How apt that on a sunny Sunday morning, as the nation’s car owners
lovingly polish their pride and joys, I should be stuck indoors
polishing off this particular review. Yes, this month it’s motoring
mailers. So, pausing only to mirror, signal, manoeuvre, we’re off.
A mailing for Skoda is not the most promising of briefs, but this
solution isn’t too bad. Skodas are not glamorous, so the idea of getting
real people to do the test-driving and keep diaries about their
experiences offers us an honest car, honest communication approach.
But the tone does at times feel a little apologetic - pointing out, for
instance, that everyone ’was very surprised’ when one of their models
won a prize. Surely it’s better to simply acknowledge the award. Also,
there is a tendency to over-emphasise the car’s integrity by too
frequently saying ’real’ - ’real people, real lives, real cars’. And if
we are going to go for ’realness’, then it could be reinforced by
grittier, reportage-style photography. Neat idea. Polish the
From a nightmare brief to a dream one. The Mini. And it’s 40 years
Is this piece supposed to be sending itself up or not?
Either way, the tragedy here is the missed opportunity.
Why make appalling birthday puns such as ’Mini happy returns’? And why
show us the car wearing a party hat? The real creative solution is
actually buried in the pack. A postcard offers us the chance to win a
book called Mini - the Design Icon of a Generation.
A true celebration of this classic would have been to unashamedly
plunder those 40 glorious years.
So to Fiat and its rather charming ’Spirito di Punto’ campaign
Obviously, a little more money to spend here. A big box. A free camera.
Also, there’s the opportunity of taking the brand idea into direct
marketing. But I would like to have experienced the ’Spirito’ a little
The headlines play around with the brand line but don’t take it anywhere
particularly new. And while there may have been pressure to include
screen grabs from the commercials, the selections seem ad hoc. The charm
of the advertising idea lies in its attitude and I would like to have
had a bit more attitude here. In the copy. In the design. In an
Finally, the Saab 95 Estate. A response pack and a follow-up
The strange thing is that there appears to be no relationship between
the two, save for the fact that both covering letters tell us that the
’95 is not an estate car’.
They’re both art directed nicely enough. And the copy is readable
(although there is a fine line with big brands between speaking with
pride and sounding pompous - this occasionally veers to the latter). But
neither art direction nor copy is presenting any idea. If the ’95 is not
an estate car’, then I would have liked to have seen this line of
enquiry fully explored.
So, who is this month’s direct marketing winner? Skoda. Simple, if
Like the car itself.
Sadly, however, we’ll probably never know how well any of this marketing
worked. The punters who may have been persuaded to part with their cash
will no doubt be driving their purchases back from abroad where they
will have bought them for tuppence.
Gary Sharpen is the creative partner of Leonardo, Leo Burnett’s new
Brief: Build the new brand values of Skoda while generating quality
leads for national dealerships
Agency: Archibald Ingall Stretton
Copywriters: Matt Morley-Brown, Murray Blackett
Art director: Steve Stretton
Brief: Celebrate the Mini’s 40th birthday to customers and prospects,
highlighting special merchandise, a prize draw and a party at
Agency: Craik Jones
Copywriters: Pamela Craik, Terence Bly
Art directors: Chris Jones, Peter Vincent
Brief: Invite recipients to test-drive the new Fiat Punto
Copywriter: Mike Ballantyne
Art director: Guy Roberts
SAAB 95 ESTATE
Brief: Launch the 95 Estate to the right people, given the dearth of
knowledge about the target market
Agency: Lowe Direct
Copywriter: Arthur Parshotam
Art directors: Roddy Kerr, Aurica Green.