Direct choice: HM Government

It would be easy to talk about this booklet in terms of its creative, but that would mean avoiding a far more difficult question.

In direct marketing, creativity often succeeds or fails on the quality of the insight that underpins it. It works because it is targeted and crafted. But this is a booklet intended for every household in the UK, so how do we evaluate it? I'm struggling here. It's the kind of thing I look at and think: 'I wish I'd seen the brief on this.'

'Preparing for emergencies' focuses more on what the government has done than on what we could do to prepare for any emergency, which has led some critics to comment that it is nothing more than a public relations exercise with no real content. If it was designed to raise awareness, it has succeeded in that it has made people talk. But then again, my local supermarket had sold out of can-openers and bottled water (items the booklet recommends) the last time I visited, so perhaps it has managed to mobilise the population to take some action. Along similar lines, the booklet does point the reader to a website providing links to a range of organisations, such as the British Red Cross, which is apparently anticipating a surge of enquiries from people wanting to train in first aid.

The booklet certainly succeeds in being the first piece of direct marketing to evoke such a strong sense of anticipation. As for the rest, only time will tell.

- Direct agency Dave.

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