Editor’s Notes: What About Dave?
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) recently announced the 2004 inductees into its Hall of Fame. This honor is bestowed upon individuals who have been leaders in the direct marketing industry, pioneers of new concepts and tireless advocates for the business interests of their peers.
This year’s honorees are Dave Florence, founder of list services and marketing firm Direct Media Inc. and, um, Benjamin Franklin. Yes, you read that correctly. No need to hunt for your bifocals. I, too, had to pause when I saw founding father Franklin’s name listed. “Is there another Ben Franklin,” I wondered.
My second thought was, “How could they do this to Dave Florence?” Sure, Florence will be the only inductee to give an acceptance speech at the awards luncheon in New Orleans, but won’t the oddness of inducting Franklin cast doubt on Florence’s merits? Or at least cause enough agitation to keep people talking about Ben and not Dave?
Maybe Florence should offer to dress up like Franklin, that way he can accept both awards. Or maybe the DMA will structure the awards presentation to put more of the spotlight on the living honoree … and not the nowhere-near-recently departed.
It’s kind of bizarre that the DMA is interested in recognizing Franklin after all these years, when some direct marketers, who could be acknowledged while they are still breathing, wind up with a posthumous award.
I’m thinking of the legendary Dick Benson’s induction into the DMA Hall of Fame years ago. Benson’s tremendous direct marketing accomplishments (including his famous admonishment that “No marketer I know spends enough time on lists”) were widely recognized across the industry long before his death, but the DMA was slow in giving Benson the nod. He passed away a couple years before his induction was announced; Benson’s widow accepted the award on her late husband’s behalf. If I remember correctly, Denny Hatch, former editor of Target Marketing, told me that Mrs. Benson had wanted to say in her acceptance remarks, “About time!”