1. Welcome to the
DMA’s Creative Certification Course
Wed., Oct. 16, 2013 — 1:00 to 4:30 pm
Alan Rosenspan • Nancy Harhut • Carol Worthington-Levy
2. Want to reach any of us?
Alan Rosenspan: firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ll also find us in LinkedIn!
3. Scope of the Course
• How to Evaluate Creative
• How to Get Great Print Work
• How to Get Great Digital Work
• Questions & Answers
throughout, breaks as needed
4. Alan Rosenspan
Creative director in three countries, for O&M and
My teams have won over 100 Awards – including 20
DMA Echo Awards for results.
More importantly, a working creative director and
direct marketing consultant
Client list has included American Express,
Ancestry.com, Bank of America, Capital One, Embrace
Home Loans, Humana, HSBC, Life Line Screening,
Oreck, Princess Lines, Scotts Lawn Service, Viking
River Cruises, many others
5. Nancy Harhut
• Chief Creative Officer, Wilde Agency
Decidedly strategy-minded, results-oriented
• Nationally recognized for best-in-class creative.
• She and her teams have won over 150 awards for direct
More than 20 years of senior creative management
experience honed Digitas
• Clients have included Dell, IBM, Novartis, House of Seagram,
Bank of America, AT&T, American Express, Sheraton, GM,
and more. She’s an in-demand speaker at DMA and other
6. Carol Worthington-Levy
Wears three hats – Design/art director, writer and
creative director/consultant for hire
A stickler for responsive creative: has read it all, tested
it all, and even attended a seminar in Switzerland to
learn what will encourage response… or crush it!
Was a business partner in a multichannel marketing
agency, which she and partners sold to Merkle in 2010
Possibly one of the only 8-time individual DMA Echo
winner in 3 categories: Mail, Catalog and Online/digital
Clients: AAA Auto Clubs, 5.11 Tactical, Adventures Cross Country
teen travel, Allstate, Wine of the Month Club, Jacuzzi, Niman Ranch
premium meats, Comcast, American Isuzu, Intuit, BMW, Dish,
DHC Cosmetics, Hewlett-Packard, and more
7. We’re in the trenches,
just like you!
We are all working creative directors and direct
We are all teachers and students of direct
We all believe in great creative work
8. Who are you?
• You want to learn more about how to develop
• You want be a better manager and motivator of
your team or your agency
• You want to be able to better evaluate creative
before investing a lot of time and money
• Your name and what you do
• You biggest challenge…
• What makes you unique?
“I think I am the only person in this room who…”
10. Before we begin…
• Judgment call
• The truth about evaluating creative…
• Backgrounds and introductions
11. What do you think?
17. What do you think?
• What’s your overall reaction?
• Do you think it will work?
• What do you like?
• What do you think might be improved, or
what would you do different?
23. The Truth about
• You are an excellent judge of creative
• You are intuitive and thoughtful…
• …when you stop to actually think about it in a
24. Our goals for this creative
Help you discover…
How to get the best creative work
What to look for; what to watch out for
Provide a Checklist for “How to Evaluate
Offer ideas for how to motivate people to do their
best work for you.
25. Section 1:
How to Get The Best
26. • How can you tell if it will work in
• How to give useful and welcome
• Timing & Budget Questions
27. First, a definition
What is the best creative work?
You’re not looking for work that
makes you laugh, or may win an
You’re looking for creative work
that’s going to generate response
28. • Does it have to be new?
• Does it have to be different?
• What are some signs of good
29. Does it have to be new?
• Not for the sake of being new
• New in this category
• It must be relevant to the product
and the market
31. Does it have to be different?
• Not for the sake of being different
• Good creative should tell you
something you don’t know…
• …or make you think of something in
a new or different way
34. • But it should never, ever take away
from the message
• Or worse, send the wrong message
36. Nancy presents a Big Idea:
Creative Challenge: Sell auto
to an affinity group
37. Creative Challenge: Sell auto insurance
to an affinity group that was so
unresponsive the program was about to
38. New Agency
Our First Assignment
Probably also our last
39. Product: Nationwide Auto Insurance
Affinity group target:
Members of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
1. Generate quotes
2. Generate sales
40. HRC - Human Rights Campaign
Largest LGBT equal rights advocacy group and
political lobbying organization in the U.S.
