Do You Have Caples Envy?
The call-for-entries campaigns that promote the annual Caples Awards occasionally have been geared to shock, awe and entertain the creative community to which they're targeted. One effort that stands out in my mind involves a nude man using the bowl from the top of the Caples trophy to cover his private parts (tagline: "It's a rough business. Wear a cup."). This particular campaign caused quite a stir in the direct marketing agency community, with both positive and negative comments.
The Caples organization decided to shoot for a more specific marketing goal with this year's call-for-entries campaign. With so many international agencies entering and winning Caples in recent contests, the interest level of U.S. agencies seems to have waned for some reason. So the 2005 call-for-entries campaign centers on an emotional driver that tends to be more apropos for the direct marketing agency community: good, old-fashioned envy.
The series of ads that have run online and in print publications, like this one, feature leading members of the U.S. direct marketing/advertising agency community (e.g., Lee Garfinkel, DDB Worldwide, and Bob Greenberg, R/GA Interactive) echoing the same sentiment: "I covet a Caples." Created by Euro RSCG 4D, the campaign strives to gain the attention of creative directors and agency veeps who either aren't familiar with the Caples program or might have the impression that the Caples is not important to U.S. creative professionals.
Allow me to weigh in with my perspective on the international flavor of the Caples Awards. The United States long has been viewed by overseas companies as having set the bar for effective and sophisticated direct marketing campaigns. So, winning an award in a U.S.-based awards program is a huge honor, because the
assumption is that the visitors beat the home team at the game it pioneered. What's not immediately apparent is the home team wasn't playing with a full roster.
So, in case you have looked at the list of previous Caples winners and figured only the far-out ingenuity of international creative teams stands a shot at winning, think again. The Caples organization wants you to know the campaigns that win this award are those that get strong response because of the creativity employed, not despite it.
The entry process for the 28th year of the Caples (named after legendary advertising genius John Caples) wraps up this month. Visit https://caples.american-data.net/entry/ to enter. You've still got time to get your work in thereand show that when it comes to direct marketing, U.S. creatives know just where the bar is set and how to hurdle it.