DIRECT MAIL – still effective IF done right


I’m inundated with flyers, but since it’s part of what I do for a living, I pay attention to what comes in, what catches my eye and why.


Here are a few examples: I like the first grocery flyer because it tells me what it is and how long it’s good for VERY quickly.


I give to a number of charities on a regular basis. Direct Mail from organizations that I’m familiar with get opened and scanned for “brand continuity”. If their letters make me feel like they’re (still) doing good work, they get a donation. If not I pass + toss. New charities need to work much harder. The envelope itself needs to stop me from tossing it into the recycled bin unopened. If it does stop me, then the letter needs to convince me that the charity is worth adding to my donation list.


Blank envelopes like the one at the bottom confound me. The communications advisor that recommended this “affordable” idea should be shot. It’s a complete waste of time and money – especially since small companies need the best, not the worst, ROI to remain viable. A simple affordable change could have this  the most effective piece in the pile.

A lump. Lumpy mail is the most intriguing and, with the right offer, the most effective.


The strategic use of options


Every now and then I get to work with a client that just wants to see one finished ad, or one campaign solution per defined advertising challenge, but most want to see three options.

I use this approach to sell in a winning idea in the 1st round of meetings over 95% of the time.

The first option responds precisely to what the client asked me for. Nothing more, nothing less.

The second reveals, and strategically leverages, brand insights overlooked by other agencies.

The third option is off strategy, but does the job (better) in an ingenious manner.

I round out all of my presentations with a few innovative ways and means of pooling out my campaign ideas into all of their customer facing and internal communications.

Importantly, I write my presentation to all the “unknown readers + judges” that are NOT at the meeting. Each slide is carefully designed to help those I am presenting to successfully share my work with their clients professionally and in my idea’s proper context.



Say no to black friday

say no to black friday

Across North America everybody wants more for less – plus a lifetime guarantee. To satisfy this insane and insatiable desire for more cheap food, goods and services, we’ve sent millions of jobs off to Asia and India. We’ve also done a wonderful job of teaching our kids that many jobs are not worth doing or having. This mentality has shut down industries and laid waste to cities, towns and individuals all across North America. Where is this madness end?

When companies do not earn decent profit margins their foundations crumble.

  • They no longer can afford to do research and development.
  • Without leading edge research and development their managers blindly follow the “best practices” of their competitors, and fail.
  • They cut back on staff training and development.
  • They cut back on benefits.
  • Full time staff is rehired as part-time staff with no benefits.
  • Part time staff juggles two, sometimes three, jobs to make ends meet.
  • Because they are just making ends meet, time, money and the will to support the arts and those who are less fortunate declines.
  • It impacts time at home with family + friends.
  • And on and on it goes.

Why not pay a fair price sothat companies can reinvest their profits in our people, communities, industries and our collective Canadian future?



Brand advice from Julia Wehrmann (95)

I was talking to my mother (who is 95 years old) the other day about life in general when she shared this important observation with me.

It’s very easy to be closed minded. To look at the world from your perspective and judge things as (being) either right or wrong. Open minded(ness) is much harder because there are so many things that are not familiar to me, that I don’t understand, or that I have never seen before.

But just because they are foreign to me does not make them wrong.

Only different.

When you’re closed minded you live in a small black and white world.

When you’re open minded you live in a very big rainbow coloured world.

It’s wonderful.

Amen Julia.   

This lesson applies to brands + their brand ambassadors too.




in flanders fields