LGBT= Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered
41. Sales Proposition
Get HRC discount when you get
Nationwide auto insurance
Plus get Nationwide’s great service
Nationwide is not a low-cost option
HRC discount is small
Historically unresponsive target
Inertia- only switch if bad claims experience/price
Competitors cite specific savings amounts
10¢/piece – and reflect new “Join the Nation”
But wait, there’s more…
Could not acknowledge target was an HRC member
Not allowed to use HRC name/logo on OE
Other insurers had much more traction
with LGBT community
44. The Solution?
“Slide in under the radar” package
Cast doubt on other insurer’s commitment to the
Prove NW is a genuine HRC supporter
Highlight many discounts available + proactive
Signed by NW exec who’s also an HRC member
45. Did it work?
56% lift over the control
Client wrote: “Wilde Agency’s creative was able to
break through to the point where we WENT FROM
SHUTTING DOWN OUR MAIL PROGRAM TO ADDING
EXTRA MAILINGS NOT PREVIOUSLY BUDGETED.”
2013 ECHO Award winner
46. The state of the Wine-By-Mail industry
47. Carol and Alan’s Big Idea:
48. Which OE do you think was the winner?
49. Letter copy: friendly, “I’m like
What do you do if you buy
wine, and you don’t like it?
You can’t get your money
We taste over 300 wines to
make sure it’s great.
I never sell wine I don’t like.
50. 1700 Views!
1700 views in the first couple of hours!
Over 3000 total views, and over 700 cases of wine sold .
51. 7 Key
to Look For
52. 1. Does a
53. The first question to ask of any direct mail
piece, advertisement or press release
54. “Without a big idea,
your advertising will pass
like a ship in the night.”
“In direct marketing,
the ship will sink.”
55. Why are big ideas so important?
A big idea cuts through the clutter
A big idea can multiply your success 10
You only need one
It costs more to do a bad idea than to do
a big idea
56. What is an Idea, anyway?
An idea is a change
“I have an idea; let’s do things the way
we’ve always done them before!”
The bigger the change, the bigger the idea
57. Letter to Ministers in Germany
They were concerned about declining church
They wanted to “wake up” ministers – and invite
them to a discussion about the problems
They used a very simple letter – with just one
70. How do you know if it’s
a big idea?
Is it a new idea? Or new in this category?
Is it relevant to the product?
Does it make you think?
Not “what are they talking about?” but
about your relationships, your job, your
life, your future…
71. How do you know if it’s
a big idea?
Does it make you feel?
Emotion is stronger than logic
Is it credible? Do you believe it?
Does it stand out from others in it’s category?
72. 2. Does a
People have a hard time “getting” even
It’s not because they’re dumb; they’re
Make sure your message breaks
through the clutter – by focusing on
74. The “Bed of Nails”
77. 3. Is the Creative
78. One of the great secrets...
Most companies focus on their
products...or worse, themselves
The best companies focus on their
prospects and customers
The world’s largest genealogy
Has access to over 3 billion records,
and will help you search
Their most successful direct mail and
83. But make them look good
Don’t show your prospects as
Don’t make fun of them…
Make them into heroes – like
90. 4. Does it have
91. The Power of Visual Thinking
People remember less than 10% of what
they’re told (and it’s always the wrong 10%)
“Follow my directions carefully”
People remember more than 50% of what
They even make it up - to fill in the gaps
Show and tell
Show me what you’ve got
Show me what you’re made of
“Show me the money”
98. Imagine a Harley
parked inside a great
102. 5. Does it have
103. Headlines are Critical
They should have your key benefit in them
80% of people read that – and nothing else
Subject line in e-mail even more important
Johnson box serves the same purpose
106. WFNX – 101.7
• Alternative Rock Station in Boston
• How can they capture the tone of
their station in a billboard?
109. 6. Is it
110. What Barnes & Nobles
111. 3 Proven Ways to
Involve People in your
Ask questions or quiz them
Use an involvement device
Use the word “you” – a lot
122. 6. Is it
Is it just a one-shot, or can you build
a long term campaign around it?
Does it easily lend itself to other
A big idea can last for years…
Antwerp Zoo in Belgium was looking
to boost attendance
Their elephant got pregnant
Send out a birth announcement?
…or create a campaign?
127. Congratulations, it’s an elephant!
Multi-media campaign started right after conception
Turned all of Belgium into proud parents
Millions of people followed her 22 month
development from inception to birth – including her
first ultrasound photograph!
Kai-Mook became the first elephant born on
the internet on May 17, 2009 – weighing a
healthy 100 kilograms.
Zoo attendance more than doubled – over
300,000 new visitors
131. Absolut Best Campaign
First ad appeared in 1980; still going strong 1500+ ads later
Created by Geoff Hayes of TBWA
Ads have become collector’s items; thousands of people write in
requesting their favorite
Rolled out “In an Absolute World” in 2007
139. Judge for yourself:
Do these upcoming examples meet that list of
• Big idea
• Single-minded message
• Focused on people
• Arresting visual
• Compelling headline
140. Comcast … see if this mailer meets
Focused on people
141. Home entertainment: Comcast
• VIP invitation
• They flip it
142. Home entertainment: Comcast
143. • Challenge: Comcast high speed internet might at first not seem
like entertainment as much as for email and website access. But
Comcast wanted to position it as a way to download movies
144. • This
as a VIP
145. Did it fit these criteria?
Do you think it worked?
Focused on people
146. Isuzu B2B mailing: does this meet the
• This Isuzu truck is a huge seller
• It’s especially well sized for two
industries: light construction,
and the food industry
• Challenges: how to get
companies with fleets to
consider buying several instead
of just one
• Budget $90,000
147. Isuzu Fleet campaign
• Targeted two
• Created a
each, that is
very specific to
• This one
This truck can
148. Isuzu Fleet campaign
• This truck can
6,000 lbs of
• Of course it’s
absurd – the
box is 12 in.
149. Isuzu Fleet campaign
• A dimensional package
needs all the hardworking
elements that traditional
flat mail does!
150. “500 gallons of Tomato Paste enclosed”
• This one is
for the food
• Typical load
151. Sent out 3000 boxes
per targeted market
Campaign cost $90,000
We sold 140 trucks
Bottom line - $4.2 million in sales
New leads generated for future contact
152. Isuzu B2B fleet mailing: does it meet
Focused on people
153. One last example:
New Pig site re-launch
Does it have…
• Single-minded message
• Focused on people
• Arresting visual
• Compelling headline
154. New Pig needed to launch their
new and improved website.
• New Pig has goods to help control chemical
and water spills — including the “pig”
They have developed a kooky persona with
catalogs with pigs on them, and their Leak and
Spill catalog featuring Sparky, a cartoon pig
with a hardhat
• An improved website gives them another
reason to contact customers and get them
to re-register in the updated system
155. …so launching the site could not be a
dull or pedestrian event…
• Customer expectations
are high – New Pig
customers expect to see
an event turn into a ‘PIG”
• Step 1 Email…
156. Landing page pays off and generates
excitement about the new site…
157. Catalog wrap is essential because many
don’t check their email
158. Campaign targeted a
who loves a humorous
break from the serious
subject of chemical spills
and hazardous waste!
159. New Pig re-launch campaign:
does it meet our criteria?
Focused on people
Campaignable – well, yes, it IS a campaign…
160. Make People Do What
You Want Them To
(Nancy Harhut on Insider tips on the power of direct
161. General advertising influences attitude and
awareness over time.
