Clemenger Proximity and M&C Saatchi/Mark were the biggest winners to come out of the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) awards, held in Melbourne Friday night.

Gavin McLeod, M&C Saatchi Groups executive creative director of direct & digital was particularly chuffed with his agency’s work. 

“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved, especially when you consider the fact there are 10 separate teams that won gongs. Knowing all the blood, sweat, late nights and lost weekends that went into all of this work, it is certainly reward for great effort.”

The ceremony at the Melbourne Recital Centre was hosted by fallen stars Chris Taylor and Julian Morrow of The Chaser comedy team, who did a good job of keeping the long night entertaining, and made sure the direct marketing industry wasn’t taking itself too seriously. The ceremony was followed by a grand dinner at the National Gallery of Victoria. 

Cubed’s Mike Chuter took out direct marketer of the year, an award that ADMA’s Kate Furey says is about more than just marketing.

“The Awards for Excellence are also about those who’ve given back,” she tells Marketing magazine, “usually by volunteering their time to mentor or contribute in a way that’s altruistic. We also seek someone who’s extremely passionate about their discipline and has a genuine desire to be a champion for the industry.”

Furey says Chuter’s record on all these counts was too good to ignore.

“He has been at the helm of a number of incredibly successful, multi-award winning agencies,” she says. “He has given up large amounts of his time to the DM community, especially in Melbourne, to help promote best practice. He has also put a lot of his energy into a number of charities”

While the names of large agencies like BMF and Clemenger rung out in the Recital Centre most of the night, Furey gave special mention to the small and independent agencies that were awarded.

“BD Network walked away with the Lester Wunderman Effectiveness Award,” Furey tells Marketing magazine. “TCO, Mr Mumbles and Human took out silver and gold trophies, and agencies like Host and Lavender do well every year too. That we get such a cross-section of agencies and clients winning, sometimes for work that may have gone unrecognized elsewhere, is one of the things ADMA Awards so special and important.”

The ADMA Awards also proved that direct marketing is not just mail, but is stronger than ever because of the advances in direct digital.

“I’ve been managing the Awards for 5 years now and the rate of change has been phenomenal, almost all of which you can attribute to new media,” Furey says. “At the heart of direct marketing is a focus on results and return on investment, so as channels emerge which offer increased measurability and improved targeting, it isn’t surprising that this industry would be so quick out of the blocks in leveraging it. 2010 has been a big year for campaigns that creatively and innovatively leveraged social media, mobile and other digital avenues – I think that’s a trend which will undoubtedly continue and which will be really exciting to watch.”