DIRECT MAIL SHOWCASE: In association with Royal Mail

Brands have used summer associations and traditions as a launching pad for DM pieces, reports Ken Gofton.

FIAT WISHES YOU WERE HERE IN A ULYSSE

Client: Fiat

Agency: Arc

Distribution: August

Size of mailing: 20,000

To underline the message that driving its Ulysse MPV model is like holidaying every day of the year, Fiat has sent 20,000 hot prospects a full-size beach towel and 10 postcards, in addition to the usual letter and card to request a test drive.

Employing a deliberately retro illustration, in keeping with Leo Burnett's above-the-line ads, the towel shows the Ulysse centre stage, while a young couple cycle past.

The setting includes palm trees, a beach scene and mountains. The same style is used for the postcards, each of which focuses on one of the car's selling points. The pack also offers two-for-one hotel breaks to recipients who take a test drive.

The mailing links to a field marketing campaign, conducted by Arc in association with Eurotunnel.

"I think Fiat was bemused initially, but then got very excited," says the agency's joint executive creative director, Graham Mills.

O2 USES FRESH AIR TO DEMYSTIFY PRODUCTS

Client: O2

Agency: Tequila\London

Distribution: August-September

Size of mailing/leaflet drop: 150,000 (estimate)

Sales of the latest technology are being held back, according to mobile phone operator O2, because consumers are confused by terms such as GPRS, data pockets, LAN and VPN.

The company was the world's first network to launch GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), and remains the UK market leader. A core offering is the GPRS data card, recently rebranded as 'the c@rd', which plugs into a laptop computer and acts like a dial-up modem, giving high-speed access to the internet and e-mail services, anywhere.

O2 wants to increase sales of the c@rd from 100 to 500 a month. Tequila's proposal was to demystify the product through a series of events, 'Business Summer Fridays', where the target audience would have the opportunity to try the technology out of doors on a Friday afternoon. Seven open-air venues were selected, based on concentrations of potential data card users.

Tequila ran the events from the beginning of August to mid-September.

Ahead of each, jargon-free invitation mail packs were sent to senior decision-makers at businesses within half a mile of the venue. Leaflets were also dropped at local offices and, in London, given out at nearby Underground stations.

"We were looking for a different marketing approach," reports Susie Moore, O2's UK head of brand and marketing communications. "First indications are that it has gone very well. Attendance targets have been exceeded, and we have had some really good feedback."

IBM MAKES A SHOWCASE OF WIMBLEDON

Client: IBM

Agency: OgilvyOne

Distribution: Late-June

Size of mailing: Under 10,000

IBM has been the official supplier of information and technology to the Wimbledon tennis tournament since 1990. This year, its enhanced support package allowed the viewing of more live score updates, match information and action than ever before.

Publicising its work at Wimbledon is a regular on the calendar, acknowledges Andrew Brown, manager for UK strategic initiatives, but this year's campaign was bigger and more integrated.

It included press ads, online banners and live coverage, the use of Maiden's Transvision plasma screens at three London railway termini, and direct mail, all exploiting the current ad line 'Can you see it?'

The mailshot, targeting several thousand senior IT customers and prospects, was not the most costly element, but was "no less regarded", says Brown.

"It was part of the mix, an integral component. Its role was to communicate the fact that the technology is not just for sporting events but is relevant to their business needs."

For most of the year, Wimbledon is a comparatively small business using IBM's entry-level eServer xSeries and the Linux operating system. But for the Grand Slam fortnight, capacity can be seamlessly expanded by a multiple of 250.

The mailshot envelope carries the line 'Please find enclosed: the whole of Wimbledon'. Inside, a large aerial view illustrates the many areas where IBM technology operates.

Recipients are encouraged to phone for more information or visit the www.ibm.com/wimbledon site, which provides a technology tour.

DIAGEO TARGETS ARMCHAIR GARDENERS

Client: Diageo

Agency: Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel

Distribution: August

Size of mailing: Not disclosed

A distinguished Fleet Street editor, the FT's Sir Gordon Newton, once admitted that the allure of gardening had always escaped him. "Then it suddenly dawned," he said. "There's nothing nicer than the sound of a lawn mower - when you're sitting in your deck chair with a gin and tonic."

Research for Diageo confirms that for many consumers, one of the favourite places to down a Gordon's Gin is in the dappled sunlight of their gardens on a summer evening.

The latest pack in the company's award-winning loyalty programme taps directly into that feeling. Labelled 'For armchair gardeners everywhere', it suggests inviting the neighbours around for a drink.

And it doesn't mean a glass of wine. To help the party along, it provides half a dozen swizzle sticks in the shape of gardening tools, and a book of hints on how to 'Go gardening the Gordon's way'.

"This is part of a relationship marketing programme," says account director Caroline Parkes. "Creatively, it is about using wit and charm, associating Gordon's with sociability and providing branded reminders."

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