expenditure

Agency: Carlina DraftWorldwide

Copywriter: Alan Munro

Art director: Paul Davies


Brief: Create a communication that stands out from the competitors’

packs, capturing the mood of the recipient at the time of opening

Agency: Lowe Direct

Copywriter: Simon Watts

Art director: Michael Jones


Brief: Draw decision makers to the stand at the MILIA

trade conference

Agency: GGT Direct

Copywriter: Jim Thomas

Art director: Claus Larsen

ALFA 145

Brief: Express your individuality with the new Alfa 145

Agency: IMP

Copywriter: Steve Pickard

Art director: David Harris