ROSEN's Richard Rosen on How Brand and Direct Can Work Together
But not caring has its price, as some brilliant general advertising campaigns lived at great expense but died in part because [they weren’t] accountable in real time in order to make a decision. Plus the direct mail was disconnected and looked horrible. There was no convergence between the two—convergence of accountability in real time to keep a commercial, for example, alive and well.
Boldt: Where can direct learn from brand?
Rosen: The problem with direct mail is it’s always trying to close. Financial mail and insurance always goes for the throat. Just trying to outcompete others on offers. It’s a tiring game, especially for the prospects.
But direct mail can be a brilliant vehicle to go deep and get you into an emotional hook with the copy. However, we as direct mail people have thought very little about the art for many years. We tend to think of copy because copy was king. Today, we need a better balance between copy and art.
Boldt: How important is direct mail copywriting in this convergence model?
Rosen: It’s critical. It should lead. Great headlines are needed to overcome the objection set most of the time. Then we need great copy not written by committee and that keeps the prospect in the package. Email copy? It stinks because they don’t hire good writers. They don’t spend what they need to spend.
Meanwhile, the art needs to be fresh, designed well, with both the direct side and brand side coming through. Even with the brochure, you need to say something. You need to show empathy. Both the copywriter and art director need to work together, in the same vein and at the same time. The art directors control the computer; they are the ones who can make the copy punch.