Editorial: 2006: You couldn't make it up

If only we could have seen DM's script for 2006, we might not have agreed to take part. In the last 12 months DM has played the bad guy, forced to examine its conscience as its personal conduct and public image came under widespread scrutiny.

If the industry wasn't being charged with bombarding consumers with junk mail, while creating an environmental hazard at the same time, it was being castigated for silent calls and for fueling personal debt with irresponsible credit-card offers.

The industry was left to defend itself against these perceptions and the more honest commentators have admitted that DM's defence was found wanting. Something does need to be done, as Marketing Direct is detecting the first signs of client backlash against direct mail. Peter Ammundsen, marketing director at Vernons, says in this month's Special Report on list buying, that his company will be "dramatically cutting back" on cold mail in 2007 because of the negative press coverage of the channel.

There was talk of an industry-wide initiative to create a more effective PR mechanic as this issue went to press. More about this will no doubt emerge. But as we put together our review of 2006 (pages 10-11) we couldn't help notice the contrast between the industry's overall public image and the fact that DM agencies were more than holding their own in business, pitching and winning briefs that are ever more integrated. True, agency profits are suffering as a result of having to pay inflated salaries for the necessary digital skills (news, page 4), but signs are this investment will pay off.

If we could influence next year's script at all, it would be to infuse some US-style enthusiasm into UK DM. Self-effacement is all very well, but it's not something that American direct marketers indulged in for long, after their PR problems with telemarketing in 2005. UK delegates to this year's DMA US convention were overwhelmed by the positive mood of the event and a feeling that DM's time had come (page 35). Such optimism can be self-fulfilling, so let's make it a new year resolution on this side of the pond.

With all the junk mail headlines in mind, Marketing Direct is 'doing its bit for industry PR by encouraging creative thinking. The magazine has partnered with printing technology company HP and digital printer Lorien Unique to create a competition to design the March 2007 cover involving the creative use of digital personalisation. For more details and rules, visit www.unique-hpcover.com. The competition is free to enter and is definitely worth the effort: the cover has a promotional value of £25,000-worth of advertising. To win would be a great start to 2007 for any agency.

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers