Two Young Men That Made $1 Billion
On the Mount Olympus of direct marketing, two figures stand at the summit looking down at everyone else that followed:
* Regnault de Mouçon, Bishop of Chartres, France.
* Martin Conroy of Madison, Connecticut and Captiva, Florida.
On the night of June 10, 1197, fire raged through Chartres, destroying many of the buildings and severely damaging the cathedral. At first, it was believed that the city’s precious relic—the Sancta Camisia, the robe that Mary wore when giving birth to Jesus—was lost in the flames. Bishop Regnault de Mouçon wanted to rebuild, but without their relic, the citizens of Chartres gave in to despair.
Two days later, Cardinal Melior of Pisa—who happened to be staying in Chartres—was exhorting the dispirited towns people to rebuild when suddenly a procession of priests and nuns emerged from the smoking crypt, bearing the reliquary containing the sacred robe intact. The cardinal immediately saw it as a direct sign from the Mother of God to build an even more magnificent church.
Bishop Regnault de Mouçon sprang into action and wrote letters to all of the noble families of Europe. Even though France was at war with England, he received permission from Richard the Lion-Hearted to raise money in England.
Regnault de Mouçon pioneered the first direct mail campaign in history. The result was the creation of an architectural and artistic masterpiece that has awed pilgrims and worshippers for 800 years.
“Of all the formats used in direct mail,” wrote the late guru Dick Hodgson, “none has more power to generate action than the letter.”
No one used the humble letter with more prodigious effect than Bishop Regnault de Mouçon.
And Martin Conroy.
The Greatest Advertisement in History
I started collecting direct mail in earnest in about 1982—noting, cataloging and filing it in what became more than 200 categories in 40 file drawers.