Editor's note: Lois Geller has been speaking all over the country, so we asked her son Paul, a copywriter from Bethesda, MD, to fill in for her this month.
We think you'll enjoy this!
Since I was a wee lad, my mother has been a direct marketer working for advertising agencies, universities and other organizations. Since the mid-1970s, I've seen thousands of her mailings, some of which were incredible.
And so were the projects, such as marketing commemorative Charles and Diana wedding stamps from the Bailiwick of Guernsey; selling automobiles to Canadian women; and pitching vitamin-of-the-month club memberships.
One day, Mom came home thrilled about a new freelance assignment. The problems were how to handle these items and where to advertise them. The products were pheasants from a New England breeder. No ordinary birds were these; the client claimed they were "Fabulous Pheasants!" With a little creativity, Mom was able to help those pheasants fly off the farm.
When I was in elementary school, Mom and I fulfilled Mariposa Jewelry orders from our house. I watched her write the copy and design the order forms. I learned about putting together an offer, developing the creative and targeting the promotion to the right audience. Many days, our mailbox was stuffed with orders, and Mom would do her happy dance around the room. From creative copy to order fulfillment in brown JiffyPaks, it was all done in-house (in our house, that is!).
I always wanted Mom to work on a baseball card promotion. If I had a dollar for every time I asked her to go after the Topps account, I'd be a rich man sunbathing in Hawaii now, instead of freezing in Washington, D.C. Topps is, in case you didn't know, the best manufacturer of sports cards in the world—in particular, baseball cards.