When Marketing Was Fun ?
When was the last time your boss stormed out of his or her office, screamed that it was too nice a day to be working and ordered a mass exodus to the beach, the slopes or the local gin mill? He or she might slip away to play. But invite the office along? You gotta be kidding!
I think the last guy to have any real fun in direct marketing was John Peterman, Target Marketing's 1996 Direct Marketer of the Year. I remember asking Peterman if he had fun. "Fun?" He looked over the rimless spectacles resting low on his nose. "Hell, I travel anywhere in the world I want to go," Peterman growled. "I stay anywhere I want to stay, eat and drink anywhere I choose, meet anybody I want to meet, and buy anything I want to buy. It doesn't get any better than that." Peterman's catalog was (and is) a literary masterpiece, easily as literate as The New Yorker and infinitely more readable. His copy was fun because he had fun, and it was communicated to his customers.
Things are different now. Serious. It's all about spam and privacy. About all you dare order for lunch is S. Pellegrino along with your veggie salad and low-cal dressing as you engage in impassioned discussions about regression analysis or the do-not-call list. But occasionally I will run into a piece of copy that makes me believe the writer is one of those old-time guys with a twinkle in his eye who lives life the way we did in the grand old days. Like this lead from an ad I ran across in my travels that gave new meaning to Tilley Endurables:
Elephant Eats Tilley Hat 3 Times!
This is a true story. Michael Hackenburger, a zoo director in Ontario, used to train elephants. One of his "students" developed the habit of reaching up, snatching off and eating Michael's beloved Tilley hat. Time would pass, and the hat would too. Michael would retrieve it, wash it and carry on …