Direct marketing influences behavior
162. Direct Marketing
Get Response (lead gen or sell off page)
Reinforce & extend brand positioning
164. Primary Channels for Today’s Discussion
165. Offline Advantages
Often more real estate
Less mailbox clutter
3D = high opening rate
166. Online Advantages
Quicker to produce & measure
Easier & cheaper to modify between rounds
Click to respond
OLA = animated, dynamic
167. How to give yourself an edge
Study your mailbox/inbox for “repeats”
See what’s proven to work in the marketplace
Read the masters
John Caples “Tested Advertising Methods”
David Ogilvy “Ogilvy on Advertising”
H.G. Lewis “Effective Email Marketing”
Follow the trades
Test, test, test
168. Overarching Creative Guidelines
169. Overarching Creative Guidelines
Get to the point quickly
1 main message
Don’t risk confusing the audience
170. Overarching Creative Guidelines
Pop the offer
And the deadline
171. Overarching Creative Guidelines
You-oriented vs. Us-oriented
Minimize “we, our, us, my, I, our company”
172. Overarching Creative Guidelines
Appeal to human motivators
Look good to others
Make life easier
Discover new things
173. Overarching Creative Guidelines
Benefits not features
Displays perfectly on any device – so
you can easily read wherever and
whenever you want
179. The Secret to Getting
Creative people always have choices. They can’t always
decide what they will work on; but they can always decide
how much of their effort and heart they will put into their
Your goal is to make them want to go that extra step for
your projects, your product , your company – and of
course, for you.
180. Where the Best
Creative Work Begins
181. Briefly speaking
• Successful creative starts with a well thoughtout brief or Creative Strategy Form
• It doesn’t end there – but it starts there
• The more time and effort you put into your
brief – the more likely you are to get effective
182. The Briefing Meeting
• A brief should never simply be handed-out
• It should be an interactive process; with the final
brief emerging from the meeting
• You need to encourage comments and questions –
and get the answers as soon as possible
183. Your Role in Briefing
To initiate the project and provide the
information necessary to complete it
To be an “expert” on your business; or to get
the answers they need before the work is
To be open to new ideas and solutions
To give constructive and specific feedback to
help improve the work (when necessary)
184. Not Your Role
To dictate the work
To withhold information or fail to provide it on a
To not have the answers
To create false deadlines or emergencies
To abuse creatives in any way, shape or form
185. The Role of Creatives
To represent the consumer’s point-of-view
To be an “expert” on their business – advertising
and direct marketing
…and to become an “expert” on the clients
To come up with big ideas
186. Not the Role of Creatives
To give the client only what they asked for…
To postpone the work and do a last-minute
To give up, or do less than their best
To think that that account people, or clients,
aren’t smart or good at their jobs
of an Agency
188. The Creative Strategy
189. The Creative Strategy Form
Every company has a different format
It is a blueprint of the job -- and a contract
It should be developed, agreed on and signed by everyone
involved in the project - particularly the most senior person
It can be used to evaluate work
It has to be simple, understandable – not just filled with
191. The Creative Strategy Form
1. Project Description
What are we doing? Why?
What are we trying to achieve?
What do we want people to do?
Be as specific and realistic as possible
3. Target Audiences
The more specific, the better
192. The Creative Strategy Form
4. Main message and proof
What is the single most important reason that someone
will buy our product or respond to our mailing?
Why should anyone believe you…?
193. The Creative Strategy Form
What do they get?
What do they have to do to get it?
6. Key points
What other benefits do we need to communicate?
7. Ways to Respond
Did we make it easy?
Did we give them a choice?
8. Tone and Manner
Consistent with the product?
194. The Creative Strategy Form
Legal, logo, etc.
How much do we have?
Let the value of the customer drive the budget
How much time is left?!!!!
