Magazine article Marketing

Doubting the Bird's Eye View

Magazine article Marketing

Doubting the Bird's Eye View

Article excerpt

Nobody cherishes direct marketing more than I do. And nobody --with the exception of Drayton himself -- cherishes Drayton Bird more than I do. But in his recent piece on Crest (October 29 issue), Drayton used language so sloppily I feared his fingers must have run amok.

In the article Drayton described an ingenious new Procter & Gamble sales promotion for Crest. But instead of calling it a sales promotion Drayton insisted on calling it direct marketing. He claimed: "The Crest campaign is of particular interest to direct marketers...because it used one of our oldest tools, the money-back guarantee."

Golly. In my naivete I had always thought money-back guarantees were invented by the prostitutes in first century BC Pompeii. But no; it transpires they were invented by direct marketers. Does all this matter? We don't want to get into an argument about the difference between sales promotion and direct marketing, do we?

Yes, we do. Because Drayton's verbal inexactitude is a symptom of a deeper stratagem: direct marketing's plot to take over the world. Indeed that was Drayton's thesis -- if P&G is now into direct marketing everybody else had better get into direct marketing too. And fast.

During recent years direct marketing's self-promotion has been superb. As a result almost everyone in marketing now believes it to be the modern, trendy, growing sector of the business.

Codswallop. Let us consider its claim to modernity. This is from Terry Nevett's authoritative history, Advertising in Britain: "As an indication of the sophisticated use being made of the postal service, Reliable Advertising and Addressing Service had in 1907 a register of nearly 30,000 private car owners, arranged in geographical order and constantly revised, as well as London and Suburban rental lists with 170,000 names graded according to the value of the rent. …

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