Magazine article Marketing

Piecing Together the Mess Jigsaw Made of Voila's DM

Magazine article Marketing

Piecing Together the Mess Jigsaw Made of Voila's DM

Article excerpt

Why is a joint venture born out of three major FMCG companies unable to come up with a half-decent questionnaire, wonders

What can be more calculated to set your pulse racing, as the days shorten and the weather worsens, than the chance to take part in a "brand new autumn survey"?

Your ardour might be slightly dampened because the envelope containing the invitation is blank (envelope messages generally raise response), but you can feel there is something inside: it's a new magazine called Voila.

What am I talking about? Well,I'm talking about a mailing from the Jigsaw consortium -- a potentially very important initiative. In the next few hundred words, let's try to piece together what is to be made of it.

Jigsaw is a joint venture between Unilever, Cadbury-Schweppes and Kimberly Clark, which are attempting to do what direct marketers have done for years -- to learn about individual customers' characteristics, behaviour, likes and dislikes so as to reach and persuade them better.

Since each firm in Jigsaw is vast and bureaucratic, the thought of theirco-operation summons to mind the meeting of dinosaurs in a sort of mass orgy: a messy, protracted business governed by muddled committees and repeated changes of mind.

This piece of creative work--if creative is the word -- certainly suggests such a process. It was passed to me by a recipient who thought it "poorly targeted, poorly conceived and poorly executed". The questionl ask myself is this: do these firms think their customers like to receive junk through the mail?

The magazine itself reminds me, with nausea, of the tatty teen mags big publishers produced 25 years ago. When you consider the money these firms can afford (and probably coughed up) you can only marvel that it was ever approved -- especially when you consider how much tripe they must collectively talk about brand values.

The chief element in a direct mail pack is the letter, This one has a sumlar tone to the magazine. You've heard it all before -- far too many times. It reads as though put together by three monkeys with typewriters, locked in an attic with limitless supplies of pink gin.

Here's the opening:" As the Editor of Vorila, I want to introduce you to the new and exciting programme designed to help today's consumers -- people like you and me -- get the most from our busy lives. …

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