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PATHFINDER LEADS TBWA CHIAT/DAY TO DIAMOND ECHO: O&M DIRECT, ROBINSON & MAITES ALSO GET TOP HONORS FOR DIRECT WORK

By Published on .

Direct mail campaigns from TBWA Chiat/ Day, Venice, Calif., Ogilvy & Mather Direct, Madrid, and Robinson & Maites, Chicago, took top honors in the Direct Marketing Association's 67th Echo Awards competition.

NEW ORLEANS CONFAB

The Echo Awards, the highest industry honor for direct marketing campaigns, were announced last night in New Orleans at DMA's annual industry convention.

A $1 million TBWA Chiat/Day campaign for Nissan Motor Corp.'s Pathfinder sport utility vehicle won the 1996 Diamond Echo, the competition's top prize. The direct push encouraged brand loyalty to the SUV, despite a two-month delay in its launch and the arrival of four competing SUVs during the four-month campaign.

MAILINGS AND PRINT ADS

The program included a three-part mailing, along with print ads for an introductory video.

The campaign garnered a 12.5% response among its target audience of those who own or lease Nissans, most of whom were between ages 35 and 55 and in upper-income brackets. By the first month of the effort, the work had generated 80% of its projected sales conversions.

"We wanted to demonstrate the heritage of the Pathfinder, but also show its ability to go off-road," says Mark Bilfield, account director on the Pathfinder business at TBWA Chiat/Day.

The Gold Mailbox Echo went to O&M Direct's Madrid office for a mail campaign introducing a new online-access product from Telefonica, a Spanish telecommunications company.

The service, Infovia (shown on Page S-1, bottom center), charges local-access rates to the Internet to business users. The $350,000 campaign, which ran from November 1995 to January 1996, targeted 7,000 leading Spanish companies based on sales volume and billings, and brought in an 11% response rate.

Meanwhile, this year's Platinum Echo, for the campaign whose five-year tally was most consistent and effective, went to Robinson & Maites, Chicago, for its Budget Rent-a-Car work.

INCENTIVES AND SAVINGS OFFERS

Robinson introduced Budget's "Book Smart" relationship program in 1991 to bolster travel agents' use of the service for their clients. The program includes booking incentives for agencies, customer satisfaction programs, savings credentials for agents and a newsletter.

In the five years since the program's inception, travel agencies using the program have tripled revenues of those not using it.

Now 20,000 agencies use the program, up from 10,000 in 1991, and customer complaints have decreased 50%.

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