This month we’re back in the heartland. No DRTV. No press. Not a
website in sight. Just good old direct mail. You’d think by now we’d be
pretty good at it. But on the basis of this sample, we are professional
without being inspirational.
There are great TV ads. There are great mailings. But rarely do great TV
ads make great mailpacks. I’ve been guilty of foolishly trying to force
a TV commercial into a piece of direct mail. It doesn’t work. You end up
doing justice to neither medium.
Undeterred by my own failure, Ford has slavishly tried to transform its
’back to the future’ TV ad for the Escort Finesse into a mailing. In
mail you inevitably get none of the drama or visual excitement of the
TV, just a dull picture of the old Escort metamorphosing into a dull
picture of the latest one. The 1968 model takes the prominent role but I
m not sure how much it will mean to Mr and Mrs Leighton Buzzard looking
to buy their new car in 1998 with aircon, power steering and
From driving to drink. Three mailings for Benedictine, Normandy’s famous
liqueur. I admire anyone who can wax lyrical about something
The writer has an endearing tendency to go over the top. ’The sound of
enraptured footsteps in these hallowed halls gives way to reverential
silence in the complimentary tasting salon.’ Sounds like Alan
But for all that, and some busy art direction, the packs have charm.
I imagine liqueur addicts will be captivated and at least they’ve
succeeded in making me re-evaluate my prejudice.
Charm is a quality distinctly lacking from the very corporate Eurobell
mailings. The acquisition pack features a brave stab at wit with a free
doodling pad and pencil. But this idea doesn’t focus directly on the
main benefit (a 25 per cent saving on calls) and the opening sentence:
’Some people like to doodle as they chat on the phone. If you’re one of
those people, may we suggest that you sharpen your pencil, get a big pad
of paper and switch to Eurobell for your phone services’, reminds me of
Harry Enfield’s Mr Grayson addressing the nation.
I am left in no doubt that purple is Eurobell’s corporate colour. As to
who they are, however, I haven’t got a clue.
The National Savings mailing for income bonds gets the proposition right
up front on the envelope. Which is a good thing. The concept hangs on
the rhetorical question ’Is your bread rising as fast?’ and - you
guessed it - a loaf of freshly baked bread rises out of the page to ram
the point home.
The product benefits take second place to an incongruous shot of a
farmhouse kitchen, but you have sympathy for a team trying to inject
some life into a financial product. And, call me old-fashioned, but the
condensed sans-serif typeface makes the copy harder to read than it need
The pack is a perfectly good job but not one you’d put in your book.
True of all of this month’s work.
Chris Barraclough is the executive creative director of Barraclough Hall
FORD DEALER ADVERTISING
Brief: Develop a prospecting programme to coincide with an
above-the-line campaign featuring the Escort Finesse
Agency: Wunderman Cato Johnson
Copywriter: Liz van Put
Art director: Guy Bradbury
Brief: Develop loyalty among current Benedictine consumers and recruit
Copywriter: Rick Wright
Art director: Jonathan Bedford
Brief: Provide information on the range of services available and help
new customers make the most of the service
Copywriter: Michelle Teboul
Art director: Leigh Fowler
Brief: Tie in with the press advertising and bring the campaign to life
Agency: GGT Direct
Copywriter: Helen Law
Art director: Rachel Sharman