All I want for better DM!

I selected two direct mails from the myriad of shipments flooding my postbox (which I really love, just for the record). These two stood out because they lack the images of kitsch garlands and other Christmas decorations (if you want to get noticed, it is a good idea to stand out). I had high hopes for the inside, let’s see what I found.

The laid-back whitish design fits the style of the upmarket grocery store Waitrose, even if it is a bit too neutral.

There is a fold-out flyer with the copy ‘Make it special’, I expect a recipe, a tip or a gift would be great here, but it is more of a general Christmas wish – without the aim of standing out.

The coupon booklet is useful for those who are regular customers at Waitrose. The introductory copy promises ‘more than a thousand specially created products’ – would be great to specify a few just to bring it closer to the reader.

An amazing antré from NEXT with an elegant blue-gold outer envelope.

It looks absolutely promising – I am curious. (The outer envelope completed its mission.)

Inside the surprise is that they will keep their promise of the delivery time. I suppose this is the point of a promise to be kept. I know many companies don’t, but NEXT will. And if they don’t – we get their products for free. Great Christmas message. Oh, baby, Santa is late, but don’t cry, your gift will be free.

At the first glance, we could read ‘deliver for free’, which is a bit tricky. (The copy reads: If we promise it before Christmas, we will deliver it before Christmas. If not it’s yours for free.) NEXT does it is every year, so I suppose they measure the impact and it is successful, so then it is great.

NEXT Christmas I wish I could read some great DMs.


Who pays for the free magazines?


I have a pile of amazing magazines on my desk – due to be read. I haven’t paid for any of them – at least not directly. Because I pay the companies behind them who then pay full editorials to produce magazines which are not at all sales catalogues, but as worthwhile to read and keep as any of the paid magazines in store – or even more.

This content marketing at its best. When I am reading Red Bulletin – the beautifully printed magazine of Red Bull – I feel the energy and the power of being able to do anything. The interviews with the brave people who dared to go off beat – and at the same time perfectly chosen to be reputable and exciting. The reportages about places we would never think of going, the sportsmen who go far beyond normal, the events which are the hottest and coolest at the same time. Even the typography and the colours grab you right inside to show you that you can get wings.

Then, I cool down and open Tesco magazine, to feel like I can run the whole household with ease. I imagine cooking those amazing dishes styled and photographed like the perfect painting – in fact, I rarely do. I see myself being a fun host if I follow all their practical tips and a great mum to be able to entertain my kids with events they list me. (And yes, I think I am a great mum indeed.) And I am so grateful to find the ingredients and ready-made tips on how to make it easier with Tesco.

I could go on, but you got it. These magazines are not written by the junior or the intern when there is nothing else to do. these companies pay a lot so that we can get these magazines “for free”. And so that we can hardly wait reading about how we can solve our problems or make our lives better with their products.

If anyone likes to have a copy, let me know, I keep many of them.


Who wants to live here – use a guidebook to sell property


Wonderful content marketing example from real estate agents in Kent. This area has a beautiful landscape, cute houses, and very nice people. The only problem which stops some people from flooding there is the distance from London and the commuting time.

So this article sells the otherwise picturesque and lovely small towns like a good guidebook: points out the main sights of interests and attractions, gives practical info on how to get there, how long it takes and how much it costs, and gives a hint on property prices for an easy comparison.

It includes call-to-action just in case you got excited by the blurbs and the cute pictures.

Very well done! Look for more examples in the HomesProperty section in the Wednesday issues of Evening Standard.

Do you have a flattering appearance?


This is the tag of a skirt. This gives me the promise that it is designed so that I will look and will fabulous. I immediately bought it.

It also mentions some Innovative seam – who knows what it might be? – but they won me with the second paragraph.

Many ads write about the amazing technologies and ingredients they used to create the product. Such a waste that poor customer is not trained enough to understand it.

While it gives credibility to the product to mention such features, it is much more important to describe how the customer will feel after buying it.

And yes, I feel fabulous:)


Why we work longer hours


A lot of companies advertise their long opening hours (if they have it). But why is it good for the customer.

I agree, if the customer takes the energy and time to think it over it is rather obvious: you can use their services even after work etc.

But it is never enough to leave it on the customer to find out why we are the best, we have to tell them.

This is what a real estate agency does in this brochure – targeted on landlords. They explain that the fact that they work long hours enables the best tenants to approach them after they are finished with their – well paying – job for that day.

A case study reinforces their headlines. Well done.

If you see a  creative ad you like, send it to me so that I can write about it.

Brad is single


This ad is not new, and I am sure you all saw something like this .- or a review of this – the days when Brangelina broke. It was amazing how right the next day this theme was used in marketing and business worldwide.

Usually, I would say it is a great idea to use a recent happening for our benefit – also known as newsjacking – and if we act fast, we can be among the first ones to get the attention.

In this specific case however I feel it crossed a line, I would not do.personally. When it is about the tragedy of a family, I would not make a joke of it.

So the ad is good from a marketing point of view, but morally it is a no for me: What do you think? Tweet it here.

Fabolous Fortnight


What I’d like to point out here first is not the copy, but the design. Yes, the design it has nothing to do with the trendy story-based close-ups and testominals in the middle – but this is the beauty of it. it dares to be different.

It actually takes us back to the 80ies and to the world of the circus and show. The title of the sales period is also like the title of a show: Fabulous Fortnight!

Bravo! Much better than saying: Sale lasts for two weeks. A change in the style, being different than the mainstream usually helps, if done and if it holds up in the whole concept.

If you see an ad you like, send me a photo of it.

Our cows provide fresh milk


First of all, I really like those ads where the actual product is not shown (and just to be fair, there are some fabulous ones where it is shown:)

In this case, they take a step back from the end-product, the milk and show where it comes from: the cow.

The copy brilliantly features a USP: “the only supermarket” and then explains the benefit for the customer: where the fresh milk comes from to his table.

At the same time, it is a great example of brand building and responsible behaviour without explicitly saying it.

The Unusual Times


As I browsed the current issue of the Evening Standard I suddenly bumped into a very unusual spread which took me back in time.

Travelling back in time combines nostalgy and provokes emotion – even if the period was before we were born – with our curiosity to know the past and compare it with the present.

It can be the design, photos, drawings or the copy, but if it is not filled with the right content it can easily fail. In this case, they don’t simply write about some historic facts about travelling in public transport back then but add humour – resulting in a very amusing ad attracting the readers to stop and indulge.

They also add a competition: ask the readers to tweet stories which happened to them when using public transport.

It attracts the attention of the reader for a much longer period than showing a bottle of vodka.

If you see and ad you like, just take a photo and tweet me.


Coffee with trousers


A golden oldie again, but still underused. We ordered some pairs of trousers for my husband, and as we opened the box, I spotted this flyer with the trial offer of the Pact Coffee.

I was happy to see it as

1. I really like them, as they are a social enterprise and sell fantastic coffee.

2. This was a great cross-sell example.

The delivery box is a free carrier as the delivery is paid anyway. So why not to include a flyer for an upsell for your own product or an offer from an affiliate partner.

In some cases, you can create a relation between the two products, but it is absolutely not necessary if target people who belong to the audience of the main product.

If you see a nice ad you like on the tube or in the magazine, take a photo and send it to me: