In the August 08 issue of Marketing magazine, Andy Pontin, CEO of Clemenger Proximity, argues that Australia Posts recent print campaign Open Up To Mail spends too much time apologising for the industry and not enough time encouraging. To read Andys article from the August issue, click the icon below:

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In response to Andys piece, Australia Posts Mark Roberts, manager, mail marketing has written his own short post, so read it below and make your own mind up about the Open Up To Mail campaign:

The campaign is targeted at non-users of mail who dont have mail on their channel-planning radar, often because of some negative perceptions about its creativity and effectiveness, especially in light of the growth of digital. Andy is a passionate direct marketer – not the target market for this campaign. Its about the people who dont even realise direct mail is a legitimate marketing channel. The people who have been caught up in the digital wave and think that anything paper-based is old fashioned and ineffective.

Andy has awarded the campaign an A for awareness, however the F for desire is unfair given he hasnt received the direct mail pieces (arguably the most important element of the whole campaign – but not sent to him as that would be preaching to the converted). The press element is all about getting awareness, with a creative concept that jolts people out of their traditional channel-planning haze and gets them to reconsider mail. The direct mail component demonstrates the benefits raised in the press – by showing people what they can do with mail were encouraging them to imagine and see the possibilities for their own products. Its also unclear if Andy has visited the campaign website (openuptomail.com.au), which expands on the key elements introduced through the press and direct mail – so in short, hes not seeing the whole integrated campaign.

As far as waving the white flag with our creative concept, perhaps Andy has been caught up in the notion of doing something thats cool, rather than what works. Rather than being apologetic, this campaign idea reveals a truth about direct mail based on the audience we are trying to reach. Once we have the attention of the reader the body copy clearly goes into sales mode and provides key reasons to consider mail. Given the target audience and the weight of other media channel campaigns recently in the market, we needed something that would stand out, and make people stop and rethink their attitude to mail. We didnt want to go out with a campaign that was obvious, or that made people think well of course youd say that – we needed to challenge.

And by all accounts, were starting to do just that. Despite Andys concerns, this campaign has a large number of supporters across the direct mail industry, who have joined with us to wave the flag for direct mail – and in our eyes and theirs, its certainly not a white one.

So what do you think? Do you agree with Andy or Mark? What do you think of the Open Up To Mail print campaign?