196. Put time on your side…
You want to give creative people time to do their
..but you also want your project to stay top-ofmind
Plus you don’t want them to forget anything, or
worse, do it at the last-minute
197. Think in stages
Ideally, you want them to come back with rough
ideas within 5-7 days
This keeps your project fresh in their minds and
motivates them to get started right away
After this first meeting, you can give them more
time to refine, make changes, add to the mix
198. Two questions you must answer
12. What is the target market currently using/doing?
Understand their mindset
Are they using a competitive product? Making do
Why should they switch to yours?
13. “You know you need it when…”
When does someone know they need your product?
Puts you in their shoes
Identifies points of pain
You’re looking for agreement...
199. Reviewing the
200. Best Practices
Allow them to finish their presentation, before
you jump in
Start by acknowledging how much work has been
done, and what you like
Review the brief to make sure that everything
important has been addressed
201. Be constructive
See the big picture first – don’t nitpick
Never get personal. Not “I don’t like that
headline” but “Does this headline have the main
Go through the Checklist with them
202. Moving ahead
Take the time to provide thoughtful, useful
This is your first exposure to the work; they have
been at it for days
Resist the urge to change for change’s sake
Never say “The client will never buy this…”
Don’t try to anticipate what others will say or
think; give your own opinion
Remember you are all on the same side
205. How do you know
if it will work
before it goes out?
206. “You cannot judge
It judges you.”
- Denny Hatch
“Creative” packages don’t usually work
The “ugly” stuff almost always seems to win
Even the best work seems to produce a
disappointingly low response
208. How do you know…?
The only guarantee in direct marketing is a
It can be very surprising what works and what
However, if you use the following checklist, you
will maximize the probability of success
12 questions to ask about
any creative execution
210. 1. Is it on strategy?
2. Is it appropriate to the product
and the positioning?
3. Is there a big idea?
Does it come through?
4. Does it have a striking visual or
211. 5. Do the offer and main benefits
come through quickly and clearly?
6. Does the offer stand out?
7. Is it believable? Are claims
supported with facts or
testimonials? Is there a
8. Does it include a strong call to action
in every element?
212. 9. Does it make you think or make
10. Will it stand out from others in this
11. Are all the elements working as
hard as they can for you?
12. The big question:
would you respond?
213. These are all the
ways to evaluate
creative for regular
But direct marketing
has to work even
214. We have to get people to
Go to our website
Call a toll-free number
Send in an application or response form
Bring something into a store
215. 1. It must be 100% absolutely clear
• Above all, it must be clear and easyto-understand
• If people don’t “get it” – you lose
• You need to be direct in direct
216. 2. It must have a compelling offer
• “If you want to dramatically improve your
response, you must improve your offer” – Axel
• They must know exactly what you want them to
do, and how
• They must have an urgent reason to act now
217. 3. Credibility is king
• We need to prove what we claim
• We must use numbers, specifics, facts, lists
• Testimonials are critical
• One false note can kill response
219. The rest of the
233. What do you think?
• What’s your overall reaction?
• Which package did you like best?
• Which do you think worked best?
234. We told you that
you’re an excellent
judge of creative!
235. Back to The Big Idea
• Big ideas are what’s needed to give a product or
service an advantage in the marketplace
• Every good product has a USP – Unique Selling
• This USP is one way to find your way to your
• For example…
236. John Caples
237. David Ogilvy
tables on big
239. Name some big ideas…
• Can you name some big ideas that helped
a product or service rise above the rest?
• What comes to mind?
240. Workshop segment:
Create your OWN big idea
• Who would want your product or service?
• What are your product’s features and benefits that
make it worth having and using?
• What is your product’s Unique Selling Proposition…
that is, what makes your product different and better
than all others?
• How could you describe or illustrate this to have
immediate meaning to your customer?
• Brainstorm with the person next to you to discuss
these questions for 10 minutes each… and then we’ll
discuss a few of your ideas.
241. Thank you!
Nancy Harhut &
See you tomorrow at
Part 2: Creative Rules that Work for Print
Thursday Oct 17, 2012 — 8:30am - 12:00pm