Lois K. Geller

This May, I flew to New York to attend a memorial for my old friend and international direct marketing expert Al Goodloe, who died in February. Al, a little guy with a gravelly voice, was one of a kind. He was one of the nicest men I ever met, but he could be a mule. For instance, he was from Virginia and his dad expected him to attend the University of Virginia, like everyone else in the family. But Al set his sights on Harvard, and that’s where he went. After he graduated, Al wanted to be in New York, and that’s where he wound

Quality creative can't be rushed--it should be nurtured By Lois Geller Last week a potential client came to see us here in Florida. The chairman told us he needed creative for a new e-commerce site and infomercial—and he needed it fast. "How fast do you need it?" I asked slowly, watching our creative director's newly acquired tan fade before my eyes. "Three weeks," he said. "I've found that when you press the creative team, you get better work." Hmm. When did we ever do great creative—fast? Well, we once had to do a subscription mailer in an hour and a half: copy,

By Lois K. Geller Cataloger Hoofprints.com caught our eye and got a free mini-makeover. In February's Creative Corner column, "It Only Hurts When You Laugh," I asked for submissions from folks interested in a free, mini-makeover from Mason & Geller. I didn't expect many entries, but Target Marketing readers surprised me. While there were a good deal of deserving entries, Hoofprints.com's owner, Gina Keesling, sent in an irresistible letter, complete with horseshoes running across it. A letter should sound like it comes from a human being at a company. Keesling's letter accompanying her catalog did. Most of the other entries came with a mini-makeover

By Lois Geller A few nights ago, I watched a TV show where surgeons, dentists, trainers and fashionistas turn less-than-dreamy people into dreamboats. They looked great, but I kept thinking, "Ouch, all that cutting, lifting and teeth drilling has to hurt." And then, I started thinking of makeovers and you, the hard working direct marketer. Would you scream "Ouch!" if someone tried an extreme makeover on one of your programs? We all would. Our direct marketing efforts are what we do, how we make a living. They're us! And someone's giving us a makeover—changing things. All makeovers hurt when they're about you. "That's Not

By Lois K. Geller It started with a phone call. A pleasant female voice asked, in delightfully accented English, did I want to speak about direct marketing in Istanbul? The next thing I knew, Mike McCormick, our creative director, and I were relaxing in the business-class section of Turkish airlines. Nine hours later, we met the wonderful Meltem Karateke, president of IMI Conferences and the greatest hostess in the world. Until then, I had only a vague idea of where Turkey is. I wasn't at all sure I wanted to go there, but it was a new and exotic place, and I'm a

By Lois K. Geller Do you remember the Avis No. 2 campaign? "We're #2, We Try Harder." It was brilliant. Hertz's reaction also was brilliant. In an article I read a few years ago, Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer of advertising agency TBWAWorldwide, recalled that the president of No. 1 Hertz told his ad agency something like this: "I don't want us to talk about efficiency, clean cars, price, anything like that. The competition can duplicate all those things tomorrow. What I want our advertising to do is to make people like us." Make people like you. What a concept. By the

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